The best professional UV gels in the UK 2023

The professional UV gel or construction gel allows you to create long and strong nail extensions. This product is an excellent alternative to acrylic nail extensions, because it is easier to apply and easier to remove. There is a large choice on specialized websites, which makes it difficult to choose if you are a novice in this field. Are you interested? Discover our guide to the best professional UV gels.

IBD Hard Gel 1

Editor's Choice

IBD Hard Gel

The best professional UV gel in 2021

This professional UV gel from IBD cures on demand, giving you time to achieve the perfect application. It is a construction gel, has no odor and is very insensitive to heat.

20,19 £ on Amazon

IBD offers this UV gel with a thick, sticky consistency that floats easily on the surface of your nail and doesn't immediately sink into your cuticles. In most cases, it's nice and easy to work with, not too thick or too thin. We find this product best suited for making tips or overlays.

The viscous formula contains a very strong and resistant structure that allows for strong modeling of natural and artificial nails. Its transparent texture makes subsequent color overlays or nail art bolder and more vibrant. For best results, you should apply it either after the base gel or after the first two overlays for a flawless result.

Sun Garden Nails Premium Line 2

Best entry-level

Sun Garden Nails Premium Line

The best entry-level professional UV gel

Sun Garden Nails Premium Line was developed by professionals for professionals. This professional UV gel contains no visible fiberglass particles and is easy to apply.

7,99 £ on Amazon

Due to the honey effect provided by Sun Garden Nails Premium Line Professional UV Gel, filing work is greatly reduced after curing. The extra fine formula provides extreme durability and strength with the flexibility to create perfect, long-lasting nails.

Very small, invisible fiberglass particles ensure that the UV gel has virtually no heat development and thus creates a pleasant feel. Due to the exceptional adhesion properties of this gel, you do not need to apply an adhesive gel beforehand. It can be applied directly to the natural nail.

ORLY GelFX Builder In A Bottle 3

Best high-end

ORLY GelFX Builder In A Bottle

The best high-end professional UV gel

With its Builder In A Bottle, ORLY offers a professional UV gel capable of guaranteeing a crystal-clear manicure without spillage or odor and will give eye-catching long false nails.

28,72 £ on Amazon

This professional UV gel for nail shaping was designed for false nails. Say goodbye to pots and tubes, ORLY GelFX Builder In A Bottle is miraculous. The self-leveling brush-on formula applies effortlessly to create crystal clear nail extensions. It's the perfect professional UV gel for nail encapsulation, nail art, jelly nails and more.

In addition, ORLY GelFX Builder In A Bottle is vegan, free of toxic chemicals, and will not damage the natural nail. It contains vitamins A, E and pro B5 to keep your nails healthy and protect the natural structure of the nail. And thanks to oxygenation, this product can guarantee nails that are impervious to water molecules.

Sun Garden Nails Cover Gel 4

Perfect for nail art

Sun Garden Nails Cover Gel

Professional UV gel perfect for nail art

Sun Garden Nails Cover Gel is both a building gel and a camouflage gel. It is a professional product, very easy to apply and has many uses.

9,44 £ on Amazon

As the name suggests, Sun Garden Nail Cover Gel is primarily a camouflage gel that can conceal discoloration, irregularities and other small flaws found on the natural nail. Its versatility allows it to be used for natural nail enhancement, extensions with template technology or extensions with nail tips.

Stable, Sun Garden Nail Cover Gel has excellent durability and remains nice and elastic over time. With a curing time of 120 sec under UV light, it ensures a quick application. If you want to apply another layer of gel right after, do not remove the layer already applied. It will serve as an adhesive backing between coats.

Buying guide • November 2023

Best professional UV gel

Any specific needs?

The best professional UV gel in 2021

The best entry-level professional UV gel

The best high-end professional UV gel

Professional UV gel perfect for nail art

Your guide : Samuel

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Comparison table of the best professional UV gels

The best Inexpensive High end For nail art
IBD Hard Gel 5
Sun Garden Nails Premium Line 6
ORLY GelFX Builder In A Bottle 7
Sun Garden Nails Cover Gel 8
IBD Hard Gel
Sun Garden Nails Premium Line
ORLY GelFX Builder In A Bottle
Sun Garden Nails Cover Gel
This professional UV gel from IBD cures on demand, giving you time to achieve the perfect application. It is a construction gel, has no odor and is very insensitive to heat.
Sun Garden Nails Premium Line was developed by professionals for professionals. This professional UV gel contains no visible fiberglass particles and is easy to apply.
With its Builder In A Bottle, ORLY offers a professional UV gel capable of guaranteeing a crystal-clear manicure without spillage or odor and will give eye-catching long false nails.
Sun Garden Nails Cover Gel is both a building gel and a camouflage gel. It is a professional product, very easy to apply and has many uses.
Multiphase fiberglass
56 mL
30 mL
18 mL
30 mL
UV cure time
3 min
2 min
1 min
2 min
Pink camouflage

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Buying guide - professional UV gel

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How to choose your professional UV gel

In this section, we will explain the criteria that will make it easier to choose the right professional UV gel for you.

