Do I Need A Base Coat For Gel Nails? Here’s The Answer!

Gel polish is strong and durable but you may be wondering what makes it so strong. You may have also asked yourself a question, do I need a base coat for gel nails?

Here is a comprehensive answer to this question.

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Do i need a base coat for gel nails, do you need a base coat for gel nails

Do I need a base coat for gel nails?

In short — yes!

You do need a base coat for gel nails if you want them to stay on longer and for your gel manicure to look better.

Gel nail polish is meant to be used as a 3-step system.

The steps are the base coat, the color polish, and the top coat.

The most common 3-step gel nail polishes will not work without a gel base coat, plus they can stain your natural nails with pigments.

So you shouldn’t skip the base coat step if you want your gel nails to last for a longer period of time and if you want good results when doing a gel manicure.

Why do I need a base coat for gel nails?

Base coat makes your polish stay longer on your natural nails

The gel base coat acts as a double-sided sticky tape.

It binds gel polish to your natural nail plate.

Gel polish is not formulated to adhere to the natural nails well enough.

So you’ll have to use the base coat to help the color coat to cling to your nails.

Gel polish base coat has a special adhesive formula.

After you cure it, its surface stays very sticky.

This super-adhesive surface makes your polish stay on very well, for up to 3 weeks without lifting. Sometimes even more.

Base coat protects your natural nails

Base coat also performs a protective function.

It prevents the pigments in your color polish from staining or yellowing your natural nails.

In addition to that, by helping the polish to stay better and by preventing it from lifting, a gel base coat keeps fungi, mold, and bacteria from getting under the polish layer onto your natural nails’ surface.

And if you prefer to remove your gel polish or builder gel nails using a nail drill you can take off the polish layer and leave the base coat layer intact. Then just repaint your nails.

The base coat layer prevents your nails from being damaged with the drill. This is especially good if don’t have too much experience with nail e-files.

The base coat also acts as a shield for thin and frail nails.

It lets people with weak nails wear a gorgeous manicure for up to 3 weeks.

It protects nails from negative environmental impact.

If your natural nails are thin and bend easily your polish may crack too soon.

In this case, the use of a base coat can add structure to these nails and help the polish layer stay solid.

Base coat makes your nails look smoother and covers all the defects of your natural nail plate

Base coat, especially rubber base gel, is also great for smoothing out the appearance of your nail plate.

Natural nails can have an uneven surface.

When you use regular polish you can see the dents and bumps of your natural nails showing through.

This can often look sloppy. And if you’re using a glossy top coat the highlights on your nails look broken.

A good-quality gel base coat can smooth out the surface of the nail. It fills all the dents in the nail plate.

In addition to that, it helps the color polish and the top coat go on smoother.

So after you’ve finished your manicure you’ll get perfect highlights and an amazingly sleek appearance.

You can even use some base coats, for example, rubber base coats, as builder gels for repairing your nails and for adding a bit of length or for creating corners.

I recommend using a high-quality base coat.

Gelish Foundation Gel Base Coat

Do i need a base coat for gel nails, do you need a base coat for gel nails


Gelish is a professional-grade gel base coat often used by nail technicians in salons.

It’s a high-quality product that you can invest in to make your gel manicure look better and last longer.

You can use some base coats instead of gel nail polish

If you don’t want to apply your gel manicure in 3 steps and would like to make your manicure process shorter and easier there’s a solution for that.

There are base coats that you can use without any polish.

For example, pigmented camouflage rubber base gels.

These gel rubber base coats usually come in a neutral color, such as light pink, peach, or beige.

They cover your nails with a smooth layer of material that resembles the look of healthy natural nails.

That’s why these products are named camouflage base coats.

If you use a camouflage base coat you won’t need to apply the color coat

This can help you to reduce the time of your manicure.

NSI Camouflage Rubber Base Coat

Do i need a base coat for gel nails, do you need a base coat for gel nails


NSI makes a good quality and easy-to-use rubber base coat.

This base coat is great for at-home users. It goes on smoothly and provides great coverage.

The only polishes that you can use without a base coat

On the other hand, there are also 2-step and 1-step gel nail polishes that you can use without a base coat.

They have the base coat mixed in with the color polish or with the polish and top coat in one bottle.

So you can perform your gel manicure faster.

The main downside of these polishes is that they don’t last as long as the polishes with a separate base coat.

And your nails won’t look as smooth or perfect when you use these polishes as when you apply a base coat underneath the polish.

Recommended reading:

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Non-Toxic Gel Nail Polish Brands 101: Choose The Safest Gel Nail Polish

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Why Are My Gel Nails Lifting? 15 Reasons Why Your Gel Polish Is Lifting

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Do I Need A Base Coat For Gel Nails? Here’s The Answer!

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