Skip to Content

Is Beetles base gel supposed to be tacky?

Nail art has become increasingly popular in recent years, with intricate designs and new techniques that allow for creativity and self-expression through manicures. One of the key products for nail art is gel polish, which cures under UV or LED lamps to create a durable, glossy finish. Beetles is a top brand for gel polish, known for their wide array of colors and quality formula. However, some nail artists have found that Beetles base gel leaves a tacky finish after curing. So is this normal, or a sign of a problem?

What is Beetles Base Gel?

Beetles base gel, also called foundation gel, is designed to prep the natural nail and create adhesion for the color gel polish that will be applied on top. It acts like a primer, filling in ridges and evening out the nail surface so that the polish will go on smoothly. The base gel is thicker than regular nail polish and cures fully under the lamp to form a solid base layer. Once cured, color gel can be applied without the need for a separate nail primer. Beetles offers clear base gel that dries to a natural finish, or there are versions with a pink tint to neutralize discoloration and whiten the nails.

Why Does Beetles Base Gel Feel Tacky?

Some nail techs report that even after fully curing Beetles base gel under the lamp, the surface still feels lightly tacky or sticky. There are a few potential reasons for this:

  • Insufficient curing time – Base gel needs to cure fully to lose its tackiness. Try increasing cure time 10-30 seconds.
  • Too thick application – Thick layers will feel soft after curing. Use thinner coats.
  • Old or expired product – Gel can lose effectiveness after opening. Replace if very old.
  • Incompatible top coat – Some top coats won’t adhere well to the base.
  • Residue on nail plate – Oil, lotion or debris can prevent proper curing.
  • Low lamp power or defective bulb – Replace bulbs annually for best cure.

Is a Tacky Base Gel a Problem?

A tacky residue after curing is fairly common with gel base coats, and not necessarily a sign of an issue. As long as it is only mildly tacky, you can still move ahead with polish application. However, a very sticky, gummy base layer will cause problems down the road:

  • Polish won’t adhere as well and may peel or lift.
  • Can cause lifting between layers of color gel.
  • Top coat won’t cure smoothly and may remain tacky too.
  • Can transfer tackiness to hair or clothing even after finishing nails

If the Beetles base coat remains excessively sticky after curing for the full time, it likely needs to be soaked off and reapplied to prevent adhesion problems. Troubleshoot the potential causes before reapplying.

How to Prevent a Tacky Gel Base

With some adjustments to your technique and products, you can minimize stickiness and get a nice dry cure:

  • Use thin, even coats and don’t overwork the product.
  • Cure for the full manufacturer recommended time.
  • Avoid getting base gel on the skin or cuticles.
  • Wipe nails with alcohol or acetone before base gel.
  • Try a compatible top coat like Gelish Foundation Top Coat.
  • Replace lamp bulbs yearly for optimal power.
  • Limit base gel layers to 1-2 coats.

How to Fix a Tacky Gel Base

If your cured Beetles base gel still has tackiness, there are ways to remove the sticky residue:

  • Gently wipe nails with alcohol or acetone on a lint-free pad.
  • Lightly buff nails with 180+ grit file.
  • Apply thin layer of top coat and cure again.
  • Apply nail primer like CND Stickey to seal.
  • Soak off gel and reapply if very gummy.

Avoid over-filing or soaking off the base layer if possible, as this can damage the natural nail. For severe stickiness, fully remove and re-prep nails before reapplying gel base.

Best Practices for Applying Gel Base

Follow these tips when using Beetles base gel for best results:

  • Prep nails by removing shine with light buffing.
  • Cleanse nails with remover or alcohol/acetone wipe.
  • Apply thin layer, don’t overwork product.
  • Cure for full timed recommended by manufacturer.
  • Ensure lamp bulbs are fresh and output is 320+nm.
  • Avoid cure inhibition by keeping off skin and cuticles.
  • Check for tackiness after curing before moving on.
  • Apply compatible, non-oily top coat.

Beetles Base Gel Troubleshooting

Issue Potential Cause Solution
Sticky after curing Too thick application, residue on nail, improper curing Apply thinner coats, cleanse nail before applying, increase cure time by 10-30 seconds
Polish peeling up Incompatible polish, inhibition layer, too many layers Use recommended polish system, avoid base gel on skin, limit layers to 2 coats
Base feels gummy Product is old, incorrect storage Replace if opened over 12 months ago, store upside down in cool dark place
Bubbling Nail isn’t fully prepped, damp nail, overworked product Lightly buff nails before applying, ensure nail is clean and dry, use thin even coats

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you wipe tacky gel base with alcohol?

Yes, lightly wiping with isopropyl alcohol can help remove surface tackiness from base gel. Acetone may also be used. Avoid excessive filing as this can damage the nail plate.

Can you apply polish over tacky gel base?

It’s not recommended. For best results, the gel base should fully cure to a dry finish. Excessive tackiness can prevent proper polish adhesion and lead to lifting or peeling.

How long does Beetles base gel last?

With proper application and nail prep, Beetles base gel can last 2-3 weeks on natural nails. On gel overlay extensions, it may last the full life of the overlay. Proper moisturizing and avoiding damage will maximize wear.

Should you cure base gel twice?

Curing twice is not necessary if you allow the full recommended timer on the first cure. Curing too long or repeating curing without adding product can cause over-curing and potentially damage the nails.

Can you use gel base coat as regular nail polish?

Gel base coats are not formulated to be used alone as a polish. They are designed to bond with gel polish systems. Using alone will likely result in chipping, peeling and poor wear. Traditional nail polish will have better results.


Some stickiness after curing is common with gel nail base coats like Beetles. But excessive tackiness indicates the product is not fully curing, which can lead to lifting and adhesion issues. Take steps to allow for full curing time and properly prep nails. With the right techniques, Beetles base gel can create the perfect foundation for beautiful nail art.