#1 - Viscosity

Viscosity refers to the flow properties of a material. For a professional UV gel, the higher the viscosity, the more viscous the gel.

  • Low viscosity: For modeling, this is an easy-to-use, spreadable, modeling gel with a slight build-up of structure. This type of gel has an optimal self-leveling effect. After shaping, it is characterized by excellent wearing comfort.
  • Medium viscosity: This assumes medium gel stability, low working viscosity and an optimal smoothing effect. The gel also hardens without noticeable temperature changes. A gel with medium viscosity is intended for natural modeling and nail extensions.
  • High viscosity: If the gel has a high viscosity, the gel will be very thick. You can expect a nice build-up of structure. It cures without developing noticeable heat and is absolutely stable.

#2 - Skin tone

Depending on your skin tone, specific colors help display your hands and make them look younger:

  • For an olive to medium skin tone, all colors work very well, with the exception of gold and rust. Dark burgundy, wine, blues, purples and pinks work very well.
  • For tanned skin tones, you can wear shades like fuchsia, orange, green and red.
  • For lighter skin tones, opt for professional UV gels in reds, pastels, peaches and purples.

#3 - Drying time and durability

Professional UV gels contain polymers that must be cured under a UV lamp to become dry and hard. This curing process should take no more than 1 to 3 min. Note that UV lamps will cure almost any type of gel while LED lamps will only cure gels that are compatible with the LED light curing process. A professional UV gel should last comfortably up to 2-3 weeks, and if you are very careful, it can even last up to 4 weeks. Keep this in mind when choosing one for yourself.

#4 - Ingredients to avoid

In some professional UV gels, most often at the entry level, you can find toxic ingredients such as formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate normally found in nail polish. Even at low doses in a professional UV gel, these ingredients can cause inflammation and disrupt liver and thyroid function. Check the label and opt for professional UV gels that do not contain these elements in their formula.

#5 - Various properties

Professional UV gels differ from each other in their own properties related to the ingredients in them. For example, these ingredients influence the stability, acidity and elasticity of the gel. A high stability of the formula indicates a consistent shelf life.

The acidity is important for people with sensitive skin. Therefore, gels with low acidity should be preferred. When choosing a professional UV gel, elasticity is crucial, especially for problem nails. To have soft natural nails, you should use a professional UV gel with low elasticity and for hard nails, it will be the opposite.

What exactly is professional UV gel?


A little history

To put it simply, professional UV gel is pretty much what you'd get if gel nail polish and acrylic false nails made a baby! Also known as hard gel or building gel, it's a thick, spreadable gel that hardens into a dense plastic-like consistency under ultraviolet light.

Scientifically speaking, professional UV gels are composed of (meth)acrylate monomers, meth(acrylate) oligomers and photoinitiators. It is these photoinitiators that react to UV light to trigger a chemical reaction converting the monomers into a hard plastic-like structure.

This type of hard gel was first used in the 1950s when a dentist used the acrylate gel solution intended for molding crowns to repair his broken nail. It took nearly 40 years for the technology to really break through in the manicure world. Indeed, lamps with the right wavelength were complicated to find.

How to apply professional UV gel

Step 1

For best results, your nails should be cleaned and dried. File your nails into the shape you want with a file. Use an orange wood stick or metal cuticle pusher to gently remove your cuticles. Polish your nails to remove the shine. Wipe your nails properly, making sure to get into all the corners and even under the edge, removing any dust.

Step 2

Apply a thin base coat and aim for even coverage. Plug the loose edge as it prevents chipping due to wear. Place your hand inside the UV lamp and cure for 2 min. Once the base coat has cured, it will still be tacky. Don't let anything other than your gel color touch it at this point, as anything else will ruin the finish.

Step 3

Apply your first coat of polish and make sure you don't get any polish on your skin. Try to leave a 1mm gap between your skin and the edge of your nails. Apply polish to the edges of your nails as you did with the base coat. Repeat step 3 by applying a second coat of color. The color coats will also be sticky when cured, which helps the coats bind together.

Step 4

Once the second coat of color has cured, apply a coat of top coat. A top coat is important to seal and protect your nails and also gives a long lasting shine. Make sure it cures without any sticky parts. Some top coats may need to be wiped off with isopropyl alcohol after curing.

