Skip to content

Our Blog

Benefits of Structured Gel Overlays Using Builder Gel

20 Mar 2024 0 Comments

A structured gel overlay, also called a structured gel manicure, can be one of the best ways to wear your natural nails with added strength and support from a builder gel, which is a thicker gel that has a higher viscosity than color gel polish. While “gel overlay” generally refers to any layer of gel applied to the nails, a “structured gel overlay” entails using a builder gel to create an apex at the center of the nail with the cuticle area and free-edge being thinner, forming a supportive arch or c-curve gel structure on the natural nail. Some builder gels require a base gel while others may not and can be clear or tinted with the option to apply color gel polish over the builder gel layer or simply forgo color gel polish and finish with a coat of top gel. 

In western nail industries, hard gel options and soft gel options are available and can be used for structured gel overlays, while in eastern nail industries, soft gel or semi-hard gel options are more common with very few, if any, hard gel options. Soft gels can be soaked off while semi-hard gels may take longer to soak off and require filing for removal. Hard gel does not soak off with acetone and must be filed off. Regardless of the type of builder gel used, it is always important to follow the builder gel manufacturer’s instructions for application and removal for the best results. Let’s dive into how structured gel overlays can be created and the benefits offered by this type of nail enhancement.



How Are Structured Gel Overlays Created and Maintained

To create a structure gel overlay, an uncured layer of builder gel called a “slip layer” is applied on the nail after the base coat, if required, or after a thinly cured layer of the builder gel as a “base.” After applying the slip layer, a bead of builder gel is applied near the base of the nail on top of the slip layer. A brush is used to float the bead of builder gel from sidewall to sidewall of the nail while guiding it down the nail plate towards the free-edge. The gel is concentrated at the center of the nail and thinner at the edges. Once the gel structure looks good, it is cured. This process is typically done one to two nails at a time to prevent unwanted flow of the gel or flooding at the nail base or sidewalls. Buffing may be necessary to refine the structure and create a smooth surface for gel color, if desired or coated with top coat for a finished look.

Structured gel overlay enhancements can be maintained by filling the new growth area with the same builder gel. Top gel and color are removed while the builder gel layer is filed down and refined. After cuticle care, builder gel is applied to restructure the nail and maintain its benefits.

Benefits of Structured Gel Overlays

Smooth Base
A structured gel overlay creates a smooth base for color. If there are any grooves or unevenness in the natural nail surface, builder gel can be used to fill in concave and uneven areas to create both structure and a smooth surface.

Desirable Appearance
A structured gel overlay adds volume to the natural nails, making them appear more full and uniform in appearance. This enhances the look of flatter nail beds and the 3D effect of the structure also enhances the way the color and shine appears, creating a beautiful manicure, even with just one color. 

With the correct structure, without being too thin or too thick, and having an apex at the center of the nail or at the stress point, a structured gel overlay offers a layer of protection to the natural nails, reinforcing strength and nail structure. This protection and layer helps minimize nail breakage, allowing for manicures that can last at least two to three weeks and beyond.

Natural Length Support
While a gel manicure is a good option for short nails and strong natural nails, longer natural nails may need extra support. With the benefits of protection and durability, a structured gel overlay is a great option for supporting natural nail length and growth as the qualities of builder gel are durable to offer strength, yet flexible to withstand natural pressure on the nails, minimizing breakage.


Minimizes Removal and Nail Damage
Since a structured gel manicure is intended to stay on the nails and be filled or rebalanced rather than be completely removed during each nail session, it reduces the potential for nail damage and thinning of the nails from repeated filing and buffing during nail preparation and removals.

If you are looking to add protection and durability to your nails that also feel lightweight, look natural, and provide a beautiful shape, try a structured gel overlay. Shop from Sweetie Nail Supply builder gels to create your structured gel overlay.

Prev Post
Next Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

Thanks for subscribing!

This email has been registered!

Shop the look

Choose Options

Edit Option
Terms & Conditions
this is just a warning
Shopping Cart
0 items

Before you leave...

Take 20% off your first order

20% off

Enter the code below at checkout to get 20% off your first order


Continue Shopping