What is A Rubber Base Coat For Nails? [Answered]

What is a rubber base coat for nails and why is it important? If you’re looking to have gel nails done, it’s important you know the answer to this question. In this article, we set out to explain everything you need to know and show you just how to apply it. 

A woman is seen with closed eyes. She has pink hair, pink eyeshadow on and her hand is covering one side of her face.

What Is A Rubber Base Coat?

In short, a rubber base coat makes gel nails longer as it maximizes the adherence between your nail and the gel. The rubber base coat is applied directly to your nails and creates a smooth surface.

A rubber base coat is a great product that is intended to make gel polishes adhere to your nail better. 

It will stop the polish from lifting off your nails, and it will make the surface of your nail beautifully smooth before you apply the gel polish to it.

You might think that your nails are already smooth, but if you look closely, you’ll see that they are covered in small bumps and grooves that mean they are actually highly textured. 

The rubber base coat makes a smooth surface for the gel polish to cling to.

It is easy to apply, which makes it an ideal option even if you are doing your nails at home by yourself. 

It will level itself out with no extra work from you, ensuring you have a smooth canvas to work with.

You might not feel sure whether this is worth using if you already use gel polishes, but most people find that it gives them a much better finish, and makes the polish last much longer.

Is A Rubber Base Good For Nails?

close up of hand with manicured nails and a pink fluffy fleece.

A rubber base is often used to strengthen your nails, especially if they are weak or ragged. 

If your nails peel readily or if they are brittle and quick to break, you might want to try a rubber gel base.

However, it’s important to note that rubber bases are not designed to improve the health of your nails.

The product will add strength by creating a new layer on top of the nail, preventing it from splitting and lending it length and stability – but it doesn’t actually nourish or change your nails.

On the other hand, because this product is generally free from solvents and other harsh chemicals, it shouldn’t be too bad for your nails. 

Some options do include nourishing ingredients that may somewhat improve the health of your nails but on the whole, this product is there to provide a coating, rather than to change your nail.

If your nails are in bad condition, using a product like a rubber base may help to ensure that you can wear nail polishes and gels, so you should consider using it. 

However, you might also want to seek out products that will rebuild the strength of your nails.

What Is The Difference Between A Normal Base Coat And Rubber Base Gel?

You may already be familiar with the concept of applying a base coat to your nails, and if so, you might be thinking that a rubber base gel is essentially the same product. However, it isn’t.

Rubber base gel coats are noticeably thicker than normal base coats, and you will notice that they take longer to dry once you have applied them to your nails.

You might also see that the liquid clings to the brush when you start using the product.

They do serve the same purpose, however. Both are intended to create better adhesion between your nail and the gel you are going to apply on top. 

The thin coat is much more like applying a water coating, and it offers a small degree of adhesion and flexibility.

The thin coating is more frequently used and is a one-size-fits-all solution to lack of adherence. Many nail salons apply it before applying any other nail enhancements, and it generally works quite well.

Rubber is currently very popular, and it offers far more flexibility and adhesion than the standard base coat. It is ideal for clients who have very weak nails, who might not otherwise be able to wear certain nail enhancements.

There are other kinds of bases too, and you might find that one of these works better for you. 

However, it’s well worth trying a rubber base coat, especially if you find that gel tends to lift or peel off your nails, and you can’t get a good degree of adhesion.

How Do You Apply A Rubber Base Coat?

A woman is paining the tips of another woman's nails. She holds onto the nail and is using a fine thin brush.

Fortunately, rubber base coats are pretty easy to apply and you should be able to add them yourself at home if you don’t want to go to a salon to get your nails done. 

To do this, follow the steps below:

  1. Take your nail back to its natural state, removing any polish or other enhancements using 100 percent acetone. Keep working until the nail is absolutely clean and there is nothing on its surface. Any leftover enhancements will prevent the rubber base coat from working properly.
  1. Push back your cuticles and get rid of any dead skin left on the surface of your nails. This will give you a good surface to work with.
  1. Take a 180 grit nail file and use it to gently file across the surface of the natural nail. This will provide a key for the rubber base to adhere to, making it stick considerably better. Although your nail is somewhat rough anyway, this filing helps. Make sure you work gently.
  1. Brush off dust and wipe your nails with acetone.
  1. Apply a thin layer of the rubber base coat, starting at the cuticle and working outward. Do this for each of your nails.
  1. Cure the base coat under an LED lamp or UV lamp for 60 seconds (for a 48w lamp)

That’s all you need to do to create a rubber base coat, and you can then add whatever nail enhancement you are using.

3 Best Rubber Base Gels For Gel Polishes 2022

FZANEST Rubber Base Gel For Nails

1. FZANEST Rubber Base Gel For Nails

This rubber base gel gets great reviews and it offers you a nude color to work with, meaning your gel colors will show true, just as they would if you painted on your naked nails.

It is relatively cheap at only $6.99, and it offers you a glossy surface to work with. It’s perfect for a DIY job at home, and if you suffer from brittle nails, you should definitely give this one a try.

IN.HYPE Elastic Rubber Base Coat

2. IN.HYPE Elastic Rubber Base Coat

If you would rather have a base that is clear, instead of nude, you might like this IN.HYPE version of the rubber base coat. It neatly smooths out dents on the surface of your nails, making them ready to take the gel coat, and it’s super flexible to reduce damage to your gel coat.

You need a lamp with at least 36 voltage to cure this, but it is a soak off option that could make all the difference to your next nail job.

AIMEILI Gel Nail Polish Builder Base

3. AIMEILI Gel Nail Polish Builder Base

If you would like to buy both your builder base and your top coat together, this is the perfect option for you. You can use the base builder on your natural nail, apply the gel coat, and then add the no wipe top coat to keep the color in the best possible condition.

It is also a great option if you are working on a budget; it only costs $8.99 for the two products together.


If you find that your nails split and peel, or if your gel coatings lift too easily, it may be because your nails are weak. If so, a rubber base could be a great option for improving the adhesion between a gel coating and your nail. These bases level and strengthen your nail, preparing the surface for gel.