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why does my builder gel keep lifting

Why Does My Builder Gel Keep Lifting?

If you have spent money on a professional builder gel manicure it can be really frustrating when it 'lifts'. In this piece, we'll explore what builder gel actually is, how it differs from gel polish and answer million dollar question - how you can prevent it from lifting. So if you want to know why your builder gel keeps lifting - read on...

First up let's explore what builder gel actually is

Builder gels are a type of professional nail enhancement product used to create strong and durable nails with a natural look. The primary purpose of builder gel is to extend the natural nail beyond its normal length, creating an even appearance. Builder gels are made up of three components; base coat, colour coat and topcoat. Builder gel in a bottle contains all of these elements in one product.

How does builder gel differ from gel polish?

Gel polish is a much softer product that requires an LED or UV lamp for curing. It is applied in thin layers and has excellent flexibility so it can move with the natural nail. Builder gel, on the other hand, is a much thicker product that needs to be sculpted onto the nail. Builder gel, like gel polish, also needs to be cured and, as such, is very much a professional product and shouldn't be used by the uninitiated at home, without professional training.


pink builder gel nails with white nail art

So what exactly does it mean when your builder gel 'lifts'?

When builder gel is applied directly to the natural nail, it can 'flex' more than the natural nail and this separation of the two layers causes lifting. So in order to prevent your builder gel from lifting, you need to create a layer between your natural nail and the builder gel. A quick and sparing application of an acid-free primer can help stave off the lifting at the end of the nail is perfect to prevent lifting.

Here are some other handy hints to stop builder gel from lifting:

Make sure the nails are super clean before you start anything. For instance, buffing the nails can create dust and debris that needs to be eliminated, or else it might cause lifting underneath the builder gel.

Make sure you have applied the builder gel correctly. You could do worse than check out how to apply builder gel like a pro here.

Treat the nails and hands properly after the builder gel has been applied. When you have had a builder gel manicure it's essential to use cuticle oil and hand cream as other treatments such as acetone can be quite drying. Caring correctly for the nails can also prevent builder gel lifting.

So what other reasons can cause builder gel to peel off? Curing is key!

If you want your Builder Gel to last, be sure to apply it in 2-3 thin layers with a bottle. Applying the gel too thickly will not only make it gloopy but also won't cure properly; even if it does manage to set, the foundation wouldn't be solid enough and may break after a few days from being unevenly applied.

For optimal results, we highly recommend applying Builder Gel in two to three thin layers. Doing so will help secure a smooth and even cure for the gel within an adequate timeframe ranging from 30 seconds to 90 seconds, depending on your LED light source. Please note that clear or sheer colours may need less curing time than vibrant opaque hues.

We hope this has been useful and that you'll use our tips to keep your builder gel manicures looking fresh and fabulous!

Starting with the right preparation, applying your builder gel correctly and caring for your nails post-application are all key steps in making sure your nail look lasts. Good luck! And, as ever if you want to learn more about applying builder gel or any aspect of becoming a professional nail technician, head over to our training section here.