How To Remove Builder Gel: 3 Easy Tips For You!

How To Remove Builder Gel: 3 Easy Tips For You!

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The nail industry is fast evolving all over the world. You can now choose among several options for nail extensions — from stunning acrylics to gorgeous polygel nails!

adding builder gel into the nails

One of the nail enhancements that has overtaken the nail industry is builder gel. 

Builder gel is applied to your natural nails to give them structure and strength, protecting your nails from breaking and bending. Plus, you can shape and style it to your liking! 

However, builder gels can be harder to remove than traditional nail polish. 

If you want to remove them for personal reasons, this article is for you.

Learn how to remove builder gel on natural nails here! Moreover, read this article until the end to discover crucial tips to keep in mind about the builder gel removal process. 

What Is a Builder Gel?

Builder gel is a nail enhancement that makes nails stronger, longer, and more durable. 

You can ask your professional nail technicians to use builder gel with forms or tips to create extensions or apply them on your natural nails for a non-chip overlay. 

Two layers are applied when using builder gel on nails: 

  1. Builder gel — helps harden the polish and make it longer-lasting.
  2. Top coat — protects the polish from chipping and makes it look attractive

Nail techs use them to create various nail shapes, including square, oval, and almond.

Moreover, builder gel comes in two varieties — soft gel and hard gel — which are different from typical gel nail polishes. 

Compared to regular nail polish, builder gels have a thicker consistency and are more durable. 

They are available in clear, pink, and white colors, which are then cured under UV or LED light. 

When to Remove Builder Gel

There are several reasons why removing builder gel from your nails is inevitable. Here are some of them:

Growth of Natural Nails

Over time, your natural nails may grow out. When this happens, you need to remove the builder gels and redo the nail enhancement process for a fresh manicure set. 

Damage to Natural Nails

If the builder gels have caused damage to your natural nails, such as thinning, cracking, or peeling, you may need to remove them to allow the nails to heal.

Allergic Reactions

Some people may develop an allergic reaction to the ingredients in builder gels. If you’re one of them, removing the gels as soon as possible is a must to alleviate symptoms.

Change in Style

You may want to change your nail style, such as switching from builder gels to a different nail design or returning to natural nails.

Some people realize that they prefer natural nails and would like to remove the gels.

Budget Reasons

Professional nail removal services can be costly. Fortunately, you can remove builder gels at home and save money. 

However, make sure you know how to do it properly and safely to avoid damaging your nails. 

Risks of DIY Builder Gel Removal

Knowing how to remove builder gel safely is important due to the following potential risks:

Damage to the Natural Nails

If builder gels are not removed properly, the process can cause damage to the natural nails. This includes thinning, cracking, and peeling of the nails.


Leaving builder gels on for too long or using improper removal methods can lead to bacterial or fungal infections.

Allergic Reactions

Some people may be allergic to the ingredients in builder gels, and improper removal can cause further skin irritation or other allergic reactions.

Pain and Discomfort

Improper removal of builder gels can cause pain and discomfort in the nails and surrounding skin.

Additional Cost

If the builder gels are not removed properly, it can take a long time and may require multiple visits to a nail salon, which can be costly.

Overall, the safe removal of builder gels is essential to maintain your natural nails’ health and prevent possible complications. 

If unsure or uncomfortable with the removal process, it’s always best to seek professional help.

Can You Remove Builder Gel at Home?

If you want to save money, you’re probably looking for ways to clean your nails and remove builder gel at home. 

But is it possible? Can you remove builder gel at home?

Definitely! You can always opt for builder gel removal at home! 

However, it is important to take the necessary precautions to avoid damaging your natural nails or causing the complications and risks we mentioned earlier.

If you want to know how, keep reading until the end.

Materials You Need to Remove Gel Builders

Here is a list of materials that may be needed to remove builder gels at home. If you don’t have these materials yet, you can purchase a builder gel removal kit from FANDAMEI on Amazon!


