Can you paint over Gel Nails?

Gel nails are a popular choice for a long-lasting and polished manicure, but one question that often arises is whether it is possible to paint over gel nails. While it is possible to add additional layers of nail polish on top of gel polish, it is important to consider a few factors before doing so. Properly preparing the nails and understanding the potential impact on the longevity of the manicure are key considerations when deciding whether to paint over gel nails.

What are gel nails?

Gel nails have become a popular nail treatment in recent years. They are similar to regular manicures, but gel nails are made with a gel polish cured under a UV or LED light. This makes the polish last longer and helps it resist chips and scratches. By immersing them in acetone for around 15 minutes, gel nails can be removed.

If you are considering getting gel nails, you should keep a few things in mind. First, gel nails require more care than regular manicures. You must be careful not to damage the gel polish when washing your hands or doing other activities. Also, gel nails can be pricey, so be sure to research different salons before making an appointment.

Can you paint over gel nails?

It’s no secret that gel nails are all the rage these days. They provide your nails with a lovely, durable finish that is resistant to peeling and chipping. But what happens if you want to switch up the color of your gel nails? Can you use standard nail polish on them? Yes, you can paint over gel nails with ordinary nail polish, to give you a quick answer. To receive the greatest outcome, you must first complete a few tasks.

First, ensure your gel nails are dehydrated before applying any polish. The polish will not adhere properly and peel off quickly if they’re even slightly damp. Second, use a base coat before applying your color. This will help the color go on more evenly and prevent it from staining your nails.

How to paint over gel nails

How to paint over gel nails

 Here is the most straightforward technique to do it, whether you need to fix a small spot, add nail art, or set the whole nail. But, first, let’s discuss the supplies you’ll need and how to paint over gel nails.


  • Gel nail polish
  • Top coat in the gel
  • LED or UV lamp
  • Nail clipper
  • Buffing device


  • Dust off the top coat of the nail or nails that must be replenished first. The pin shouldn’t be glossy after that.
  • This is a beautiful time to file down the edge of your nails if they have sufficiently grown. Don’t file your natural nail, please.
  • Apply a fresh coat of color over the old gel. Be careful not to touch your cuticles.
  • Cure the new layer for that particular gel polish for the specified amount of time.
  • Repeat, adding layers as necessary. Only when one layer of color is insufficient is this necessary.
  • Reapply the gel polish’s top coat.
  • Cure the top coat for the required amount of time. If an adhesive film is still there, remove it with a cotton ball coated in rubbing alcohol. Simply put, that is everything. Please do your best to completely cover the old gel manicure since you’re painting over it, or it will appear sloppy. This is less significant if you’re retouching with the same color.

Related Reading: Dip vs Acrylic Nails – Which One is Really Better

How to prep your gel manicure for a refresh

  • Gently buffing off the top coat will remove the sheen from the entire nail. Then, use a pair of cuticle nippers to clip off and remove any gel that has been lifted at all.
  • Use a 180-grit file to delicately smooth the gel into your natural nail and erase the ridge your first gel polish left behind. Make sure you file only the gel and not the natural nail by holding your file parallel to the pin. If you unintentionally file your nail at an angle.
  • You could also want to buff out any glitter or nail art added to your previous gel manicure at this stage.
  • Carefully paint your nails with your new gel color while avoiding your cuticle.
  • If you’re over-painting with gel polish, follow the directions for curing the gel under the light of your choice.
  •  If you’re painting ordinary polish over your gel manicure, you won’t need to trim your nails, but make sure to give the polish enough time to dry in between applications and before applying your topcoat.
Credit: How To Paint Over A Gel Manicure

Things to look for before applying your gel manicure

Incorrect cure times

Even though gels can be cured for as little as half of the recommended curing times by the makers and still appear shiny and complex, they need to be fixed for at least 90% longer to be as durable and long-lasting as feasible.

Improper positioning under the lamp

Are your hands perfectly placed beneath the curing lamp? To maximize the curing process and keep your manicure longer-lasting and chip-free, ensure your fingers are completely flat under the light and aren’t cramping up.

Pristine nail surface

Before beginning your manicure, ensure your hands are impeccably clean because any dirt or debris that makes it into your gel polish will encourage chipping and may even cause it. Before getting a manicure:

1. Cleanse your hands.

2. Make sure the surface of your nails is incredibly smooth and that all skin flakes and old polish have been removed.

3. Fix any bits or drips as you paint your gel.

Peeling nails.

Before a gel manicure, ensure your nails are in good condition. The gel’s sole purpose is to enhance, not to address, any issues you might have with the general condition of your nails.

Damaged nails

Make sure you don’t pick or peel any of your original gel manicures because doing so will make it difficult for the gel polish to adhere to the nails, which could lead to chipped nails and manicures that don’t last as long as they should.

How to Remove Nail Polish That Is a Mix of Gel and Regular

  • It won’t be difficult to remove if you paint more gel polish over gel nails. But what happens if you apply conventional nail polish over gel nails? Again, you have a few options in this situation.
  • If you prefer, you can take off your regular nail polish. Perhaps all you did was paint over the gel to alter the hue.
  • Using nail polish remover that doesn’t include acetone is crucial when removing only ordinary nail polish.
  • Acetone is the best option to remove both gel and conventional nail paint. The best approach is to focus first on taking off the traditional color of the nail and, subsequently, the gel polish.

As previously said, begin by removing the standard polish. You can then take these actions:

  • Trim the gel’s top layer with a file.
  • Gel nails should be acetone-soaked. Use a bowl or cotton balls that have been foil-taped together.
  •  After 10 to 15 minutes, you should be able to scrape off the gel nail paint.
  •  Following this, it is advised to massage some cuticle oil into your cuticles.

Painting over gel nails: the pros

When it comes to gel nails, there are a lot of pros and cons. But one pro is that you can always paint over them! Painting over gel nails is doable whether you’re trying to change your look or want to add a new color.

Here are a few tips for painting over gel nails:

  • Start by removing any old polish with acetone.
  • Next, use a file to lightly rough up the surface of the gel nails. This will improve the new polish’s ability to stick.
  • Apply a base coat before painting your desired color. This will protect your nails and help the color last longer.
  • Once you’re finished painting, apply a top coat for extra shine and protection.

Painting over gel nails: the cons

If you’re considering painting over your gel nails, you should keep a few things in mind. For one, gel nails are much thinner than regular nails, so they’re more likely to chip and break if you try to paint over them. Furthermore, the paint might not cling properly to the gel, which could cause it to flake off easily or leave a patchwork appearance. And finally, if you’re not careful, painting over gel nails can damage the nail bed. If you decide to go ahead, use a base coat and thin layers of polish, and be extra careful not to apply too much pressure.

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Related Reading: How to bowl with long nails


You can paint over a gel manicure directly with ordinary nail polish. Unlike usual nail polish, which dries over time when air exposure, gel nail polish stays wet until it is solidified by UV/LED light. To keep your gel nails in place for a long time, adhere to your specialist’s instructions.

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