Rubber Base Gel vs Builder Gel: Differences & Which to Use

Rubber Base Gel vs Builder Gel- Which One to Use
Rubber Base Gel vs Builder Gel- Which One to Use

Rubber Base Gels and Builder Gels especially Builder in a Bottle can seem similar and because of this, there is some confusion.

So in this article, I am going to compare Rubber Base Gels and Builder Gels to explain the differences between the two.

And help you to understand when you should use a builder gel and when to use a rubber base gel.

Rubber Base Gels

Rubber base gels are base coats that have a thicker consistency than standard gel base coats.

They tend to be dual purpose meaning they function as a base coat and at the same time allow you to form an overlay over your nails making them thicker and stronger.

The term rubber base gel has been used by a lot of brands that have changed the product a lot. Originally rubber base gels were just extra thick clear base coats. But now I see rubber base gels with different shades of color meaning they can be used both as a standalone overlay manicure or as a base coat.

I have found the thickness of the rubber gel will vary greatly based on the brand. Some brands can be thin more like a normal base coat whilst some rubber gels are thicker similar to a builder gel.

To learn more about Rubber Base Gels, click here to read my full breakdown of what it is and the benefits.

Builder Gels

Builder gels are UV-cured gel nail products that can add volume to your nails either by making them thicker or longer. They are usually not meant to add color to your nails but some builder gels can do this. It varies with the brand.

They are two types of builder gels: soft gels and hard gels. Soft gels also called soak-off gels can be removed by acetone they tend to be thinner than hard gels but thicker than gel polish.

Now Hard Gels cannot be removed by acetone and they will be thicker than soft gels. Hard Gels are best used to make long nail extensions similar to how acrylic nails are used. Gel Vs Acrylic.

To learn more about soft and hard gels check out my articles on:

Polygel vs Soft & Hard Gel.

Hard Gel Extensions – Benefits & Risks.

Hard Gel vs Gel X- Differences & Which is Better

Difference Between Builder Gels & Rubber Base Gels

The main difference between rubber base gels and builder gels is that rubber base gels are made to be used as a thicker base coat for other nail products.

Whilst builder gels are designed to be used to build out your nails either by making them thicker or longer. Builder Gels will still require the use of a base coat to allow them to bond better to the nail plate.

Remember a base coat has two properties firstly it forms a very strong bond to your natural nails and secondly it creates a sticky top layer for other gel products to firmly hold onto.

Builder gels still require using base coats whilst rubber base gels can function as a base coat for other gel products or by itself as an overlay.

A Rubber base gel will also be lighter, more flexible, and feels more natural. Whilst Builder Gels especially hard gels tend to be thicker, harder, and not so flexible like rubber base. This is because builder gels have to be stronger to create long nail extensions.

Related Articles:

What’s BIAB: Are they good for Nails, How to DIY, Best BIAB

Gel Overlay: Cost, How to DIY – vs Gel Polish vs Extensions

When to Use a Rubber Base Gel

Rubber Base Gels can be used:

  1. As a gel base coat for any gel nail product like builder gels, gel polish, or polygel. –
  1. To create an overlay to protect, thicken and strengthen your natural nails
  1. To Cover any ridges on the nail plate – the thickness of the rubber bases makes them great to cover nails that have ridges to make them smoother. If you have ridges on your nails click here to learn more.

I usually use rubber base gels as a base coat when a client has very thin and weak nails and then I would usually apply gel polish or other gel products like builder gels or polygels.

I have found that when you use a Rubber Base Gel as a base coat for Hard Builder Gel they tend to last longer and are less likely to lift. This is because the rubber base gel adds some flexibility to the manicure rather than a rigid manicure.

You can use a Rubber base gel by itself as an overlay to strengthen and thicken nails that are weak and thin.

  • Just apply a coat of the rubber base gel over your nails and
  • Then cure it under a UV lamp.
  • If you want you can apply a gel top coat over the rubber base gel too.
  • Finally, you will need to wipe away the sticky layer with rubbing alcohol.

When Not to Use Rubber Base Gels

Rubber base gels are not meant to be used to make long nail extensions. And most brands of rubber base gels are not thick enough to allow you to build out an apex on your nails.

Video Showing Benefits of Rubber Base Gels

Recommended Rubber Base Gels

My favorite rubber base gels are by Fzanest they have a nice thick formula that from experience works well with most other brands of gel products. Fzanest rubber base gels can be used as an overlay too.

You can click here to see the price for Fzanest Rubber Base Gels on Amazon.

When to Use Builder Gels

Builder gels are best used to create:

  • Long and very durable nail extensions.
  • Overlays on your natural nails
  • Build out apexes
  • Repair nail damages

Related Article – Benefits & Disadvantages of Gel Nails – Are They Worth it