Can You Put Regular Nail Polish Over Gel?

Can You Put Regular Nail Polish Over Gel?
August 19, 2021 Ellis James
A gel manicure offers a lot of great benefits. The gel polish stays on the nails and continues looking good for up to weeks at a time. Unlike traditional nail polish, gel polish doesn’t chip as easily, so you don’t have to turn around and head right back to the nail salon for a touch up. Gel is also thicker than normal nail polish and can help protect the nails themselves and prevent them from breaking. But, can you put regular nail polish over gel polish to change the color or try to fix a chip or gap in the polish?

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Can you put regular nail polish over gel?

There isn’t too much that’s as frustrating as getting a new gel manicure only to have one nail chip on the way home or just a few days later.  If this has ever happened to you, you know the feeling of dealing with a chipped gel manicure.  You don’t want to go back to the nail salon only to spend more money since you just had your nails done, but you also don’t want your fresh and new manicure to be ruined by a chipped nail.

Fortunately, you can take care of that chipped manicure right at home using regular nail polish. In addition to helping you patch chips, gaps, or other imperfections, using regular nail polish with gel nail polish can also help you easily change the color or design of your nails without losing the additional length and protection the gel offers.


What happens if you put regular polish over gel?

Nothing bad is going to happen if you put regular nail polish over gel.  It can allow you to change the color of your manicure while still benefiting from the protection provided by a thicker gel polish.

However, it is important to keep in mind that since gel polish is already thick, adding additional coats of regular nail polish on top of it may make it too thick that your nails will look too bulky.  When you’re applying nail polish, take care to only apply a few layers over the gel to prevent this from happening.


Can you paint over gel nails without ruining them?

When you follow the correct steps, you can safely paint over gel nails without ruining them.  When painting over a gel manicure, you first need to prep the existing gel to get it ready to paint.  And when you had your gel manicure completed in the salon, the last step was to add a top coat of clear gel polish.

This top coat helps add shine to the nail, but it is too slick to paint over and will cause the new polish to peel off.  So, before painting your nails, you’ll need to remove this top coat.  You can do this by using a nail buffer to get rid of the shine and reveal a matte texture.

After removing the top coat, you can use a new nail polish to paint over your existing manicure.  Either a new gel nail polish or a regular nail polish can be used at this point.  You’ll need to paint enough coats over the existing color to make sure that none of the old color shows through.  For this reason, you may find it best to choose a darker color than what is currently on your nails.


Mixing Polishes

Can I put regular top coat over gel polish?

Yes, putting a regular top coat over gel polish is fine.  Top coats are designed to help the polish underneath last longer, so adding a layer of top coat over your gel manicure can help extend its wear.

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Can you put regular nail polish over gel base coat?

Yes, regular nail polish can be applied over a gel base coat.  The gel base coat is simply a protective layer that is designed to prevent the nails from getting stained by a gel polish.

Can you put regular nail polish over gel top coat?

No, you should not apply regular nail polish over a gel top coat.  The top coat is too slick, and the nail polish will likely peel off.  Use a buffer to remove the top coat before applying nail polish.

Can you put regular nail polish over PolyGel?

Yes, you can apply regular nail polish over PolyGel.  Applying a regular nail polish can allow you to change the color of your nails.  Before you apply a new nail polish color, apply the PolyGel Top it Off Coat.  Then, use two coats of your desired nail color.

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Can you put regular nail polish over Shellac?

Yes, regular nail polish can go over shellac.  However, keep in mind that if you want to remove the nail polish without ruining the shellac, you’ll want to use an acetone-free nail polish remover.

Can you put regular nail polish over dip powder?

Yes, using regular nail polish on top of dip powder offers an easy way to change the color of your nails without needing to remove the dip powder.  Regular nail polish will not damage the dip powder.

Can you sandwich regular nail polish between gel base and top coat?

Yes, regular nail polish can be sandwiched between gel base and top coat.  Sometimes referred to as a “gelly sandwich”, this technique can help a regular nail polish last longer than it would otherwise.  However, keep in mind that even with the gelly sandwich, the regular nail polish likely won’t last as long as a full gel manicure.

Can you use clear nail polish over gel polish?

Yes, you can apply clear nail polish over gel polish.  This can be a good way to help extend the life of a gel manicure and prevent it from chipping.

Can I use regular top coat over gel polish?

Yes, a regular top coat can be applied over gel polish.  Applying a top coat over a gel manicure can help it last longer.  Many people recommend applying a new layer of top coat after you’ve had your gel manicure for about a week since it can help prevent it from chipping.

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How to touch up gel nails

Whether your gel nails get chipped or have started growing out too much, leaving a gap, use some of these tips to help you touch up your manicure and keep your nails looking their best!

  • Use glitter nail polish to disguise nail growth:  After a few weeks, your nails will have grown a considerable amount.  This can leave a decent gap on the nail at the cuticle, which can look quite unsightly.  Use glitter nail polish to try to draw the focus away from this.  Apply more glitter at the top portion of the nail.  This will create an ombré effect and will make it look intentional that there is less color by the cuticle.
  • Repair chips:  Trim the edge of the nail and buff the area around the chip.  This will help take off any loose gel and make sure the remaining polish is smooth.  Buff the rest of the nail lightly, then wash your hands to make sure the nails are completely clean.  Prep the nails and apply a base coat to the area with no polish and allow it to cure.  Paint over the base coat, taking care to wrap around under the edge of the nail.  Let the gel polish cure.  Apply a layer of top coat.
  • Remove the top coat:  Before trying to change the color of a gel manicure, start by removing the top coat.  The top coat is too shiny and slick, and regular nail polish will peel off if applied over it.
  • Go darker:  When applying a new color of nail polish over an existing gel manicure, try to pick a darker color.  Picking a color that is too light will mean you’ll need to apply multiple coats to completely cover up the gel color.  This can make your nails look overly thick or bulky.  A darker color will require fewer coats to cover up the existing color.
  • Apply a new top coat over your manicure:  Try to prevent chips from happening in the first place by applying a new layer to top coat to your nails every week or so.  Start by painting along the tip of the nail to seal it. Then continue down and paint the rest of the nail.


Can You Put Regular Nail Polish Over Gel – A Wrap Up

A salon-fresh gel manicure can make our nails look great.  But, after time the nails may start to chip, or you may be ready for a new color.  Using the tips we shared above, you can keep your gel manicure and paint over it with a new nail polish!  Are you excited to give it a try?

Read through some of our related blog posts about nail polish and taking care of your nails:

Comments (4)

  1. Lovely 2 months ago

    It’s funny why I haven’t thought of this before. Thanks for these amazing tips!

  2. Mari 2 months ago

    I try the gelly sandwich approach any time my nails feel weak! It’s a lifesaver 🙂 Thanks for putting together this awesome post x

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