Can You Put Regular Nail Polish Over Gel Polish?

As an at-home nail guru or anyone with a gel overlay, you might want a solution to cover up a chip or a gel overlay not tickling your fancy any longer.

So can you put regular nail polish over gel polish? Let’s dive right into the answer below!

Can You Put Regular Nail Polish Over Gel Polish?

Regular nail polish can be applied over gel polish and won’t ruin the gel overlay. The gel overlay cures under UV light, and the regular polish won’t be able to intervene with that. Regular nail polish can cover a chip or crack in a gel overlay or spice things up with a new color.

a nail technician painting regular nail polish in pink colour onto her client's fingernails

We must know how to use the regular nail polish hack on top of a gel overlay to get the desired results. Let’s see why you would want to combine the two.

Why Apply Regular Nail Polish Over Gel Polish?

A gel polish overlay on its own is perfect, and you don’t really need anything else. However, there are a few reasons you would want to apply regular polish over gel polish.

1. Color Availability

Some nail techs can only find specific colors in regular nail polish that are not available in gel colors. If clients want these colors, they will do a “jelly sandwich,” as it’s called. Gel base coat, regular nail polish color coat, and gel top coat.

However, if you are more experienced, you can mix gel polish colors to create unique color code. You need to master mixing the basic prominent colors such as black, white, green, red, yellow, and blue before trying other colors.

2. A Temporary Fix

You have been walking around with your gel polish for over two weeks, and the set is either grown out, a corner is chipped, or you accidentally hit your finger against something, and it cracked. Using regular nail polish can cover up anything long enough to last until your next gel appointment.

3. Keep it Fresh

You don’t have time to do a gel polish set every second week, but you can quickly get bored with a set. Using regular nail polish over a gel overlay can spice up your look and keep it interesting.

4. Protective Coat

Extend the life of your gel overlay by filling your nails with regular polish. This way, you can go longer before needing another appointment and keep your nails strong with the gel underneath.

5. Design Complexity

Nail art is sometimes more accessible with regular nail polish. Especially when you are still new to the field and make mistakes easily. You won’t harm or break down the gel overlay underneath when you can wipe off regular nail polish with acetone-free remover.

a nail technician doing nail design using regular nail polish on gel polish

How To Successfully Put Regular Nail Polish Over Gel Polish?

Adding a layer or two of regular nail polish to a gel polish overlay is relatively easy. The reason is that a gel layer is cured under a UV lamp and needs soaking in acetone to get it off when it is dry.

Thus, the pallet is perfect for experimenting with new colors or covering up a dent or crack.

To preserve your gel overlay, keep everything as it is and:

Step 1: Add a thin layer of regular nail polish to the gel polish.

Step 2: Let it air dry, and add another layer or two if you want an opaque look.

Note: Keep in mind that you don’t need a UV lamp to dry regular nail polish. On the other hand, gel polish can’t air dry in most cases.

Adding regular nail polish over gel polish won’t increase the lifetime of the regular nail polish. Water, harsh chemicals, or a bump will still chip it off easily.

The easy part is that you can remove it with regular acetone-free nail polish remover and still have a perfectly intact gel polish underneath.

To lengthen the lifetime of the regular nail polish on top of the gel polish, you can lightly buff the gel layer to give the regular polish a better surface to attach to. However, following this method, you won’t be able to enjoy the gel overlay on its own again.

Regular nail polish might last a few days longer when following this method but still not match a gel polish lifetime.

a person dipping the brush into a regular nail polish bottle behind other bottles in different colors

When Not To Put Regular Nail Polish Over Gel Polish?

Sometimes, adding regular nail polish over a gel polish layer is not worth it. You might like the result, but the effort and time won’t equal its longevity.

  • Busy schedule – working with your hands and knowing your nails take hammering won’t do you any good to add a regular nail polish layer to your gel. But, of course, this might be why you are getting gel overlays in the first place.
  • Going from dark to light – Having a dark gel overlay and wanting to go to a lighter color with regular nail polish might cause frustration without the result. To go lighter, you will need more layers that will lead to a thick look and an inability to dry completely. This allows the layers to smudge within hours of your hard work.
  • Filling an overdue gel overlay – Gel should be removed or filled within 4 weeks at most. Keeping the gel for longer than this and applying regular nail polish over it will defeat the purpose of having gel underneath. The best would be to remove the gel appropriately and instead opt for regular nail polish alone.
a nail technician painting gel polish top coat

Can You Apply Gel Polish Over Regular Polish?

Gel polish can definitely be applied over regular polish. But it’s definitely not recommended.

The reason is that gel polish lasts much longer than regular nail polish. So if gel polish is painted over the regular one, you are not benefiting from this edge of long lasting feature of bio gel.

You can use a top coat of gel on regular polish as well, sealing off the regular polish and adding longevity to your nail set. It might not last as long as a complete gel overlay, but it will give you a bit more time to enjoy your nails.

The downside of applying gel polish over regular polish is that the regular polish has to be completely dry. This can be tricky because some are quick-dry solutions, and others can take 12 to 24 hours to dry completely.


Let your inner creativity flow by adding regular nail polish over your gel overlay. Then, wipe it off with acetone-free nail polish remover when you grow tired of the creation. It is an easy, non-damaging way to add a personal touch to your average gel polish nails.