The different types of professional UV gels

Before buying a professional UV gel, you should consider the different types available to you. This way, you can know which one is best for you between single-phase, multi-phase or fiberglass professional UV gels. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages. Let's take a closer look:

Single-phase professional UV gel

Typically, nail gels are applied in 3 layers. But the single-phase UV gel replaces the priming, building and sealing steps. This means that you ONLY need this gel for all layers during shaping. The adhesive is already in the gel.

Advantages: The single-phase UV gel smoothes with a honey effect, which shortens the filing work. An anti-yellowing protection is also integrated, so that the nails remain impeccable, long and shiny for several weeks.

Disadvantages: Of course, it can also happen that the single-phase gel adheres less well to problem nails because, on the one hand, it is not intensive enough as the adhesive gel alone and, on the other hand, it is not a special gel for problem nails.

Who is it for? Because of its versatility, a single-phase professional UV gel will suit people who don't have much time and want to get things done quickly. Nevertheless, this type of professional UV gel will not be suitable for people with problematic nails.

Multi-phase professional UV gel

Multiphase professional UV gel, also known as three-phase gel, consists of three layers: primer/adhesive gel, building gel and sealing gel. Each of these layers performs a specific function and each of these gels has been specially developed for its area of application.

Advantages: The three-phase gel is transparent. It brings many looks to life. The primer/adhesive gel has a fine viscosity and ensures good adhesion to the natural nail. The building gel has a thick viscous consistency and is suitable for shaping the nail, as well as for lifting grooves and irregularities. The shaping is completed by the sealing gel, which is applied as the last layer and gives a special shine.

Disadvantages: It should be noted that a professional multiphase UV gel costs more than a single-phase model. In addition, a multiphase professional UV gel is much more difficult to remove.

Who is it for? Because of their consistency, professional multiphase UV gels can be applied perfectly and offer excellent adhesion. Because of the ideal adhesion, the primer gel helps prevent problem nails from lifting.

Fiberglass professional UV gel

Professional fiberglass UV gel is a self-adhesive fabric strip used to model a natural nail enhancement. Basically, fiberglass gel is used in the build-up phase, so it can also be processed thinner. Fiberglass gel can also be used as an adhesive gel.

Advantages: It has a very good adhesive property, because of the small glass fiber particles, it has an ideal stability. Another great advantage of professional UV fiberglass gel is that it has a certain elasticity despite its high hardness and stability. The flexibility of the gel prevents lifting.

Disadvantages: If professional fiberglass UV gel is applied in a thick layer, it can become very hot under a UV lamp due to the fiberglass molecules.

Who is it for? Professional fiberglass UV gel is a versatile product and is suitable for almost all nail types. In addition, the gel is very strong due to the fiberglass components and ensures a consistent result.

Fake acrylic nails or professional UV gel?

Fake acrylic nails

Acrylic false nails extend your natural nails. To apply them, your natural nail bed must be filed down to create a rough surface for the glue to adhere to the nail extension. Once this is done, the acrylic liquid and powder are mixed to create the acrylic which is applied on top to mold the artificial nail. The artificial nail will be shaped and polished, then painted with a regular polish.

Although acrylic false nails have many advantages, such as length and durability (they can last up to 4 weeks), they also have drawbacks. Acrylic nails take a long time to remove, as they must be soaked in acetone and then polished. In addition to the acetone making your nails dry and brittle, the polishing process can weaken your nails.

Professional UV gel

Professional UV gels differ from acrylic false nails. They are not an extension of your natural nails, but rather a liquid gel that comes in a bottle or small container protected from UV light. The preparation of the natural nails before applying the professional UV gel is relatively the same as with acrylic. The only differences are that you must add a bonding agent to the natural nails instead of a primer and add a base gel before adding the build-up gel to the nails.

Just like with the bonding agent, if the building gel is not applied, the nails will not last and will start to lift. It does not air dry and must be cured with a UV/LED lamp. Professional UV gel, or construction gel, is strong, but not as hard as acrylic. It is, however, more flexible.


Overall, acrylic false nails and professional UV gels have a similar lifespan and can damage natural nails in the same way if not done right. Professional UV gel also costs more than acrylic, but is much more versatile. So, for a first time user, a professional UV gel brings the least risk.

5 advantages of a professional UV gel

Long-lasting hold

Nail decorations made with professional UV gel can last a long time, longer than acrylic nail art. There is no problem to keep it for a whole month. Some people can keep it for 2 months.

Very good transparency

A professional UV gel applied to the nails is very transparent, thick and gel-like, and looks very cute. The nail polish also has a specific top coat. The top coat can achieve a similar effect to UV gel, but in terms of wear resistance, the top coat will never do better.


The general composition of professional UV gels includes a light-curing resin, which has little or no smell, especially on some imported phototherapy products.


