27 Most Asked Builder Gel Questions & FAQ

builder gel faq and questions answered

If you're thinking about doing a DIY manicure at home, you might be wondering about builder gel. What is it? Do you need it? How do you use it? We're here to answer all of your questions about builder gel, so you can decide if it's the right product for your needs.

Builder gel is a type of nail product that can be used to create a variety of different nail designs. It's thicker than regular gel polish, so it can be used to create raised designs or 3D features on your nails including dried lowers for nails. Builder gel is also much more durable than regular polish, so it's a great option if you're looking for a long-lasting manicure.

builder gel questions answered

If you're interested in using builder gel for a DIY manicure, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, builder gel is very thick, so it can be difficult to work with. Make sure you have all the tools you need before you start your project.

Second, builder gel nails need to be cured under a UV lamp in order to set properly. If you don't have access to a UV lamp, you can try curing your nails under direct sunlight, but this may take longer and

1. How does builder gel work?

Builder gel is very thick and viscous so it is a great option for those who want to build up the nails or use it to embed objects like glitter and rhinestones.

Builder gel provides a thick coating in just one coat. Builder gel requires a lamp for curing, it will not dry on its own.

2. How is builder gel made?

Builder gel is usually made from resins to make it viscous and curable under a lamp.

Some of the common ingredients in a builder gel are polymers, trimethyhexyl dicarbamate, pentaerythritol, isobornyl Methacrylate, hydroxycyclohexyl phenyl ketone, dimethicone, silica &  polyesters.

All brands have their own formulas and ingredients. Do be read up on all of their safety information when using a builder gel.

3. Can builder gel be used with tips?

Yes, it can. You can either use the builder gel on top of a nail tip to build it up or embed objects. When using builder gel on a nail tip, you will need to prep the nail properly by lightly buffing off the shine and then using a base coat.

Builder gel can also be used to adhere a gel nail tip to the natural nail. To do this, prep the nail and then apply a light coat onto the gel tip and then cure.

builder gel on nail tips

4. Can builder gel be used with dual forms?

Well, technically yes. But builder gel is not as thick as polygel which is more ideal to use on dual forms. Using builder gel on dual forms would be a challenge because the gel will move around and pool into the middle of the form. So best to use polygel for dual forms.

5. Is builder gel the same as polygel?

Builder gel vs Polygel: These two products are not the same. Polygel is a thick putty-like consistency that can be squeezed out of a tube.


Builder gel is a thick gel-like liquid that usually comes in a pot or in a bottle which can be applied with a brush.

builder gel in a pot

6. Can builder gel ad length?

Yes, builder gel is used for adding length and to help build up the nail. When adding length with builder gel, use gel nail form extension tips.

7. Can builder gel be used as nail glue?

Since builder gel cures hard, it can be used as a nail glue to adhere sequins, glitter, rhinestones and nail art stickers and dried flowers. It is one of the best things to use because when it's fully cured, it will keep elements in place for up to 4 weeks.

8. Is builder gel as strong as acrylic?

There is a big difference between builder gel and acrylic:

Acrylic comes in powder form that must be mixed with a monomer to activate. Once a primer has been applied to the nail, the bead of acrylic is then placed onto the nail and shaped. The acrylic powder dries hard without curing. 

Builder gel (usually made from resin) comes in a thick viscous liquid and is more flexible than acrylic powder. A base coat must be applied to the nail before adding the builder gel. Then it's cured under a light. 

Acrylic nails are harder than gel nails, but that does not mean that they are better or last longer. Builder gel and acrylic nails will last up to 4 weeks as long as the nail is prepped properly. It's just preference.

9. Is builder gel the same as a base coat?

No, you will need to prep the nail with a base coat that is compatible with the brand of builder gel you are using. For the best results, stay within the same brand because their formulas are meant to work together. 

10. Can builder gel be used as a top coat?

That depends. Some builder gels are made specifically so that you do not need a top coat. But generally speaking, it's best to apply the builder gel and then lightly buff to get the manicure perfect and then apply a no wipe top coat. This will help the manicure last as long as possible.

Some builder gels have a sticky layer that will need to be removed with a slip solution.

11. What builder gels do salons use?

Although there are some brands that only offer products if you have a license, There's also many professional builder gels that can be purchased online.

