Why Is My Gel Base Coat Sticky? Here’s Why, the Reasons, Answers

You’ve got your favourite fluffy boudoir slippers and soft dressing gown on, binging on Netflix and giving yourself a super professional home manicure! You’ve got all the right ingredients, a delicious new nude gel polish, base coat, top coat and a pro looking UV lamp, applied your base coat, but for some reason, your nails feel really sticky! 


It's so frustrating when you are faced with tacky nails and not a super smooth luxurious glossy finish to your manicure.


So what’s going wrong?


Let's look first at the short answer as to why your nails feel tacky when you are manicuring your nails with a gel base coat in the comfort of your own home! 


Why are my gel nails tacky after applying a base coat? All of your gel coats will feel tacky after curing. It’s the tackiness which allows each subsequent coat to stick. At the point at which you have finished your manicure after applying the base coat, gel polish and the final topcoat, use an alcohol wipe or use a non-wipe topcoat to finally set your nails with a smooth, glossy hard gel finish. 


Now we’ve seen the brief answer as to why your nails may feel tacky when you’ve spent your time carefully preparing your nails by buffing, filing, clipping back your cuticles and generally being a nail pro, let’s have a look below to see what the difference is between a usual base coat and a gel base coat and why one of them is likely to remain sticky until the end of your manicure. 

What’s the difference between a normal base coat and a gel base coat? 

Back in the dark, dark years of simple traditional polishes, without the amazing non-chipping, super adhering, beautifully glossy modern gel polishes, base coats had a different purpose to their more glamorous and modern counterparts. So let’s have a look at why a traditional base coat doesn’t feel tacky to the touch. 


Why isn’t a traditional base coat sticky? 

The base coats you use with the older types of nail varnishes were there to a totally different job. 


They were specifically to make sure your nail varnish colours didn’t stain your nails. This was really important if you used darker colours such as reds and deeper more edgy colours, like dark blues and blacks. 


Although it was really important to let the base coat dry thoroughly before you added your actual nail colour, it dried smoothly. It didn’t require curing under a lamp either as gel nail base coats do. Traditional base coats are only required to be dried in the air, in the same way as normal nail colours and their topcoats. 


If your base coat that is being used with one of the air-dried varnishes or colours, rather than a gel colour, the only reason it will still be tacky or sticky is because you haven’t let it dry sufficiently. 


So you may be wondering, what is the purpose of a gel base coat and why it’s likely to feel sticky after you’ve put it on. 

“Traditional base coats are only required to be dried in the air, in the same way as normal nail colours and their topcoats.”

Why is a gel base coat sticky? 

If you are new to gel polish, it’s important to understand that the base coat is not an optional extra, as it may be with usual and the non-gel kind. 

The base coat you put on with your gel manicure is to make sure the gel polish will properly adhere to your nail. It needs to remain sticky or tacky so that when you apply your top gel colour, it can literally stick to the base coat. 

Each layer you use during a gel manicure, which is your base coat, colour and also topcoat, will feel sticky until you remove the stickiness at the end of the oeuvres with rubbing alcohol or gel cleanser. 

This stage can be missed out if you choose a non-wipe topcoat.

When gel polish is applied to nails it needs to be cured, which is just another word for dry, using a special LED dryer designed for gel manicures.
So, essentially every layer you use in a gel manicure will remain sticky until you’ve either wiped it over to remove the residue, or you’ve cleverly skipped that stage and use a gel top designed to leave your choke gel manicure smooth, glossy without any stickiness. 


A no wipe top coat is exactly what it says it is. It’s a top coat for a gel that doesn't need to be wiped with a gel cleanser, it dries in the same way a normal gel top coat would without having to wipe off any sticky residue.


So, now we’ve seen that it’s important for your gel coats to be sticky to allow the different layers to bond to the nail, let’s take a look at some other important pieces of kit you need, to make sure you have smooth, glossy nails. 

Things you will need for smooth luscious nails! 

  • Nail clippers
  • Nail buffer block 
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • PH bond, base coat and top coat - Why not try out a kind to nails acid-free bonder? Perfect to keep your gel nails from peeling
    • Gel nail polish - We absolutely love this beautiful glittery nude or how about edgy and dramatic Fedora!

    And finally...

    So there you have it. All your sticky nails questions answered! Don’t forget to make sure between each layer, you don’t touch your nails. We know how tempting it is to use a finger to see if it’s dried or not! This will just result in finger marks on your beautiful salon-quality home manicure! 


    Don’t forget to browse our full range of beautiful and elegant gel colours and accessories to bring the nail salon right to your home!

    NEW TO BLUESKY? Use BLOG15 to get 15% off on your 1st purchase.

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