Kokoist x Nail Thoughts Builder Gel Bases Review + Hybrid Gel and Pure Gel Explained!

HAPPY FRIDAY! I wanted to dedicate an entire post about the Kokoist x Nail Thoughts Builder Base Gels because they’re pretty much all I use and I need to share the love ;) PLUS a (kind of) brief explanation of hybrid gels and pure gels and what sets them apart! Let’s get into it!

First off, what is hybrid gel and what is pure gel, and how they are different? 

Hybrid gel polish - this is most gel that you see at salons unless they specify that they use pure gel (like a Japanese or Korean gel). Think of like OPI, Beetles, Shellac, etc. It’s gel polish that’s typically blended with another solvent or polish that helps it soak off easily/quickly. These typically don’t last as long as pure gel because it’s mixed with polish or an agent that literally helps it come off. This type of gel will give you some strength but it’s not as hard as pure gel or semi-hard gel, your nail will still feel flexible. 

Pure gel - this is the type of gel that I use and recommend, like Kokoist, my favorite gel brand! It’s literally pure gel, it’s not mixed with any other solvents to help it soak off. I also find that these products are more pigmented so you don’t need as many layers, and they’re easier to work with. They also last longer and give your nails more strength than hybrid gel polish but you can still soak them off. 

I’m talking about these in the context of soft gels, so they can both be soaked off, which means you’re still able to switch up your nail look often! But with pure gel, your manicure will likely last longer because of the quality of the product, and it’s not mixed with regular polish or solvents to dissolve it quicker etc. 

I have noticed that hybrid gel products are generally a little less expensive than pure, and they usually say they “remove easily in x amount of minutes” or are “easily removed” - something to that effect. It won’t normally say “THIS IS A HYBRID PRODUCT!” so you need to be a bit of a sleuth and do your research when you’re shopping! 

On the contrary, pure gel companies love to say they’re pure gel because it sets them apart from other brands, sometimes there are different instructions for use, and it helps justify the price increase. Again, you might need to do some research on brands to see if they’re pure, like in their FAQ or About Us section, but you’ll likely find it somewhere on their site! 

Can you mix pure & hybrid gels? 

From what I’ve experienced and read about, you can mix them, but it’s not always as seamless as sticking to just hybrid or just pure gel. I’ve done this before and the color like separated/got streaky right away and it looked weird. I’ve heard that if you’re using a pure base coat + a hybrid color, you want to make sure you leave the tacky layer so the hybrid gel has something to stick to. And sometimes it’s better to use a hybrid top coat because it will cling to the hybrid color better. But overall, I think it’s a bit of a toss up and you’ll need to experiment to see what works and what doesn’t! TLDR: You can mix them, but you might not get the same result/the best result as sticking to one product line. 

Ok let’s get into a full review of the Nail Thoughts x Kokoist Base Gels! 

I’ve been using these for a while now, like almost two years and they are still all I want to use. 

Also, be sure to use my link & code KARA10 for 10% off all Kokoist products!

Quick Facts:

  • They’re a base gel, a color, and a builder gel all in one, and they’re pure gel. 
  • This means you can do a full builder gel manicure with two products (the builder base color gel + a top coat) instead of four products (base gel, builder gel, color gel, top coat). 
  • They come in 18 colors and a clear version if you just want a clear base which I also love doing!
  • Since they’re a base & a color, I find that it doesn’t really chip because it’s not like you’re doing layers upon layers for your manicure, it’s just one or two layers!
  • You can use them to build an apex for a plump, healthy nail look, and they make your nails so strong – Make sure to check out my builder gel application course for my exact method for applying these products!! 
  • Becuase of this, you can grow your nails without them breaking!! 
  • (This is the only product that has really helped my nails grow ***without  breaking*** that’s the key.)
  • You can in-fill the builder gel – file off the top layers, leaving a thin layer of the gel (which keeps your nails strong but also gives your new manicure something to grip onto) and re-prep and then re-apply the builder gel! – Make sure to check out my e-file & builder gel tutorial course for my exact method of this process! 
  • This is a really efficient way to do your manicures week after week and I just love it so much!!  

The colors!

Let’s get into all of the colors offered! I honestly use these like every manicure I do. I pick a base color and then I’ll add something on top for fun like a glitter or a chrome powder or some little art. It’s so easy and always looks amazing!!

Ps - I don't have photos of all of them but when I do I'll add it :)

Berry Base - A sheer berry purple. I just used this on my friend and I’m OBSESSED! It’s such a fun sheer purple for spring!

