Welcome to my Madam Glam First Love Collection – Builder Gel Polish Swatches & Review Mega Post! This was the February 2020 release and boy, what a big one. The ‘long nail’ extension lovers were especially treated with this set.
The full details and description of this lacquer is listed below the images in The Rundown section.
USE MY CODE: BUFF30 for 30% off your Madam Glam order 🙂
What exactly is the First Love collection?
It’s a 13-piece set of builder gels from Madam Glam! These are tinted builder gels – thicker by design.
[Updated Sept 2020 to indicate the ones that are Limited Edition, add page fixes]
SIDENOTE: Gel-lovers, apologies for the delay in posting them on this platform (if you saw ’em on IG Stories months back) – bad things happened amidst the pandemic, followed by serious complications. So yup, it’s been extremely difficult to do anything, including nails & lengthy typing!?
So for the newbies, what is a Builder Gel?
Builder gel is a medium to thick viscosity gel product, normally intended to create and build strength and shape over the natural nail or to buildup artificial nails. They come in pots or more recently bottles, such as this. This type is known as a Builder-In-A-Bottle, AKA BIAB as it comes in a gel polish bottle with included brush.
Builders are stronger than the regular gel colours and are used (mostly professionally) to create nail extensions and natural nail overlays. The strength is quite good and it can be a great solution for those with weak nails, or who like to wear longer nails.
So what inspired this collection?
Basically the love and care for nature. Being released in February – the month of Valentine’s Day, and generally believed to be the most romantic month of the year, Madam Glam wanted to celebrate the unbreakable bond between nature and ourselves with this First Love collection. I love the soft tones of it.
Application Steps for the Builder Gels:
- Apply Madam Glam base coat, cure
- Apply the 1st coat of builder gel, let it settle, then cure
- OPTIONAL: Apply the optional 2nd coat of builder gel, let it settle, then cure
- OPTIONAL: File the shape — you must wipe off tacky inhibition layer first if filing!
- OPTIONAL: Apply your colour gel here if using – apply and cure as normal
- Apply Madam Glam gel top coat, then cure
- See tips at the bottom of the page for the perfect application!
Formula & Curing times for Builder Gels:
- 3min in LED UV lamp / 4 minutes in a CFL UV Lamp
- They say you can get a 30sec in Pro LED lamps, but being a builder gel product which you apply thicker, I would cure for 90sec-2mins to ensure a full cure. Safety first, remember kids 😉
Shall we take a look at the collection? I know you’re keen to see the pictures of what these look like, we’ll get to that right away. I’ll have some application tips listed below, but in the meantime let’s get to the meaty stuff!
Please note: this is a 13 piece collection, but I received 11 of them, so you will have to search the internet and look at the Madam Glam site for swatches of the missing colours which are: Violet and Burnt Red. Sorry for that minor hassle 🙂 – the ones I have are still striking!
First up we have all the squishy opacity builders!
They’re so soft and pastelicious 💖 And all the above, including the white, get more opaque depending on coat thickness.
Next up we have all the sheer opacity builders!
And here are the TWO First Love Collection I don’t have:
Limited Edition – Medium Dark Red
So… What Are My Thoughts?
Madam Glam’s collection was created to bring volume and shape to the base with your nails. So they will not apply like regular thin gels – for those that haven’t used them before. Builder gels are really quite versatile and I really love the way they add strength – especially for people with longer nails which can tend to break under pressure.
These builder gels can be used as is and left top coated so the tinted colour shines through. Alternatively you can also use it as a base to strengthen your nails, extend with length, add regular polish or even a gel polish colour over-the-top of the top coat.
My application technique tips are:
- Let the gel product settle on the nail first before curing; <30 seconds for it to level out should do it
- Don’t go too thick, but rather do multiple layers to build – you don’t want uncured gel (allergy risk)
- It can be best to flash cure each finger so the gel doesn’t slide to one side while you’re doing other fingers
- To get the perfect curved shape, hold your hand upside down to let it settle, then flash cure upside down in the lamp before re-entering your hand normally (nails upright)
- For the amateurs – if it turns out “lumpy” or lopsided, practice your technique and file into shape once fully cured.
- For those wanting to change regular polish over builder extension every other day: use two coats of gel top coat to finish, it will add longevity
Another good way to use a builder gel is to add a protective coat to your nail plate – for those of you regular polish users who like changing your polish or mani every other day, you can just take off the regular polish or stamping and you’re good to go. Although you do need to know that using too much acetone (repeatedly) on a soak-off gel will tend to break down the surface of the gel nail at some point, so you will either have to reapply top coat or remove, and be careful not to soak in acetone. But you can do this a number of times before it starts to degrade.
Being a builder gel, these are thicker than a regular gel colour coat. For easy removal you should file down the top coat first to a manageable thickness before soaking or removal. You can do this with a nail drill (which is optimal) or a hand file.
Obviously a nail drill would be much easier, but is more suited to pros and experienced users. So for the less experienced or those opting for manual hand filing, using a coarse 100 or 150 grit file to maximise speed is ideal. Newbies tip: go gently and don’t get too close to the natural nail in your ‘need for speed’ haha – it’s not a race, and you don’t want risk nail damage.
I will be showing these in nail art posts separately, as soon as I can. Things are still getting back to some semblance of regularity in these super unpredictable times – I’m doing my best to do what I can, as I can, and as allowed. It’s been slow going but shouldn’t be too long!
Some reasons to try Madam Glam
NEW COLORS every month.
FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING over $100.
30 DAYS RETURNS. FREE RETURN LABELS for US.
AMAZING DEALS, Often.
HEALTHY PRODUCTS, Always.
VEGAN, CRUELTY FREE & 9-Free – plus, One-Step Gels are now also HEMA Free
This ends my Madam Glam First Love Collection – Builder Gel Polish Swatches & Review [Mega Post] post.
Name: First Love Collection – available on the Madam Glam online store
USE MY CODE: BUFF30 for 30% off your Madam Glam order
Brand: Madam Glam
Collection: Core Collection
Colour (or family): Various
Type & Finish: BIAB, Builder Gel, Semi Opaque, Translucent
Size: 15ml / 0.5oz
Formula & Application notes:
Smooth and glossy, these swatches show 2-3 coats (thinner coats where 3 are used). All cured with the Madam Glam 48w Holi UV LED Lamp (read my detailed review in this post).
Looove builder gels. Most detail is above, so have a gander.
Not like these colours in this brand that are also builder gels.