Do You Need A Base Coat For Gel Polish?

A manicure is part of many women’s weekly or monthly routines, whether they do it themselves or get it done at a beauty salon. The steps in a gel polish application can feel tiring and unnecessary, depending on the technician’s familiarity with the process.

A base coat is often considered as the foundation layer for your gel polish. So do you need a base coat for gel polish? Well, here is the answer:

You should always apply a base coat for gel nail polish because it ensures your nail’s natural oils won’t interfere with the gel application, which keeps your polish from lifting. Second, it protects your natural nails from the colored coat, which may cause ugly stains.

There might be confusion around the base coat regarding gel base coat and how to apply it. It will be easier when you know why it is necessary, what type of product to use, and how to apply it correctly.

painting base coat for gel nail polish

Why Do You Need A Base Coat For Gel Polish?

No one ever sees the base coat; it might feel like a waste of time. But, like a concealer is vital as a foundation before starting your make-up application, a gel base coat is also essential as the first step in gel application.

Some feel that a base coat might be a waste of money. But leaving it out will cost more money than buying a good gel base. So let’s examine why this would happen and why a gel base coat should be used.

Advantages Of Base Coat With Gel Polish

There are many perks to a gel base coat. The bonuses and pros are so many that it results in evidence that you cannot go without them. These advantages are specifically on gel base coats and may be slightly different for regular nail polish base coats.

1. Encourage Long-Lasting Gel Polish

The first reason most people will opt for a gel base is that it will keep your gel nails looking fabulous and lasting longer than they would without. Gel polish won’t stick to your natural nail as well as with a gel base coat. This is because your nails secrete a natural oil that doesn’t act like a sticky surface.

The gel base coat covers the nail and acts like a barrier between the nail plate and the gel coat. Thus, the gel coat can cling to the base without coming in contact with the natural oils.

Another reason the gel base coat leads to a longer-lasting manicure is that it allows for flexibility in the gel coat. Without flexibility, chipping and lifting can occur.

2. Nourishes And Protects The Nails

It might sound harsh that the base prohibits your nails’ natural oils from being released, but there is a resting time for that. During your gel application, adding the gel base coat will nourish your nails and solve some other problems you usually encounter with your nails.

There are many options for gel base coats, and it would be best if you opt for one that benefits your specific needs. For example, some people struggle with brittle or dehydrated nails.

In this case, you can opt for a calcium, biotin, and vitamin B product. These ingredients will work towards strengthening the nails. In addition, coconut oil, vitamin C, and vitamin E will help to moisturize dry, dehydrated nails.

When looking at ingredients, avoid any product with formaldehyde and toluene. Apart from being allergens, these products may promise to harden the nails. This might be true temporarily but can lead to hardening the nails too much, reducing the flexibility, and causing the nails to split and crack anyway.

3. Evens Out The Surface For Application

Another problem some people face with their nails is that they have bumps and dents or irregular surfaces. In this case, a gel base coat that levels the surface will work wonders to improve the overall look of your gel polish. Again, a smooth, even application will lead to a happy client or a happy self (if you do your own gel).

4. No Colored Nails

Wintertime is a great time to go into warm colors like burgundy, mustard, navy, black, or brown. The problem with dark-colored gel, which also applies to regular nail polish, is that it colors the natural nail when used directly.

With a gel base coat, the color you add to your nails won’t give you sleepless nights, as you won’t get a surprise the next time you remove your dark gel polish. Another color group that your nail will be safe from is neon colors. They also stain the nails if the nail technician doesn’t use a gel base coat.

Do You Need A Base Coat For Gel Polish?

What If You Don’t Use A Gel Base Coat For Your Gel Polish?

You might save time not applying the base coat, but in the long run, you may waste money and damage your nails.

A gel base coat covers the nail plate and acts as the sticky “tape” that holds the gel polish to your nail. That is why, after curing, the base coat usually feels a little sticky.

A standard base coat won’t work for a gel application. This is because the ingredients are different and won’t give the stickiness the gel polish needs to stay on the nail for 2 to 3 weeks.

Some people think you can also use a top coat for your gel polish as a base coat. Both are translucent and have the same texture, so why not save money and use one for both? Unfortunately, the only similarity between the gel base and top coat is the color and the rest is totally different.

The top coat won’t provide a sticky surface (if it does, you should find out why your gel polish is sticky to fix it) and doesn’t act like a primer on the nail plate. Thus, using the top coat as the base will lead to the same problems as if you didn’t use a base coat. It might even be worse than not using anything because the top coat is shiny and slippery, precisely what you don’t want in a base coat.

How To Use Base Coat With Gel Polish

You cannot just paint a gel base coat and get on with the process. There are specific steps to apply it correctly and on a suitable surface.

1. Cut or file the nails

The shape of nails can vary from square to almond or round-shaped. This is your choice, and the first step is to get the nails the preferred length and shape.

2. Cuticle attention

Never cut the cuticles too deep, instead, apply cuticle oil and rub it in to soften the skin. Then, push the cuticles back with a cuticle pusher. The last step is to remove any oil residue with acetone to make sure it’s clean.

You should only cut the cuticles if they are overgrown.

3. Buff the nail plate

This step is also one that gets left out sometimes. Buffing the nail ensures any bumps are smoothed out and prepares the surface to bond well with the base coat.

4. Apply the gel base coat

It would be best to focus on applying a very thin gel base layer. If some gel base gets onto the skin, use a double-ended cuticle tool to remove the excess from the skin.

5. Cure the base coat

Insert the nails under the UV or LED lamp and ensure the base coat is dry. Depending on the light you use, and if your layer is thin enough, it should take 30 seconds. You should learn more about how long gel polish takes to dry to cure your nails properly. The base coat should be sticky (for the colored coat to stick), but when you use a brush and the base coat stick to it, it has yet to dry.

After the base coat is cured, you can then apply the colored coat.

Do You Need A Base Coat For Gel Polish?


So is it bad to apply gel polish without a base coat? In short, it’s not a required step to have your gel polish successfully applied to your nails. And you can, theoretically, use gel polish without a base coat. But you shouldn’t think it is a good practice.

In fact, you can opt out of using a base coat if you are willing to live with the consequences of gel polish nails chipping, lifting, or lasting only a few days. The gel base coat sets you up for a lovely gel polish set that you can enjoy for weeks.

I hope this article has been helpful to you!