First Impressions: Candy Coat Hard Candy Builder Gel

I have never used a building gel before but I’ve been interested in them for a while as I have two nails that always break so being able to build these up rather than cutting the rest short is something I’ve wanted to try. Maybe it’s just me but they always seemed a bit intimidating with dipping a brush into a pot and not knowing which brands to try, but when I ordered some things from Candy Coat a while ago I saw they have a builder gel in a bottle like a normal gel nail varnish and got one.

The Candy Coat builder gel range is called Hard Candy, I love the theme they have, and comes in a 8ml bottle with a brush like their standard gel nail varnishes. They have a range of colours and I picked B005 because it looked like a nice natural nail colour and could be a good base for all my colours or work on its own for a more natural look. The Hard Candy builder gels cost £15 each which is a pretty standard price for nor lack gel nail varnishes so it seems a good price to me for this.

I think the fact it’s in a standard bottle and has the brush for application is what made me get this over others. It has a medium sized brush I’d say, but it does spread out well when you press down on it and I found it pretty easy to control. The only bad thing about this bottle that I can find is the fact you can’t tell the colour but that’s not really much of an issue as it’s the only Hard Candy I have. If I get any more in the future I’d probably swatch them on a sticker and put it on the lid.

As I’ve never had a builder gel before I wasn’t sure what the consistency would be like, except that it’s thick as it needs to be to create a nail extension that will hold and not snap with one layer. This is definitely thicker than gel nail varnishes but it’s easy to control and I found the brush makes it easy to apply to the nail. It does take a bit of getting used to to shape the actual nail that you’re creating as an extension and I’m definitely going to have to practice that.

To do the actual nail building you need some kind of nail form to use, they can be one use or reusable, as these are what you actually paint the builder gel onto. I went for a pack of cheap one use ones that look like gold stickers and it worked fine but I did have to hold it up to my nail underneath so it’s a one nail at a time job rather than doing four fingers and then putting them under the light. You also need a base and top coat, I used the Candy Coat ones as I have them and it makes sense to give it a try with their own products as I think that’s how the builder gel is likely to work best.

I was actually surprised at how solid the buildable gel is, which may sound weird as it’s creating an extension, but it went from wet gel to pretty much a solid plastic in one minute under my LED light. It was easy to cut with nail scissors and to file to get the right shape and very quick to file down. Another thing that surprised me was how disguised it is as an extension compared to my natural nails even on a first try. I was sure I’d be doing this a few times before I had a finished nail I was happy with. Making the fake nail bigger than I wanted it and then cutting it down helped as it was a very messy shape originally. I really wish I hadn’t forgotten my computer is broken and used my camera as all of these steps are gone and I only have photos I took after of the finished nail.

I did add on three coats off one of their gel colours (I don’t know the name as the sticker fell off) in a rose gold colour to compare how it applies on this compared to my natural nails and I couldn’t gel, a difference. The nail is slightly thicker looking from the side but that’s it, and it’s still not as thick as sometimes when I do a nail art look so it’s not overly thick to me either. I think it definitely pays to be careful and make sure you go right up to the edges or you’ll end up with ridges where the extension meets the natural nail and it’ll catch all the time.

I feel like I should say that this gel builder polish says it can work for extensions of up to 3cm and I probably did around 1 – 2mm. I am very tempted to go all out next time and try some dramatic nails, maybe for the Christmas family meetup I’ll surprise everyone. For my first go I went for one nail but I can definitely see myself getting more of these in other colours and going for all ten and trying new nail shapes. I’ve always liked the coffin and stiletto nails but wouldn’t be able to file my natural nails to get them so this is a great way of trying different nail looks.

As this is only the second day of the gel being on my nails this really is a first impressions post. So far I can’t tell any difference from my natural nails, it feels weird as it feels more attached and part of my nail than any fake ones I’ve used. I keep on hitting the wrong letter on my phone as my nail suddenly got a lot longer! I have to say that I’ve been impressed with all of the gel products I’ve got from Candy Coat that I’ve tried so far and I’m so tempted by their subscription box. Anyone have it and is it as good as it looks?

Have any of you tried a builder gel? Do you find the ones in a bottle with a brush easier to use or have I gone for the harder option by mistake? And any tips or things I’ve missed that I really should have been doing when trying this? I’m definitely going to experiment with it more but might be doing it completely wrong so any advice from people who have more experience is always appreciated!

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