Product Tutorials

Builder Gel 101: Application, Removal, and Troubleshooting

What is a Builder Gel? 

Builder Gel is a hybrid of acrylic and builder/hard gel. 

How to Apply Builder Gel: 

1. Preparation. The Cleanse!

Shape and file the nail with a 180-grit hand file or an e-file, and push back your cuticles. For a professional look, we highly recommend reading How to Prep your Nails Like a ProThis sets the foundation of your nail art. Our nails secrete natural oils which could interfere with adhesion. 

Recall: Preparation is an important step, as incorrect preparation may lead to bumps, cracks, lifting, and expansion. (If you are having trouble with any of these we suggest skimming Most Common Mistakes Beginners Make Using Acrylics)

After filing, don't forget to dust it off with your favorite dust brush! ♡

2. Form Focus.

You may either choose to use your natural nail bed, add nail forms or nail tips to guide you with your build.

Natural Nails: Overlay

  • You like it strong and natural! This would enable nails as strong as Hercules! (Okay, maybe not as fictionally strong, but you get it.)

Nail Tips

  • Full Coverage (Pro Gel Tips) or Extensions (Stiletto Tips)

  • With clear tips, you could also make a two-toned design by placing a different color as the base and top. For example, you could make red bottoms! So the inside of your nail is red, and the top is black or nude!  Best of all, you don't need to place a top coat at the bottom because it's already clear. ♡

Nail Forms: Swipe and Shape

  • Place your finger in the hole and the nail form under the tip of your nail. Afterward, you may proceed to step four, wherein you build up the builder gel.

4. Build up the Builder Gel. 

Since Builder Gel is a little runnier compared to Sculpture Gel, you may opt to use multiple layers as instructed below. However, you could definitely achieve this look with just one layer.

First Layer. Swipe up the nail to the desired length. When you've nearly reached that length, swipe your brush in a crescent motion at the tips.

Curing Time: LED (30 seconds), UV/LED (60-90 seconds), UV (2 minutes) depending on lamp wattage.

Second Layer. Repeat the shape and length of the first layer. 

Pro Tips!

  • Invert HandPosition your palms upside-down (facing the ceiling). This will help create an even arch.

  • Build an Apex. Apply more product toward the center stroke so you have a bump to file down.

Curing Time: Quick Flash Cure (3-5 seconds) to hold gel in place.

Third Layer. Continue building it up into an even, shiny layer.

Curing Time: LED (30 seconds), UV/LED (60-90 seconds), UV (2 minutes) depending on lamp wattage. If a form is used, remember to cure the underside as well for complete curing!

Note: If you haven't achieved your desired thickness with three layers, you may also opt to do more than three.

5. Shape. Grit. 

Take off the form (if used),and shape and file the extended nail.  

Pro Tip! Shape the sides of the tip first. This will help you picture the shape beforehand. However, if you are using nail tips with blunt tips such as square or coffin-shaped, you may shape them according to the tip shape. 

Afterward, use your dust brush to clear it up before the next step.

6. Design. (Optional)

How are you feeling today? Whether you feel Mellow Yellow or a like tropical breeze, Teal Me About It! We'd love to hear from you. 

7. Top it off with Top Coat!

If you've yet decided between our different topcoats, we've attached a summary below.

  • Original Gel Top Coat - This needs to be cured and then wiped with alcohol after its final curing.

  • No Cleanse Gel Top Coat -This needs to be cured, but no wiping (cleansing) is necessary.

  • iGel Matte Top Coat - This needs to be cured, and does not require cleansing. However, we do recommend using the No Cleanse Top Coat before the Matte.

Curing Time: LED (30 seconds), UV/LED (60-90 seconds), UV (2 minutes) depending on lamp wattage.

How to Remove Builder Gel: 

Whether you're ready for a new set of nails or would just like a breather, it is essential for the health of your nails that you remove these properly. No pulling!

1. Buff with Love.

Since Gel Top Coat is acetone resistant (the shiny layer), we highly recommend buffing/roughing the shiny layer before soaking it. You may also use a buffer or your e-file of choice to remove the bulk of your Builder Gel without reaching the natural nail. Be careful! Buff with love.

2. Soak and Submerge.

Afterward, you may proceed to soak your nails in 100% acetone for 5-20 minutes (depending on how thick the remaining Builder Gel is left).

Pro Tip! Bowl-ception. You may place the acetone in a glass bowl and place another bowl of raw heated rice or hot water underneath. Yes, you read that right! If you are using rice, heat it without water for 1 minute. The hot rice will heat the acetone and speed up the process. 

3. Softly Scrape.

If it won't come off, please re-soak them for another 5 minutes. Be gentle with your nails. Do not force-scrape them off. Once they are soft enough, you may lightly scrape them off.

Please keep in mind that you may leave little scrapes, cracks, or chips if this removal is harshly done.

4. Resilient? Repeat.

If tiny remnants of Builder Gel remain, gently buff off the residue with a hand buffer or sanding band.

Questions or Concerns? We warmly encourage you to reach out to us at our email cs@igelbeauty.com or join our iGel Beauty Facebook community for more tips, tricks, and inspiration! We are here for you.♡

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1 comment

  • I enjoy doing my manicure with the pro gel system and the builder gel has really strengthen my nails and the length of my nails is awesome…all in all igel is the best by far

    Varonda Dawson

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