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Does Using Builder Gel on Natural Nails Work? Here's the Before & After Evidence

Written by: Ellie Simmons



Time to read 6 min

Builder Gel has been long hailed a game-changer for helping to strengthen and lengthen natural nails. The thick gel is a brilliant alternative to getting acrylic extensions and can even be used to repair damaged or broken nails. But it's only natural to be a bit sceptical if you've never tried it before.

Since dropping our 5-in-1 Builder Gel, we've had countless of our customers – and our own team – sending us their Builder Gel journey stories and pictures, and the before and after transformations are seriously impressive. Even if you have short and brittle nails, it can help to make them strong and long again.

Read on for more on how Builder Gel works on natural nails and the answers to some of your most common questions.

Builder Gel Before and After

We know the only way to prove how effective Builder Gel truly is is to see it first-hand. We've rounded up some of the best before and after shots of our 5-in-1 Builder Gel in progress, so you can see the full effects of these incredible gel bottles.

yellow nails
purple nails
blue nails
pink glitery nails

Swipe through our gallery to see the Builder Gel journey!

Does Using Builder Gel on Natural Nails Work to Grow Them?

If the Builder Gel journey photos above are anything to go by, the answer is a resounding yes!

The gel overlay helps protect your natural nails from everyday damage, like exposure to water and constant contact with surfaces. If you're someone who struggles with picking or biting at your nails, it can be a real saviour, too, as your natural nails are safely protected underneath the gel.

Not only that, but we've formulated our 5-in-1 Builder Gel with nail-strengthening goodness, so the gel will help make your nails healthier all around.

Of course, everyone's rate of natural nail growth is different. It might take you twice or half as long to grow your nails as it does for someone else. The key is to stick with it and care for your nails along the way, like regularly applying cuticle oil to prevent dry skin.

How Long Does Builder Gel Stay On For?

Our Builder Gels will last up to 3 weeks at a time if you follow our recommended step-by-step on applying them.

You'll see your gel overlays starting to grow forward away from the cuticle – this is natural and shows that your nail is growing underneath. It's a good measure of how much your nails have grown during the time frame.

After the 3-week mark, we recommend infilling your Builder Gel nails or removing them if you choose. Infilling essentially means filling in the nail growth so that you don't need to remove the entire gel overlay and start all over again.

How to Infill Builder Gel

We have an entire blog post going into deeper detail on infilling gel nails, but we've laid out the core steps here:

  1. File down your gel polish using the 100-grit of our Half Moon Nail Files, removing the bulk of the gel.

  2. Use a Cuticle Pusher and Cuticle Nippers to prep your cuticles, being careful to only trim dead, white skin.

  3. Buff the surface of your nails using our Buffer Sanding Block.

  4. Cleanse your nail plate with Prep & Wipe soaked on a Lint-Free Wipe.

  5. Apply a thin layer of your Builder Gel at the nail apex and push the bottle brush towards your cuticle. Float the gel over the whole nail plate.

  6. Next, apply a small amount of Builder Gel to the centre of your nail to build up the apex.

  7. Cure under the Pro LED Lamp for 60 seconds.

How Often Should You Take a Break from Builder Gel on Natural Nails?


But really, there's no reason as to why you should give your nails a break from Builder Gel or any gel polish. Nails are not like skin in the sense that they need to breathe or need some time-out.

No – Builder Gel Won't Damage Your Nails

In fact, regularly wearing Builder Gel on natural nails has a lot more benefits than downsides – the only damage that occurs is from incorrectly removing the gel extensions, like picking and peeling the gel or scraping the nail bed.

So long as you make sure to properly apply, remove, and infill your overlays, your natural nails should stay perfectly strong and healthy.

Which is the Best Builder Gel to Use?

We have a whole range of Builder Gel, all made equally with our salon-quality, long-lasting formula. The real choice lies in what colour you want to opt for. Our collection includes 7 different shades, ranging from Clear to Peach to French Rose, so you'll have no problem finding the perfect colour for your look.

If you want to add a subtle flush of colour to your nails, opt for one of our nude shades, which includes Light Pink, Peach, French Rose, Laid Bare, and Blush. These look beautiful when worn alone on natural nails by adding a healthy glow to their appearance.

Our White and bestselling Clear Builder Gel are good choices if you plan on painting a gel colour or creating nail art over the top of your overlays.

And if you can't make up your mind? Our Builder Gel bundles are the perfect way to get the variety of shades you need – they make good little gifts, too!

The Verdict: Does Builder Gel Really Work?

It's safe to say that Builder Gel really does work to lengthen and strengthen your nails. Over the weeks, you'll notice an improvement in the condition of your natural nails and with regular maintenance, you'll achieve healthy-looking nails forevermore.

Shop our full collection of 5-in-1 Builder Gel today to start your nail growth journey. 

Want more nail inspo, tips, and tricks? Head over to our blog for the latest.


How long should you cure Builder Gel?

Builder Gel should be cured for 60 seconds under our Pro LED Lamp and around 2 minutes under a UV lamp. If you’re applying a thick layer, it’s important to cure for the full time.

What causes Builder Gel to lift?

Some of the most common reasons why your Builder Gel is lifting include:
- Oils or dirt left on the nail plate from not correctly cleansing
- Overgrown cuticles
- Not cured for long enough

Can you put Builder Gel over nail tips?

Yes, you can apply Builder Gel over gel tips. Apply your nail tips using nail glue, and float the Builder Gel over the top of your natural nail and nail tip.

Should you apply Builder Gel before or after a base coat?

A base coat is optional when you're using Builder Gel, but we would recommend applying one if you've chosen a coloured Builder Gel. Apply the Base Coat Gel Polish before your gel overlay, curing for 30 seconds under our LED Lamp.

How long will my nails take to grow with Builder Gel?

It'll differ for everyone, but within the first 3 weeks of wearing Builder Gel, you should visibly see nail growth.

Also, make sure to regularly use a cuticle oil and hand cream to hydrate your nails and fingers, along with wearing gloves to protect your hands from water and chemicals, and avoid picking or biting your nails – the more you can look after your nails, the more growth you're likely to see.

What is gel overlay on natural nails?

A gel overlay – or Builder Gel as it's more commonly known – is a thick gel that's used to help grow natural nails and create short nail extensions. It's applied to your natural nails in the same way as gel nail polish, or using Paper Nail Forms to create nail extensions, and needs to be cured underneath a UV or LED lamp.

Ellie Simmons

Ellie is the Brand Manager at Mylee, where she immerses herself in all things gel nails. 

Alongside being a skilled and certified nail technician, Ellie's expertise extends to gel manicures and nail extensions. Her heart and soul are devoted to all things nail-related, and she loves flaunting her own long, natural nails with captivating nail art. 

Ellie's ultimate favourites are iridescent and sparkly designs!

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