How To Use Builder Gel On Natural Nails

You will often hear the term builder gel in the nail treatment industry. It is a staple product used in gel nails for overlays. Many technicians prefer builder gel over other products in their treatments. Knowing how to use builder gel on natural nails is necessary to ensure you get the longest-lasting results.

How To Use Builder Gel On Natural Nails 

The nails need to be prepped before using builder gel. Buffing and using a primer helps. A base coat is optional, but once the builder gel is applied, it needs to be cured under a UV light. Builder gel can be used to create an extension or used to thicken and strengthen your natural nails. 

Following a specific technique for applying builder gel will help you get the best results and allow your nail treatment to last longer and look better.

putting builder gel on a natural nail

13 Steps On How To Use Builder Gel 

Applying builder gel without proper nail prep or ensuring you use the correct techniques will lead to peeling. Below are steps you can follow to use builder gel effectively and professionally. 

  1. Start with clean hands and nails. Remove any residue from previous treatments by washing and drying your hands properly.
  2. Push your cuticle back and scrape off any skin that may be stuck using a proper cuticle tool. You can also use a cuticle cutter to cut out excess cuticle skin that you pushed up.
  3. Use a buffer to smoothen out any bumps or ridges and give it a better surface for any polish to stick and look even. If you do not use extensions, consider filing your nail tips to smoothen and shape them.
  4. Use a nail dehydrator to remove and clean nail dust, oils, and bacteria from your nail plate. This will help with bonding.
  5. Apply a nail primer. It is similar to a dehydrator with different properties to prep the nail for gel application and help prevent air bubbles in the polish.
  6. If your nail is thin, apply a thin, even layer of base coat. For healthy nails, this is not entirely necessary for builder gel.
  7. Apply the builder gel, starting in the middle of the nail and spreading it to the base and tip. You can use a thin nail art brush to get down the nail plate’s sides.
  8. Turn your nail upside down. This helps to even out the builder gel.
  9. Cure the applied builder gel under a UV light.
  10. You can add another layer depending on how thick you want the results.
  11. Gently wipe the stickiness from the surface using a cleaner. 
  12. Apply top coat and cure it with a UV light for 2 minutes.
  13. Apply cuticle oil when you are done. 

How To Use Builder Gel With A Nail Form 

built up tips for gel nail

If you plan on using builder gel with a nail form to create an extension, you can follow the steps above on how to use builder gel with some changes and additions. 

Before applying your builder gel, use the nail form. 

  • When applying the builder gel, use it from the nail tip over the nail form as far as you want to go and then cure it. 
  • Then apply the builder gel over your nail plate, evening out the builder gel, and cure. 
  • Apply a second layer if needed and cure. Then wipe the stickiness with a cleaner. 
  • When you remove the nail form, apply a top coat and cure. 
  • File your nail to smoothen or shape the edges and wipe the dust with a cleaner. 

Can Builder Gel Be Used As Extensions?  

Builder gel can be used as nail extensions, but the extension is created using a nail form. Builder gel is primarily used on natural nails to create thickness, glossiness, and strength. Some clients who like the builder gel treatment and want their nails extended choose the nail form option. 

Many nail technicians prefer the builder gel method for extensions instead of artificial plastic tips or acrylic. Builder gel is a quicker, more efficient treatment and is better for the nails. 

How Many Layers Of Builder Gel Do You Need? 

Builder gel doesn’t require many layers; however, two to three thin layers are better than one thick layer. One layer is generally sufficient for strong, thick, healthy nails. If your nails are delicate, sensitive, or brittle, applying two layers will be more helpful than only one. 

It all depends on the kind of nails you have and the type of treatment you choose. The same goes for color polish. One layer of builder gel is enough if you plan to apply color gel polish over it. Two layers may be a good idea if you only want to stick to the builder gel. 

Is Builder Gel Healthy For Your Nails?

Unlike other nail products, builder gel is not harsh on your nails. Acrylic, fake tips, and gel manicures may weaken your nails. But builder gel helps you achieve healthier and stronger nails while improving the appearance of your nails. 

Builder gel is long-lasting and can be applied on your natural nails without plastic extensions that require glue. It has a thicker consistency than regular base coast and is a great treatment for a non-chip overlay. 

How Do You Remove Builder Gel?

fingernails are wrapped in foil

Removing builder gel works the same way that most nail treatments get removed. It will require an acetone soak. 

  • If you have an extension with the builder gel, file it down as much as possible. You can also file the surface of the builder gel if you need to make it a little thinner to create less soak time. 
  • Then wrap your nail with a cotton soaked in acetone and cover it with foil. Soak it for 10-15 minutes. 
  • Soak it for another five minutes if it is not out after that. 
  • Then wipe the residue off with new cotton and acetone. 
  • Buff/file the nails to remove any leftover residue. 


Builder gel is a great idea if you want to achieve professional, beautiful nails with a more natural look while saving the health of your nails by strengthening them. Apply builder gel on your natural nails as an overlay, or use a nail form to create extensions.