What Is Reinforced Gel Polish?

We all know that person, or maybe you are that person who struggles with their nails being brittle. Brittle nails usually cause any nail polish or overlay to last shorter than regular nails, which can be frustrating. So what is reinforced gel polish, and can it be your solution?

What Is Reinforced Gel Polish?

Reinforced gel polish is a self-leveling gel that creates a better surface on the nail, enhances the nail’s strength, and even out uneven ridges. It is a see-through gel painted on after the base coat, cured with a UV or LED lamp, and needs soaking in acetone to remove it.

Reinforced gel polish can be confused with builder gel, and it would be best to understand what role this gel plays in your overlay. This way, you will know if it is something you should use and if it will accommodate your problem.

What Makes Reinforced Gel Different From Regular Gel Polish?

The reinforced gel is a product that usually comes in a see-through liquid, which the nail tech paints on the nail at a particular given time during the overlay. It is a different product that increases the nail’s strength, better the nail’s structure, and can level out uneven surfaces.

The only reason to use reinforced gel would be to improve these flaws if you experience them, not as gel itself. It can’t shine and give the desired result that a gel overlay and top coat can, and it doesn’t come in colors for the same reason.

When Should You Use Reinforced Gel?

The reinforced gel is perfect to use on clients or yourself if you have the following problems:

  • Soft nails
  • Irregular nail structure
  • Ridges on the nail surface
a comparison between natural nails and reinforced nails

Soft and brittle nails are the number one concern regarding problems with nails. These nails bend, break, and tear easily, even when you have a polish or gel layer on. People with these kinds of nails tend to bite their nails as well. The reinforced gel is a layer of resin you add to the overlay steps, ensuring the nail is instantly more robust and less bendable.

Some people may have damaged their nails with previous sets (wrong removal methods) or are unlucky in nail structure. A perfect or desired form is slightly rounded from the cuticle to the edge. A reinforced gel can help accomplish this look.

Another cause of damaged nails is ridges and uneven surfaces, although this is not the only cause. The reinforced gel can level out these ridges and give you a smooth finish.

How To Use Reinforced Gel?

a bottle of reinforce gel polish from Born Pretty

Some might think it wise to add a layer of reinforced gel to the nail and be off. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The reinforced gel is only added to a regular soft gel overlay.

There are two ways to incorporate reinforced gel into a gel overlay. The first way would be to strengthen, even out, and structure the nail:

Step 1: Prepare the nail by trimming it to the desired length and ensure the surface is perfect for what you want. Buffing the surface a little will help the base coat to adhere better.

Step 2: Clean the surface with a lint-free alcohol wipe, add a primer and the base coat, and cure under a UV or LED lamp for 60 seconds.

Step 3: Add the reinforced gel layer. A thin layer will be adequate and give it time to level before curing it for 60 seconds. Ensure you apply the reinforced layer over the entire nail, especially the corners, and edges, as these are the parts you want to add strength to.

Step 4: Continue with color gel layers, curing each layer for 60 seconds and applying art if you like.

Step 5: End off the set with a shiny top coat, cure it for 60 seconds, and treat the cuticles with cuticle oil.

The second way to add reinforced gel to your standard overlay would be if you want your set to last longer. For this, you will move step three from the method mentioned earlier to the step before you add the top layer.

By adding the reinforced gel after the color layer, you will lock in the color layer, ensure the set is firm and could increase the lifetime of your set. Finally, apply the top coat over the reinforced gel for a shine and better end product.

How To Remove Reinforced Gel?

a woman can't remove gel nail polish

Reinforced gel always accompanies regular gel and gets cured under a UV or LED lamp. Thus, the only way to get it off would be to soak it with the rest of the overlay.

Two ways to remove reinforced gel are to soak the gel nails in a bowl of acetone or wrap each finger with an acetone-soaked cotton ball and aluminum foil. You must be careful when removing reinforced gel, as it can harm the nails if done incorrectly.

If you are unsure of the removal method, instead, play it safe and get the set removed by a professional. Needing reinforced gel in the first place means that you most likely have weaker nails. The improper removal can cause more significant damage.

Why Would You Use Reinforced Gel Instead Of Builder Gel?

The reinforced gel gives a more natural and thinner look than builder gel. Builder gel is thicker; nail techs use it to extend the nail if you want length. The builder gel might be too hard for some, making the reinforced gel a better fit.

The reinforced gel is easier to use and apply at home without professional training. In contrast, builder gel can be tricky to mold and form perfectly. Thus for someone doing DIY at home or a nail tech working with soft gels and now and again wants to add extra strength to a client’s nails, the added layer of reinforced gel will do the trick.


The reinforced gel might be the product you have always been looking for. A strengthening product to add to your regular gel overlay to keep brittle nails at bay and enhance the lifetime of your nails.