This is a strong solvent that is used to dissolve builder gels.


wrapped foil on the nails

Used to wrap the nails and hold the acetone in place.

Wooden Cuticle Pusher

This is used to gently push off the softened gel from the natural nails.

Buffer or File

Used to smooth out any remaining rough spots on the nails after the gel has been removed.

Nail Clipper

Used to clip off any long nails before starting the removal process.

Nail File

Used to file down the top coat of the builder gel before soaking them in acetone.

Nail Buffer

Used to buff the nails after the gel is removed.

Moisturizer or Cuticle Oil

To moisturize and nourish the nails after the removal process.

Tips to Prepare Nails Before Builder Gel Removal

Before removing builder gels, it’s important to prepare the nails properly. 

By doing so, you can ensure that the process is as safe and effective as possible and will minimize the risk of nail complications.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Use a nail clipper to trim any long nails to the desired length.
  • Get a nail file and start filing down the top coat of the builder gel. This will make it easier for the acetone to penetrate the gel and soften it for removal.
  • Buff nails to create a surface that the acetone can penetrate more easily.
  • Make sure to clean your nails and surrounding skin thoroughly to remove any dirt, debris, or oil that may be present.
  • Make sure you have all the necessary materials ready.

3 Ways to Remove Builder Gel

As mentioned in earlier sections, builder gel comes in two types: soft and hard gels. 

But did you know that they have different removal processes?

Here are three techniques that discuss how to remove builder gel correctly. Follow these techniques to keep your natural nails healthy after removing them:

Wrap Technique (Soft Gel Nail Removal)

Soft gels are a lot easier to strip off than hard gels since you won’t need any tools. As long as you have cotton balls or pads and acetone, you can easily remove this builder gel it at home!

Removing soft gel is quite similar to removing regular nail polish. 

Here’s how to remove builder gel without drill:

  1. Trim your nails to reduce the amount of product you need to remove.
  2. Use a nail buffer to buff your builder gel nail’s top coat.  
  3. Soak a cut-up cotton pad or a cotton ball in pure acetone. 
  4. Place the soaked cotton ball or pad onto your nails. 
  5. You can also use aluminum foil to wrap the soaked cotton ball or pad onto your nails.
  6. Use professional nail clips to hold them in place. 
  7. Let them sit on your nails for about 10 minutes, and take them out.  
  8. Gently wipe any excess products using a cuticle pusher or a lint-free wipe to remove them. 

Soaking Technique (Soft Gel Nail Removal)

If you’re in a rush to remove builder gel, you probably think working with cotton products and using aluminum foils on nails can be a hassle and time-consuming. 

If that’s the case, we have a solution: soak off gel builder in a bowl of acetone to remove them.

Just do the following:

  1. Fill a bowl with acetone.
  2. Submerge your nails into a bowl filled with acetone.
  3. Let them soak for approximately 5 to 10 minutes only. Any longer than that will damage your nails.
  4. After that, wash your hands with soapy, warm water to remove any extra products remaining on your nails. 
  5. If you find any particles stuck on your nails, remove them by gently pushing them off using a cuticle pusher. 

PRO TIP: Regardless of which technique you use to remove your soft gel nails, you must apply cuticle oil afterward. For best results, massage it generously into the nail bed. 

Doing so will moisturize and hydrate your nails, which is crucial after removing builder gels with dehydrating acetone. 

Removing Hard Gel from Natural Nails

Now that we know how to strip off soft gel nails, let’s proceed with how to get hard gel nails off.

Note that hard gel polish removal is trickier to do than soft gel removal since you cannot soak it off.

Hard gel nails involve the curing process known as polymerization, creating a compact, strong polymer that solvents like acetones cannot penetrate. 

Meaning, the hard gel can only be removed by filling using a nail file, buffer, and an e-file or e-drill. 

