Care must be taken before combining different polishes.

One of the questions that people at home with a large collection of their favorite regular polishes is whether they can use them with the new gel polish product.

Regular polish and gel polish can be used together on a nail as long as regular polish is completely dry before gel polish is applied and gel polish has to be completely cured before regular polish can be used. However, the durability or long-lasting shine characteristic of an all-gel nail is greatly reduced.

To find out what will happen to all the possible combinations of these two kinds of polishes and why it is not a good practice to mix and match them, read on.

Can you use regular top coat with gel polish?

Yes, you can. You can put regular top coat over cured gel top coat for a couple of reasons.

After you got your gel manicure done and your gel polish is not shinny for some reasons, you can put regular top coat over your cured gel polish to make it shine again. You can do this because:

  1. You do not gel top coat or
  2. You do not have a LED nail lamp to cure gel top coat.

Regular top coat over gel polish is a quick way to make your gel polish shine until your next gel manicure. Just remember that regular top coat need to be air dry and will not last or keep its shine as long as gel top coat does.

Quick tip: make sure you wash your gel nails to remove all the oily substances like cuticle oil or lotion before applying regular top coat, and use a heater fan or a hairdryer at low speed and low temperature settings to dry your top coat for 5 minutes. Your nails will look shiny again.

Regular base coat with gel polish and topcoat

A regular base coat is inferior to a gel base coat and will not stay on the natural nails for up to three weeks.

If a regular base coat is used, it will detach from the nail surface in about a week’s time and taking all the gel polish layers on top with it.

This will cause the gel polish to peel, chip or the whole piece of gel polish to come off prematurely.

Furthermore, the regular base coat has to be completely air dry before the gel color polish can even be applied. This drying step can take up to 20 minutes and will increase the total time it takes for you to do a gel manicure. 

From these two disadvantages in durability and time spend, it is not a good idea to use a regular base coat in your gel manicure.

If you do not have a gel base coat, using a gel top coat as a base coat makes more sense than using a regular one.

Regular color polish with gel base coat and gel topcoat

If regular color polish is applied on top of a gel basecoat, it also needs to be air-dried completely for 20 minutes so a gel topcoat can be applied. Otherwise, this regular polish will never be dry and it will cause the gel topcoat to peel or slide off the nails.

Even though if the regular polish is air-dried and the gel topcoat will stay on the nail for three weeks, this regular polish will dissolve with acetone as the nail is soaked off or wrapped up in acetone and this acetone plus color will stain the cuticle and the surrounding skin. In the end, it will require extra time to remove the stain from the fingernail.

So even if a regular color polish is successfully used with a gel nail, the nuisance it creates during gel polish removal negates the usefulness of this option.

Regular topcoat with a gel base coat and gel color

Using a regular top coat on top of a gel nail is a good option when gel topcoat is not available. Keep in mind though, regular topcoat does not have the durability and long-lasting shine of gel top coat and it will get dull and wear out sooner.

The good use of this option is if for some reason, the gel topcoat on a nail gets dull and there is no gel topcoat or LED lamp available, the regular topcoat can be used. Make sure the regular topcoat has time to air dry or it will be smudged.

Since there is no regular color is used, the skin and cuticles will not be stained during the soak-off or wrapping removal process.

Regular nail polish on top of a gel polished nail after one week

This option is for people who have had gel manicure for a week or two and now they want to have a new shade of color without having to go through all the steps of removing the old gel polish or they might do not have access to gel color polishes or a LED lamp.

First wash the nails with water and soap, let dry and wipe these nails with alcohol if it is available.

Lightly roughen up the gel topcoat with a nail buffer if it is available.

Start polishing all the nails in a typical manner, apply regular top coat and let them dry for 15 minutes or longer.

One thing to keep in mind that when it is time for the gel polish to be removed, the regular polish must be wiped off first before the soaking off or wrapping up the gel nail polish. Otherwise, the regular color will dissolve in the acetone and will stain the cuticles and surrounding skin.

Using regular polish with gel polish in general is not a good thing

In summary, now you know why it is not beneficial to combine the use of regular polish products with gel polish one because you will generally spend more time to work on your nails and trying to remove the gel polish later.

Regular polish can be used to design nail arts on gel polish

One way that you can use regular colors on gel polish is by doing nail arts on gel polish. Gel color polish does have a limited variety of different colors. So if you find a regular color that you like to use to create designs, do so. Keep in mind that these designs should contain a little amount of regular color or you will run into a problem of trying to remove the stain it creates on your nails and skin when you remove gel polish with acetone later.

Related questions:

What is the best way to remove gel polish? The quickest and cleanest way to remove gel polish is with the use of finger cots. They securely hold the acetone in a piece of cotton on top of the gel nails. This way, your hands and fingers are more functional and you can move around instead of sitting in front of an acetone bowl or can not use your fingers if they are wrapped in aluminum foil. Your can learn how to do it in this next article.Opens in a new tab.

6 reasons why gel polish does not last on your nails? The problem of gel polish does not last long on the nails can be traced back to one of three main areas in gel polish application: the gel nail equipment might be weak or faulty, the gel polish is not completely cured and how a person prepares the nail surface and improper application. Learn more about it in this article.Opens in a new tab.

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