I’ve been using builder gel and semi-hard gel to grow my nails, and let me tell you, it’s been a game-changer! Gel has always been magical for adding strength and length to nails, but using it consistently and perfecting my removal routine has taken it to a whole new level. In this article, I’ll cover what builder gel is, how I like to use it, and share some of my favorite products. Let’s get started!

What is builder gel & how does it compare to other types of gel?

Builder gel is a semi-hard gel that falls between hard gel and pure gel. To better understand the different types of gel, let’s start with some basics:

  • Level 1 – Nail Polish: This is the lowest level of strength and is mainly used for aesthetics.
  • Level 2 – Soft Gel: Soft gels can be hybrid gel polish or pure gel.
  • Hybrid gel polish is commonly used in salons and is blended with another solvent or polish to allow for easy removal. It provides some strength but is not as hard as pure gel or semi-hard gel.
  • Pure gel is my preferred choice. It’s pure gel without any other solvents mixed in. These products are highly pigmented, require fewer layers, and are easier to work with. They last longer and offer more strength compared to hybrid gel polish while still being soakable.

Semi-hard gel is at Level 3 and provides a significant amount of strength to the nails. It can be used to build an apex, similar to nail extensions. The terms builder gel, base gel, and builder base gel are used interchangeably. I personally love using the Kokoist x Nail Thoughts gels because they serve as both a builder, a base, and a color all in one.

Which nail type are you?

Understanding your nail type is crucial in choosing the right product. Here are a few scenarios based on nail strength:

  • Weak or bendy nails: If you have weak or bendy nails, start with the Kokoist Megastick Basecoat. It’s a level 2 soft gel base coat that provides strength while allowing flexibility. Once your nails become stronger and less flexible, you can transition to semi-hard gel.
  • Strong but flexible nails: If your nails are already strong but still flexible, you can work with semi-hard gel. This gel offers both strength and flexibility, making it suitable for daily activities.

The process

Here’s the process I’ve been following for my gel manicures:

  1. Remove existing gel with an e-file, leaving a thin layer of the base gel intact.
  2. Use the e-file to remove cuticles.
  3. Nip cuticles.
  4. File the entire surface of the nail to even it out.
  5. Cleanse the nails.
  6. Apply base gel and build an apex.
  7. Apply color or art with gel.
  8. Top coat with gel.

This process has been a game-changer for me. My nails have grown so much, and they’re incredibly strong. It’s truly been a wonderful addition to my nail routine.

New builder base gels!

I am excited to share with you the new collection of builder base gels. These gels are not only a base coat and color in one but also serve as builder gels. They offer ease and convenience in creating beautiful and strong nails.

The new collection includes 12 additional colors in addition to the original 6. Some standout shades are “Strawberry Lemonade,” “Cotton Candy,” and “Milkshake.” These colors add variety and fun to your nail looks.

To explore all the products and processes in detail, check out the link provided.


In conclusion, builder gel is a fantastic option for achieving strong and beautiful nails. Understanding the different levels of gel strength and choosing the right product based on your nail type is essential. With the right knowledge and products, you can achieve stunning and long-lasting gel manicures. Don’t forget to use my code KARA10 to avail yourself of discounts on Kokoist products. Happy nail care!

*Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning I get a small % of your sale, at no cost to you! This helps me support this blog and my life 🙂 Thanks so much for using my links and codes and your support!!!

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