If you want to remove hard gel at home, here’s a step-by-step guide you can follow:

  1. Trim your nails to have less product to deal with. 
  2. Remove the top coat using a nail file.
  3. Then use an electric nail drill gently onto your nails to eliminate all the gel layers beneath the top layer. 
  4. Make sure not to hit the surface of your natural nail plate. Otherwise, it might damage your nail. 
  5. After filing your nails, you should wipe away all the accumulated dust on your nail. 
  6. Use a buffer to buff out any excess builder gel. 

Like other techniques, cuticle oil into your nails after the hard gel removal process is a must!

Cuticle oil is vital if you want your nails to be stronger, moisturized, shiny, and prepped for the next manicure session.

Is Using Acetone to Remove Builder Gel on Nails Damaging or Safe?

As mentioned earlier, acetone is mainly used when removing soft gel polish. But is it safe to use on your nails?

Using acetone to remove builder gels can be safe if done correctly, but it can also be damaging if not done correctly.

Acetone is a strong solvent that effectively dissolves builder gels, making it an effective method for removing them. 

However, prolonged exposure to acetone can dry out the nails and surrounding skin, leading to cracking, peeling, and other damage.

When using acetone to remove builder gels, it’s important to follow these guidelines:

  • Do not leave the nails soaking in acetone for too long. The recommended time is 10 to 20 minutes.
  • Use cuticle oil or moisturizer to hydrate the nails and skin after removal.

Additionally, it’s important to note that some people may be allergic to acetone. To know whether or not you’re allergic, do a skin test

If you find yourself allergic, avoid using it or seek professional help if they experience any adverse reactions.

Things to Avoid When Removing Builder Nails

nails soaked in the acetone

When removing builder gels, there are several things that should be avoided to prevent damage to the natural nails or other complications:

Do Not Pick or Peel the Gels Off

Picking or peeling the gels off can damage the natural nails and may cause them to become thin or brittle.

Do Not Use Metal Tools

Metal tools, such as cuticle nippers or metal pushers, can cause damage to the natural nails. Use a wooden cuticle pusher instead.

Do Not Leave the Nails Soaking in Acetone for Too Long

Prolonged exposure to acetone can dry out the nails and surrounding skin, leading to cracking, peeling, and other damage.

Do Not Ignore Any Signs of Allergic Reactions or Infections

If you experience redness, itching, or pain in your nails or surrounding skin, stop the process and seek professional help.

Do Not Skip the Aftercare

After removing builder gels, it is important to properly care for your nails to maintain the health of your natural nails and to prevent any complications.

Aftercare includes:

  • cleaning and sanitizing your nails and surrounding skin,
  • moisturizing your cuticles, and
  • applying a nourishing top coat to your nails.

It may also be beneficial to avoid using nail polish or other harsh chemicals on your nails for a few days to allow them to recover fully. 

Can You Add Another Gel Polish After Builder Gel Removal?

Giving your nails a break from builder gels and similar products for some time is a good idea to strengthen and allow them to recover from the removal process.

But what if you want to add another gel polish after builder gel removal? Is it possible?

Yes, it is possible to add another gel polish after removing the builder gel. 

However, it is important to ensure that your nails are properly cleaned and sanitized before applying the new gel polish. 

It’s also recommended to use a base coat before applying the new gel polish to protect your nails.

Now You Know How To Remove Builder Gel

Removing builder gel is doable. In fact, you can do it in the comfort of your home!

Just follow the necessary techniques and steps and remember the important tips highlighted in this article. 

builder gel with brush

But if you’re not comfortable with the process or feel that you are not doing it correctly, it’s best to seek professional help. 

Remember that improper removal can damage your natural nails or even cause infections, among other adverse effects.

If you don’t want to risk that, run to your trusted nail salon and have your builder gel professionally removed by a certified nail technician. 

An infographic featuring 3 easy ways to remove builder gel nails with a pair of woman's hands and nail tools in a pink background

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