Peachy Base - My ALL TIME favorite base gel :) A sheer, peachy neutral

Strawberry Milk Base - A sheer, milky pink! 

Milky Base - Sheer, milky white!

Clear Builder Base (I JUST used this on a broken nail to fix the crack so I didn’t need to cut of my entire nail! I have a video about it HERE!

Taupe Base - This is way more opaque than the other bases! It’s like a neutral taupe color + some super subtle gold shimmer. I love it!

Hard Candy: This is a BRIGHT red, but it’s sheer/jelly and it’s amazing!

Strawberry Lemonade: This one is IT! It’s my ideal hot pink. It’s sheer, it’s jelly, it’s EVERYTHING!  

Cotton Candy: This one is like strawberry milk’s hotter cousin. It’s milky hot pink. YUM! This is my favorite sheer pink! It’s really pigmented while still looking sheer, it’s just so good!

Milkshake: A true baby pink! 

Hazelnut Creamer: This one is like peachy base’s more opaque cousin! SO GOOD. This is by far my favorite base color ever!!! I use it the most and it looks amazing every time

Cantaloupe: This one is also similar to peachy base… A little more peachy than Hazelnut! I just used this for the first time and I loveeee. It’s so pretty and has a slightly peachy/orange hint but it’s so subtle! *this image below has velvet glitter on it! read more about it on this post!!

Mauve: A sheer, moody mauve!! **this has velvet glitter on it too :) I'm obsessed lol

Iced Latte: A warm, peachy brown with a jelly consistency!! *this has velvet glitter on it too! 

Nutmeg: A warm, rich, brown 

Mocha: A deeper almost cooler brown! 

Champagne: If peachy base had gold flecks in it, this would be it!! 

Rosé: A sheer, rosy pink with sparkles! 


Sheer rosy pink base with chunky rainbow colored glitter!

Shop Here!


Clear base polish with glowy golden chunky glitter 

Shop Here!



Warm peachy pink sheer base with golden shimmer

Shop Here!


Cool toned sheer pink base with rainbow shimmer

Shop Here!


Milky pink sister to Mochi Base. Sheer milky pink with rainbow shimmer

Shop Here!


Sheer neutral light brown polish

Shop Here!


Sheer peachy neutral pink base

Shop Here!


Peachy sheer polish. Like Peach Base but much more sheer! 

Shop Here!


Warm rosy pink sheer. Like your nails are blushing!

Shop Here!


Glassy barely there pink sheer polish. Almost like clear base with a drop of pink added! 

Shop Here!


Glassy sheer light lavender polish. With two coats, the purple would really pop!

Shop Here!


Sheer juicy baby blue polish! Would also pop with two coats. 

Shop Here!


My TOP favorites: Peach Base, Clear Base, Hazelnut Creamer Base, Cotton Candy Base, Iced Latte Base!!

And we cannot forget the TOP COAT! I always use and recommend the Ultra Glossy Non-Wipe Top Coat! There is a top coat in the NT line, but I prefer the UGNW one so much more. It’s really easy to apply and I love that it’s non-wipe, so you KNOW when it’s done being cured when it’s not tacky anymore! 

If you want MORE info on anything I mentioned above be sure to check out these links: 


Builder Gel + Base Gel EXPLAINED! - Did you know not all gel is created equal?

How I'm Growing My Nails With Gel - Explaining my favorite gel manicure process that has helped me grow my nails so long!

My Favorite Kokoist Products - A great place to start building your collection!

My Gel Manicure Starter Pack - Lights, prep items, etc!

Gel Polish 101 - Everything you want to know about gel manicures


My Gel Manicure Painting & Removal Course - Perfect for DIYers and anyone looking to improve!

My NEW Gel Manicure 2.0: E-File, Gel Manicure Prep, and Builder Gel Application Course 

Builder Gel Application Tutorial Class

E-File Gel Removal & E-File Manicure Prep Course

If you have any other questions or are confused about any thing regarding gel or the products or process or truly ANYTHING, leave a comment or DM me on instagram!! I want to help you build your cart and get exactly what you need! :)

Don't forget to SHOP USING MY LINK! ILY :)

1 comment

  • Hey there! I’ve been following you on TikTok for a while now. I’ve watched your tutorials and I’ve gotten pretty good at builder gel manicures with Nail Thoughts polish on top. I recently ordered the Kokoist gel pots. I’m curious about any tips you have for continuing my builder gel and using the gel from the pots.
    Questions- does the gel in the pot streak on application? Does the gel tend to dry faster than NT?
    I really appreciate any advice you can give!

    Jennifer Schmidt

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