Can You Use Regular Nail Polish On Gel Nails?

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Getting your nails done is a great way to pamper yourself and show the world your personality using fun colors and designs. If you are reading this with gel nails in particular and want to paint them with non-gel polish, is that going to look okay? We have done the research to bring you the best answer. Let's discuss.

When it comes to painting your gel nails with a non-gel polish, we are happy to say it is okay. If you decide on changing up your color at home with regular polish, make sure to paint lightly so your nails don't end up with a chunky look and texture. Remember, your nails already have a thicker gel on them, so the less polish you add, the better your nails will turn out.

As we begin this discussion, we will be sharing tips and tricks on how to paint your gel nails at home using regular polish. We also have tagged some super helpful products that can make your at-home nail project easier and give your nails a salon look for less. With that said, let's get this started!

A woman painting her nails with gel nail polish near UV lamp, tools and flowers, Can You Use Regular Nail Polish On Gel Nails?

Gel Vs. Regular Nail Polish

Beautiful woman's hands with spring summer floral nail design

When it comes to the main difference between a gel manicure and a traditional polish, the gel will be much more durable. A gel manicure uses a thick bonding liquid that coats your nails with a stronger polish layer and lasts anywhere between two and three weeks. Regular nail polish is much lighter and more fragile than gel and will last you about a week on average. You can use both a gel and regular nail polish on your natural nails.

LOKFAR 6 Color Matte Nail Polish Set

Here is a regular polish that will work well on top of gel nails from LOKFAR. According to the manufacturer's description, this polish set has a matte look and is easy to apply on top of already painted nails.

View this matte nail polish set on Amazon here.

Gellen Gel Nail Polish Set

Here is another gel nail set we found from the Gellen Store for you to try out. This set is a nude gray color palette but does come in other polish options.

Follow this link to Amazon to view this set.

How Long Does It Take For Gel Nail Polish To Air Dry?

Beautiful groomed woman hand with white nails on light gray background

Choosing to air dry your gel nails is easier said than done when it comes to your finished nails' quality. It will take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes to dry out your gel nails enough to resume daily activities, which seems like an eternity to many. Air drying also comes with the possibility of running and smudging your polish, so do keep that in mind if you take this route. If you prefer a salon-quality look, we recommend investing in a UV/LED drying lamp for your nails.

Can You Use Gel Polish Without UV Light?

Drying female fingernail polish in ultraviolet light dryer

If you find yourself using gel polish and no UV drying light, you are not entirely out of luck. Although UV light will dry your nails faster and give them a smoother, higher-quality look, air drying is also possible. The gel is a very thick liquid polish, so air drying could take up to half an hour which might not be ideal for your schedule. If you can find a UV nail dryer, we suggest getting your hands on one rather than risking a chunky, smudged manicure.

UV/LED Professional Grade Nail Dryer

Here we have a professional-grade UV nail dryer from JEWHITENY that will get your gel nails dried and looking fabulous in no time. This machine has three drying settings and is specifically made to work with gel polish nails.

Check it out on Amazon here.

Do UV Nail Dryers Work On Regular Nail Polish?

View from above woman painting her nails with gel nail polish near UV lamp, tools and flowers

If you already have a UV or LED drying lamp, you can certainly use it on regularly painted nails. A drying lamp's primary purpose is to improve quality and dry time, no matter the polish you are using. We recommend a drying lamp for your nails regardless of your polish to ensure your manicure turns out as perfect as possible. There are plenty of smaller and more affordable UV lamps that you can get for at-home manicures to help you achieve a professional look for less.

GreenLife UV Portable Nail Dryer

Here is a great nail dryer from GreenLife that is perfect for on-the-go manicures and only takes 30 to 60 seconds to dry. This dryer has three dry settings and promises to be portable and compact for travel.

View this portable nail lamp on Amazon by clicking here.

What Can You Use Instead Of A Gel Base Coat?

If you are not feeling a gel polish for your base coat, we suggest a simple white, non-gel polish for your base or just a deep nail cleaning. The purpose of a base coat is to make your nail smoother so your actual polish will adhere to it without looking textured or uneven. Cleaning your nails with an acetone polish remover will also smooth them out and get them ready for your primary nail polish. Another way to get your nails ready to paint without using a base coat is to buff them out using a standard nail file or kit.

OPI Lacquer White Nail Polish

Here we have a simple white polish from OPI that is a great base coat alternative and will get your nails ready to be painted. This polish has a sheer finish and comes in a few different shades.

Follow this link to Amazon to check it out.

Here is an acetone nail polish remover from Pronto that will get your nails feeling extra clean. This remover promises to safely take off existing nail polish and smooth out your nails for new polish.

Check this polish remover out on Amazon here.

Semme Manicure Buffing And Polishing Kit

Here we have a nail cleaning and buffing kit from Semme that will get your nails ready for paint. This kit comes with buffing cream, a nail buffing brush, and a polishing strip.

Check out this nail kit on Amazon here.

Is Gel Good For Nails?

Close up shot of a done manicure, a full set stiletto gel nails

When it comes to if gel polish is safe or not for your actual nail's health, the answer is yes and no. This is an excellent example of too much of a good thing going wrong and can cause damage to your natural nails. The recommended amount of time gel polish should be on your nails is about two weeks and then a break for about the same time. Keeping gel polish on your nails for an extended period can cause severe peeling and brittleness and, in extreme cases, skin cancer.

Gel Polish Alternatives

If you are currently in need of a break from gel polish, there are plenty of great alternatives you can try on your nails. Our top picks are natural-made polishes or adhesive nail wraps to try in between gel manicures. Natural ingredient polishes will be safer for your nails and keep them looking healthy and strong. We recommend researching polish ingredients before making a purchase that might end up saving your natural nails.

Sally Hansen - Good. Kind. Pure Plant-Based Vegan Nail Polish

Here is a vegan nail polish option from Sally Hansen that will allow your nails to heal between gel sessions. This polish is made with all-natural ingredients and comes in a variety of eye-catching colors.

View this vegan polish on Amazon here.

786 Cosmetics Breathable Vegan Nail Polish

Here is another nail-friendly polish that is both vegan and cruelty-free from 786 Cosmetics. This all-natural nail polish comes in a variety of colors and promises to be high-quality and fast drying.

Click this link to view this product on Amazon.

WOKOTO 20 Sheet Adhesive Nail Wrap

Here we have a self-adhesive nail wrap set from WOKOTO that is a great in-between option for your nails. This set comes with 20 sheets of different colored nail wraps you can try at home without glue or harsh chemicals.

Follow this link to Amazon to check this set-out.

The Wrap Up

Having gel nails is a durable and easy way to keep your hands stylish without a ton of upkeep. It is okay to use regular polish over your gel nails if you wish to switch things up from what we have found. We recommend using a UV or LED drying lamp for your painted nails to ensure they look as smooth and professional as possible. Another tip we discovered would be breaks between gel manicures to keep your natural nails as healthy as possible. Too much of anything can turn a good idea sour, and the same goes for your gel-painted nails.

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