I often get messages or emails asking questions about builder gel. It can seem like a complicated subject, and these questions are coming from everyone - from beginners to nail technicians with years of experience.

To help out anyone struggling to come terms with this trendy nail preparation, I've put together all the most common questions I hear along with their answers.

Is builder gel bad for nails?

The short answer is NO. There are a number of ways that nails are harmed whilst using builder gel. The first one is the technique used to apply and remove your builder gel. Anytime natural nails are filed too much or the wrong grit file is used, it is harming your nails. Therefore it is important to follow the correct process to remove your builder gel. Check our our post HERE on how to remove your builder gel safely. 

The other reason is using low quality builder gel that have nasty chemicals in them. It is important to ensure the builder gel you are using is free from the top 10 nasties also known as 10 free. Mitty gel products are all 10 free. 

Check out Mitty Builder Gel Starter Kit


What does 10 free means when it comes to builder gel?

Is builder gel bad for you

​​10 free in nail industry means products such as gel nail polishes and builder gels that are free from the 10 top nastiest chemicals that are bad for you. These are:

  • ​​Parabens: ​​Parabens have been suspected endocrine disruptors, causing damage to your hormonal system. Other studies have confirmed that parabens can mimic the hormone estrogen in the body, which can disrupt normal bodily functions, as well as lead to tumors and cancerous cells.

  • ​​TPHP: ​​​​Commonly referred to as a plasticizer, as well as a fire retardant, TPHP has been proven to alter hormonal health and functionality in the body. In essence, this chemical can completely change your health, regulatory functions, and even reproductive health due to its chemical composition.

  • ​​Tert-Butyl Hydroperoxide: ​​This chemical may be toxic to blood, lungs, liver, and respiratory systems, as well as the nervous system.

  • ​​Toluene: ​​Studies have suggested that this chemical can cause nervous system impairment and immune, kidney, liver, and reproductive damage.This chemical is used to help polish dry faster. 

  • ​​Xylene: ​​This toxin has been known to cause headaches and migraines, as well as nervous system depression.

  • ​​Camphor:  ​​This chemical can cause headaches, nausea, and dizziness.

  • ​​Dibutyl Phthalate: ​​This chemical can cause a respiratory irritant when inhaled in large volumes and can be linked to the development of cancerous cells, tumors, and a variety of other complications.

  • ​​​​Ethyl Tosylamide: ​​This chemical is suspected to cause reproductive health complications. It is important to note that this chemical is banned in some countries such as European Commission however be careful when buying online from other countries and websites that are not 10 free as they can still be used and shipped. For example this product is not banned in USA.

  • ​​Formaldehyde: ​​This same chemical is used for embalming fluid on corpses, which should put it into perspective for you how bad it is when used on gel products. This chemical is can cause respiratory and skin irritation, long-term exposure to formaldehyde can be linked to cancerous development. 

  • ​​Formaldehyde Resin: ​​This is the base chemical that releases the formaldehyde we consume.

​​Some studies have even found that the amount of chemicals floating in the air at many nail salons exceeds the amount of chemicals found in notoriously chemically-filled places, like auto garages. Other studies have proven that these chemicals can be a threat to pregnancy health and hormonal regulation in women carrying children. This is why it is important that you choose 10 free. 

Is builder gel soak off?

​​Yes, Builder gel is 100% soak off in pure acetone. As well as pure acetone, you need a few more items to remove builder gel such as nail file, buffer, cotton pads... We suggest that you invest in a Mitty Remover Kit to get all the things that you need. This kit has everything but the acetone which you can easily purchase. 


Can builder gel be used as top coat?

​​Not suggested. Once builder gel cures, it will be tacky or sticky. It is a good idea to add top coat to your builder gel.

Can builder gel be used as base coat?

​​Yes, absolutely. There are times that builder gel is actually better than a normal gel top coat such as:

  • ​​If you have weak, brittle nails
  • ​​If you want to grow your nails naturally
  • ​​If you have ridges on your nails
  • ​​If you have a small tear in your nails and want to save your nails
  • ​​If normal gel polish doesn't last as long as you want to

Can builder gel be used with tips?

​​Yes, builder gel can be used with any kind of tips and forms. You can use it with Mitty full cover or half cover nail tips to create amazing nail extensions. The advantage of Mitty nail tips is that they come in the shape that you want which means you don't have to waste time reshape them. Some of our most popular nail shapes and tips are: (Click on picture to purchase)

how to use builder gel

What is builder gel overlay?

​​A builder gel overlay is also known as refill or backfill. An overlay is when the gap between your previous builder gel and your cuticle is filled in instead of removing and replacing with a new set of nails. To do this, you need to file off the top of the builder gel and  remove any part of the builder gel that has lifted. Then apply builder gel and fill in the gap between your cuticles and the old builder gel.

Why is my builder gel peeling off or lifting?

​​This is generally because of two possibilities. First one is that the nail preparation was not done correctly. Second most popular reason is the poor quality of the products you are using.

​​To ensure you prepare your nails correctly, follow below steps. 

​​1. Clean your hands using sanitizing spray or gel. Manicure your nails by gently pushing back your cuticles.

​​2.  Clean and dehydrate the nail plate using an alcohol wipe.

​​3. Use Mitty PH Bonder to the nail plate. Only apply it to the natural nail. Use sparingly and don’t touch the skin with it.

​​4.  Apply Mitty Gel Primer to the nail but not the nail tip.

​​5. Apply builder gel.

​​Mitty builder gels are tested and proven to last without peeling or lifting. If you are new to builder gel, then a nail starter kit is a great place to start as it give you everything that you need to create amazing nails using builder gel. 

​​Interested in learning more? ​​check out our nail courses and nail trainings. We offer both online and face to face training. (Australia only). Click ​​HERE​​ to find out more

Comments (6)

Hello I waa looking at your brand wanting to know before I buy, are your gels all products, HEMA free?
Please let me know. I’m at home based nal tech wanting expand my product range.


Hi, I was wondering if Mitty’s Builder Gel Products are HEMA-free?

Darcey Swann

Hi there, I’m finding that my nails are falling off after 24 hours. There being prepared correctly and wondering if it is a malfunction with the builder gel


I’m using nail forms with the builder he’ll. How can I prevent the builder gel to form excess amounts under my nail? So rough or bubbles under the gel that is touching my skin?


Why does the nail builder peel after about 3 days?


Hi I’m looking a purchasing a builder gel kit& I have question. Can I use any colour polish over the clear builder gel?