Can You Put Regular Nail Polish Over Gel?

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The quickest way to ruin your day is a chipped or ruined manicure. And since regular nail polish has such a short lifespan, chips occur more often than not.

A gel manicure is the easiest fix. The long-lasting nail polish is thicker and cures to your nail, featuring a glossy shine that’ll stay fresh for weeks.

But a gel manicure can be expensive to get done and can damage your natural nails.

After yet another chip in your manicure, you’ve probably found yourself wondering can you put regular nail polish over gel?

The great news is that you definitely can. Say goodbye to changing your regular polish every week, and hello to a longer-lasting manicure that doesn’t break the bank.

Here’s everything you need to know about putting regular nail polish over a gel base coat.


What Is The Difference Between Gel and Regular Nail Polish?

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Before we get into how you can put regular nail polish over a gel base coat, let’s look at their differences. 

Gel nail polish is one of the most popular types of manicure.

It’s a little thicker and sticks to your nails thoroughly, featuring a stunning shine.

Gel polish is long-lasting, durable, and is less likely to chip than many other systems like acrylics.

You or your nail technician will need a UV or LED light to apply it. The light is necessary for the polish to cure and stick to your nails.

While it is possible for a gel manicure to dry without a UV or LED light, those other methods are more complicated and take more time.

A gel manicure should last approximately 2-3 weeks if done correctly.

On the other hand, acrylic nail polish is made from an acrylic powder mixed with monomer liquid. It hardens over the nail but is thinner than gel polish. This is why it’s more likely to chip.

You can work it into any shape, from square to oval, rectangle to almond. 

Style-wise, the biggest difference is that acrylic is usually finished in a clear or natural look.

French tips or “naked” nails are most common, while gel polish usually features bright, eye-catching colors.

With all that being said, can you put regular nail polish over a gel base coat?

Can You Put Regular Nail Polish Over Gel?

Nail Polish

If you’re staring into your nail polish stash, thinking, “can you put regular nail polish over a gel base coat?” we’ve got good news for you.

The short answer is yes, you absolutely can put regular nail polish over gel. 

Gel nail polish provides a smooth surface to work with, and there isn’t a downside to doing this if you take care of your nails.

Acrylic nail polish has a lifespan of 4-6 days. But when you put it over a gel base coat, you’ll be lengthening its lifespan (especially if you add a gel top coat to finish).

For this to work, you will need a UV or LED light to cure the base coat, depending on the specifics of your gel polish.

Once the gel coat is dry, you can add your nail polish of choice.

Avoid going longer than three weeks with gel polish on your nails. While it’s easy to change the color through repainting, leaving gel polish on your nails for too long will dehydrate them. 

If you’re not careful, you can damage or ruin your nails, nail beds, and cuticles. If your manicure is still going strong after three weeks, aim to remove the manicure and start again to avoid breakage.

A cuticle oil is essential to have on hand when using gel nail polish.

Can I Remove The Regular Polish Without Ruining The Gel Base Coat?

Acetone-Free Nail Polish Remover

So you’ve applied regular nail polish over a gel base coat but are looking to change things up. The great news is, you can remove regular nail polish without ruining the gel base coat beneath.

For this, you’ll require acetone-free nail polish remover . Acetone is the primary method of removing gel polish. So as long as you avoid that ingredient, you should be ok.

Simply soak a cotton ball and get to work. From there, clean your nails to remove residue using nail polish remover.

Once that’s done, you can apply a new color or remove the gel manicure completely.

Can I Put Gel Nail Polish Over A Regular Base Coat?

A regular base coat can work underneath a gel polish, but it isn’t the best choice.

The base coat is the foundation for your nail polish. And a regular one will shorten the lifespan of your manicure, as an acrylic base coat only lasts 4-6 days.

The chemicals used in acrylic and gel polish are very different. If the regular polish isn’t fully dry, it will disintegrate beneath a gel polish.

In general, gel polish won’t cure well to an acrylic base coat.

While it is possible to use a regular base coat with your gel polish, try to avoid it if you can.

How Can I Remove Gel Polish At Home?

When it comes to removing a gel manicure, having it professionally removed is always best. Technicians are extra careful to avoid damage.

But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible or difficult to do yourself. It’s actually quite straightforward!

You’ll need acetone nail polish remover, cotton balls, and foil cut into smaller square pieces.

Start by filing the polish down as much as possible. Next, you’ll soak cotton balls in acetone and wrap them around your nails.

From there, wrap the foil around the cotton to seal it. Leave it on for 15 minutes.

As the 15 minutes progress, peel back the wraps and check on your progress. Once the polish begins to peel away from your nail, it’s ready to come off.

Rub the remaining polish away with a cotton ball.

As acetone is extremely drying, use cuticle oil to bring moisture back into your nails.

Now you know that you can put regular nail polish over a gel base coat from the comfort of your own home. Enjoy your long-lasting manicure!

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Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).