Builder Gel – the what and why for your nails

Recently, I’ve had a lot of clients asking about builder gel and whether they should add it to their next nail appointment or if they should switch from acrylics to builder gel. Read on to find out more about this product and how it can help you get great results and beautiful nails.


What is builder gel?

Builder gel isn’t a brand new product on the market, but its recently seen an increase in popularity because so many nail clients are interested in not just having beautiful nails, but making sure their nails are strong and healthy. That is one of the many benefits that builder gel offers!


Builder gel is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a thick gel that is added to your nails and hardens under a UV lamp. There is a soft version and a hard version, but your nail tech is going to know which one of those you need to use based on your nail goals. 


Builder gel can be applied to either your natural nail or with nail tips. When you apply it, your nail is given a thick layer of protection similar, but not the same as, acrylics.


Builder gel is the middle ground between natural nails with gel polish and super strong acrylic nails. It’s a great solution for someone who doesn’t want to apply acrylic but still needs extra nail support. Let me dig just a little deeper into that. 


Acrylic vs builder gel vs gel polish


Acrylic creates a very hard shield for your nails. This is great for nails that are very soft or damaged and need a lot of support — like a steel plate of protection. It’s also a great choice if you like to keep your nails very long to ensure that they don’t break with normal daily activities.


Builder gel is not as hard as acrylics, but it does still offer a lot of support and is more flexible allowing a little bit more of that natural nail feel. You can apply multiple layers of builder gel to a natural nail to get it to exactly the right thickness and strength that you want. Or, if you want a tip applied, builder gel is used to coat the natural nail and tip extension. Again, you can continue to build in layers until it’s the perfect thickness and strength. Each layer is cured under a UV lamp, so unlike air-drying acrylics, your nail tech will have time to control what the final application looks like on your nails.


I hate to burst any bubbles, but gel polish does not actually add any strength or thickness to your nails. It is a top layer of strong polish. So, while it doesn’t strengthen your actual nails, what it does do is give you a longer-lasting polish that won’t chip off quickly.


Benefits of builder gel

I’ve already mentioned a few benefits of builder gel, but let me sum it all up so you can feel confident in moving forward and using this product.


  • It adds strength to your nails
  • It adds durability and lasting power to your nails
  • By strengthening your natural nail, it can help them grow out
  • You can control the thickness and layers added to your nails more easily


When you come to Bella Hands for your nail appointments you can also count on high-quality products and a tech that knows the proper application for builder gel. That means your manicure will last longer (often as long as acrylics!) and look great.


Who is Melissa?

Hi! I’m Melissa. I’m the owner of Bella Hands Beauty Boutique located in the Portland metropolitan area of Milwaukie, Oregon. I’ve been “doing nails” for over 20 years. One of my favorite things to do is educate. You can count on me to help clients understand the products, applications, and science behind having beautiful nails. I’m saving the world, one nail at a time!

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