The flexibility of professional UV gels means they are less likely to cause breakage. If you use a dip formula, you can also minimize damage during removal, as less filing and polishing will be required.

Maintains natural nail length

For more natural-looking nails, UV gel is often preferred over acrylic because it can be applied quickly with a high-gloss finish. The gel is also ideal for helping clients with easily broken nails to maintain the natural length of their nails.

The best brands of professional UV gels

In our opinion, the best brands of professional UV gels in 2022 are :

Mia Secret
Young Nails

IBD is one of the best brands in the manicure industry, endorsed by both professionals and individuals. IBD professional UV gels are known to be harder and more durable. Of course, they cost more.

Orly is also a well-known brand in the manicure industry. Through its GELFX line of gel polishes, Orly offers different colors of polishes. The brand also offers a great sculpting gel that is easy to apply.

Mia Secret is a cult brand for acrylic nails. If you like their products, you should know that they also make a line of hard UV gel called Formagel. It's a medium viscosity hard gel, so it's not very thick to facilitate an even finish.

Young Nails stands out for the variety of manicure products they offer. The brand has the Synergy Gel line, which includes different types of professional UV gels so you can get the coverage and viscosity you need.

For those who want quality above all else, check out the catalog of professional UV gels offered by In.Hype. There are a variety of viscosities of UV gels to choose from. But In.Hype's specialty is thick gels. They are perfect for creating fun 3D designs.

What is the price for a professional UV gel

The diagram below will help you to get an idea of the typical prices for each price range (entry-level, mid-range and high-end).

However, more expensive does not necessarily mean better.

We therefore advise you to always consult our ranking before deciding, rather than blindly relying on price ranges.

5 £ to 10 £
10 £ to 20 £
more than 20 £
Price range diagram


Avoid applying professional UV gel on damaged nails.

If your nails are damaged or infected, seek professional advice before using UV gel. At no time should you apply the gel on top of a bleeding or open wound on the nail plate or nail bed. This can lead to infections and can cause you to lose a nail completely.

Use products from the same brand.

It's never a good idea to mix product brands. To avoid product lifting, not reacting as it should, or causing allergic reactions, it's important to match products of the same brand and stick with it.

Be careful with the dosage of the UV gel coat.

Each gel has a different curing time. Professional UV gels with high coverage should be applied in thin layers. This is because if you apply a thick layer of product, only the outer part will be cured and it will still be soft on the inside. If the gel is too dull and full of holes, it means the UV gel was applied too thinly and it will shrink.

Repeat the application if you're not satisfied, but do it quickly.

If you are not satisfied with the way a layer of professional UV gel was applied, you can always start over before it cures. Wiping off an uncured layer does not affect the layers you previously applied and cured.

Take your precautions while shaping.

Fundamentally, professional UV gels cure when placed under a UV lamp. During the modeling process, you must be careful of sunlight and lighting, or the gel may harden. Also, the container should only be opened during the modeling process and should not be placed near the UV lamp. If you pay attention to these points, you will prevent the gels from inadvertently hardening.


Is professional UV gel suitable for all nails?

Theoretically, anyone can apply a professional UV gel. But in practice, before thinking of using a UV gel, you must perform an analysis of your nails, because not all nails are treated in the same way. If your nails are beautiful and optimal, nothing prevents you from applying UV gel, but if your nails are flat, very curved, brittle or if you are a nail biter, then you have problem nails.

How long do professional UV gels last?

Onaverage, a professional UV gel lasts up to 2 to 3 weeks, and in some cases it can even last up to 4 weeks. This is because a professional UV gel is completely different from a regular nail polish and needs UV light to cure it and form a hard layer, much harder than for a regular nail polish.

How to remove professional UV gel?

There are several ways to raise the professional UV gel on your nails. Under no circumstances should you use a sharp tool or bite the gel, or you may damage your own nail. The easiest methods are using conventional nail polish remover or nail polish remover rollers.

What are the alternatives to professional UV gel?

There is more to nail shaping than just UV gel. You can use acrylic, shellac or polyacrylic gel. Overall, it can be said that all of these products do the same thing. Nevertheless, professional UV gel seems to be superior to the others in many ways, as UV gel is the most versatile and suitable for all nail types.


Note: Below are some of the sources we have consulted in writing this article. Links to other sites are not continuously updated. It is therefore possible that a link may not be found. Please use a search engine to find the desired information. See more


March 2022 : Translation of this buying guide from our partner

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Our selection
IBD Hard Gel 9
IBD Hard Gel
Sun Garden Nails Premium Line 10
Sun Garden Nails Premium Line
ORLY GelFX Builder In A Bottle 11
ORLY GelFX Builder In A Bottle
Sun Garden Nails Cover Gel 12
Sun Garden Nails Cover Gel


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