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Builder Gel vs. Poly Gel: Pros and Cons for Nail Techs

Builder Gel vs. Poly Gel: Pros and Cons for Nail Techs

In the ever-evolving world of nail enhancement, we wanted to stack up how an established product, builder gel and a relative newcomer, poly gel compare. Each offers its unique benefits, attracting its own set of fans. We want to explore their characteristics, pros, and cons to understand the ramifications for the nail tech professional. 

Builder Gel: Our Staple for Nail Professionals

We've long considered builder gel a cornerstone in the professional nail industry, prized for its versatility and durability. This type of gel, which requires curing under a UV or LED lamp, is primarily used to create nail extensions, overlay natural nails for added strength, or mend nail imperfections. We love builder gel for its robust structure, enabling the construction of a strong, yet subtle nail that feels natural but remains resilient against breaks and chips. And, of course, since last year, we now have a HEMA-free version which has the same great benefits. 



Durability and Strength: Builder gel crafts a hard, protective layer over the natural nail, making it ideal for extensions and adding strength.

Flexibility: Unlike some nail enhancement products, builder gel offers a level of flexibility akin to the natural nail, reducing the risk of cracking.

Professional Finish: With proper application, builder gel delivers a smooth, glossy finish that endures, maintaining its sheen without yellowing or fading.

Variety: Available in various viscosities and colours, it allows professionals the flexibility to tailor the nail service to meet specific client needs, including HEMA-free. 


Skill Requirement: Applying builder gel demands professional training and skill, as improper application can lead to lifting, bubbling, or nail damage.

Removal Process: Builder gel must be removed by a professional. 

Poly Gel: The Newcomer

Poly gel is a newer addition to the nail enhancement scene, merging the best qualities of acrylics and hard gels into a versatile and user-friendly material. It's easy to use offers precision sculpting and, like builder gel, is cured under a UV lamp.


Workability: Poly gel doesn't harden until cured, affording more time to shape and sculpt the nail.

Lightweight: Nails fashioned with poly gel often feel lighter than those done with acrylics or builder gels, providing a more natural feeling for the wearer. 


Cost: Poly gel kits can be pricier upfront compared to traditional builder gel systems.

Skill and Practice: Although marketed as user-friendly, achieving a flawless finish with poly gel still takes a high level of practice and skill and, like a builder gel should only be removed by a professional nail technician. 

Whilst poly gel introduces an innovative approach to nail enhancement and provides a unique blend of flexibility and ease of use, we think builder gel will remain a nail tech’s go-to for professionals seeking durability and a high-quality finish. Deciding between builder gel and poly gel ultimately rests on the user's preference, skill level, and desired outcome. However (and we may be a little biased!) we think the benefits of a good builder gel will always shine through.