Some of the most popular builder gels used by salons are Saviland, Modelones and IBD. We have a list of the best builder gels available on the market.

12. What type of lamp do I need to cure builder gel?

All you need is a UV or LED lamp. We have a super helpful article that explains the different and the best lamps to use for cuing gels.

13. What is builder gel liquid?

There's builder gel that comes in pots and gels that come in a bottle. The builder gels that come in a bottle are more liquid than the viscous gels that are available in pots. The liquid builder gels can be painted onto the nail like a regular gel polish but are still a lot more thick than a regular gel polish.

builder gel in a bottle

14. When should I use builder gel?

Builder gel can be used for many applications. You can use it to repair cracks, glue on rhinestones and for building up the length and thickness of a nail or nail tip.

You can also use builder gel to embed things like polymer clay charms and dried flowers for nails.

builder gel faq

15. Can builder gel be used on short nails?

Yes, absolutely. In fact, if you are looking to build up a short nail to make it stronger then builder gel is a great options for that. It will help weak nails grow out without peeling or chipping as long as the nail is prepped correctly.

16. Where can I buy builder gel?

Builder gel can be purchased from Amazon & Etsy.

17. What is the best builder gel for beginners?

Since builder gels come in many different viscosities, you will really just have to experiment to see what you like best. We have found that the Modelones Builder gel is a good starter gel. Here's our review on the Modelones builder gel that comes in a pot.

We show how you can use builder gel for nails.


18. Can builder gel be used to fix a broken nail?

Absolutely! To fix a broken nail, first gently buff the shine off of the nail. Then apply a base coat and cure. Next, go over the whole nail with builder gel until you get the thickness that you want and cure. Then shape the nail and apply a no wipe top coat and do a final cure

19. Can builder gel be soaked off with acetone?

Some brands do offer a soak off builder gel. Saviland offers a soak off builder gel that can be purchased in their Amazon store. Other brands (especially hard gels) will need to filed off and best done by a nail tech to avoid damaging the natural nails. 

20. How long to cure builder gel?

Every manufacturer has different cure times depending on what materials they have used for the final product. A general suggestion is to do a final cure of at least one minute under a lamp. 

21. How long will builder gel last?

As long as the nails or tips are prepped correctly, builder gel can give you a manicure that will last up to 4 weeks or more. Always follow the exact instructions on the brand that you are using.

builder gel for nail tips 

22. Can builder gel damage your nails?

Are you wondering if builder gel is good for nails? Builder gel itself will not cause any damage to your nails. But removing the builder gel certainly can. If you need to remove the builder gel, always follow the manufacturers directions.

You can also file it off very carefully using a nail file or efile. If you are not comfortable removing the builder gel yourself, book an appointment with your local nail tech for proper removal.

Builder gel is good for nails that break easily.

23. Is hard gel and builder gel the same?

These are two different nail supplies. Builder gel is softer than hard gel and can be soaked off with acetone. Hard gel nails cannot be soaked off and will need to be removed by filing it off.

24. Why does builder gel burn under a lamp?

Sometimes you might get what is called a heat spike from not only builder gels, but gel polishes in general. Gel nails release heat during the curing process.

If you experience a heat spike that is too uncomfortable, simply take your hand away from the light for a few seconds and then finish the curing.

25. Why isn't my builder gel curing? It's sticky.

There are several reasons why the builder gel is not curing for. Here are some common factors.

  • The gel has expired
  • You are not using a professional builder gel
  • The gel might need more curing time
  • Your nail lamp might need changing
  • You may be using a builder gel with a sticky layer that needs to be wiped off with alcohol after curing.

26. Why is the builder gel peeling off?

When using gel polishes, it is of the utmost importance to prep the nail correctly. This means pushing back any dead cuticle particles and gently buffing the shine off of the nails.

Using a nail dehydrator like the ones from YN will help prevent lifting and also using a base coat if it is recommended by the manufacturer. Not all builder gels are made the same, so each brand will have the proper instructions on how to use their particular formula.

Here are some helpful builder gel tips to help with your manicures.

27. Can I use builder gel under gel polish?

Yes, apply the builder gel and cure. Then gently buff the nail and apply a color gel polish that is compatible. Then cure and apply a no wipe top coat, then do a final cure.

We hope you found this article about builder gel helpful.

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