Keeping it simple

Can you use regular nail polish with gel top coat?

Gel nail polish is undoubtedly better than regular nail polish because it is shinier & more durable. So there’s no competition between gel nail polish & regular nail polish. But on the other side, gel nail polish is much costlier than regular nail polish. But what about combining these two types of nail polish? Like using regular nail paint on the base & then gel on the topcoat. Is it right to do? Can you use regular nail polish with gel top coat?

Yes, you can use regular nail polish with a gel top coat & it will even look great, but there’s one thing to focus on. After applying regular nail polish, you should ensure the nail paint is dried & then only apply the gel topcoat. You can even try the gelly sandwich technique. Let’s get to know about all this in detail!

Can you use regular nail polish with gel top coat?

Yes, you can use regular nail polish with a gel topcoat. It even looks very smart because you will save money & get the same look as a complete gel manicure. But this does not always work. Either the topcoat will not stick & even if it does, there’s a chance of fungus developing. 

This will happen because regular manicures take around 20 minutes to dry in the salon, but the solvents in conventional polish take 24 hours to completely dry. If the solvents haven’t dried completely, then applying the topcoat above it will seal the wet polish, resulting in the gel top coat not properly sticking or even fungus infection. 

However, if you properly dry up the regular nail polish & use a good quality nail polish that dries quickly, you can surely use regular nail polish with a gel topcoat. 

Quick Link: how to treat an allergic reaction to gel nail polish

How to use nail polish with gel top coat?

If you don’t know the process of using regular nail polish with a gel topcoat, then don’t worry. Here is the step by step procedure:

  • Buff and clean your nails beforehand to improve the adhesion of the polish.
  • Use a standard nail polish in the color of your choosing to polish your nails.
  • Layers of polish can be added to provide a more vibrant or opaque finish.
  • Let the polish dry for 4-6 hours. Ideally, it takes 24 hours to completely dry.
  • If you are applying multiple layers, you need to dry more time. 
  • Apply a layer of gel topcoat to your nails once they have been allowed to dry completely. The tip of each nail should be brushed from the base of the nail.
  • Now, let the hand sit under UV light or LED light for around 30 seconds to 2 minutes to dry the gel nail polish. 
  • After curing the gel topcoat, a sticky film forms on your nails. Soak a lint-free wipe in 91 percent isopropyl alcohol to remove this layer.

The process is finished; now you have your beautiful nails. These will last for around two weeks. 

Can you use regular nail polish with gel top coat and light? 

Yes, you can use regular nail polish with gel top coat & as you are using gel top coat, then it will need UV light to dry it up. Moreover, you should ensure the base coat should be dried before applying the gel coat. As the wet base will not be great both for your nails & the looks. 

After that, treat the gel topcoat with UV light; it will make it hard & shiny. This combination will last for around 14 days & will not chip or peel easily. 

Remove these mixed polishes by soaking them in warm water. Do not use acetone because the acetone will break down the regular polish and make the nails look dirty.

Can you use regular nail polish with gel base and top coat?

Yes, you can use regular nail polish with a gel base & top coat & it will give more durability to your manicure. Actually, this technique is known as ‘gelly sandwich.” Surely this is going to take some extra time, but it will also stay for a long time. 

Here’s how you can apply ‘gelly sandwich’:

Don't just scroll, subscribe!

BuzzTrail's unique web-stories are the cure for boredom you've been waiting for.

  • Remove shine from your nails and buff them to make gel nail paint adhere better.
  • Remove the polish & nail dust from your buffed nails by wiping them down with an alcohol-soaked wipe.
  • It’s time to apply a thin layer of gel polish foundation to each of your nails, brushing it from the base to the tip.
  • Now cure the base coat under UV light for around 2 minutes & check if it has completely dried. 
  • Now apply one or two layers of regular nail polish. Wait for around 5 minutes to make it dry.
  • After checking the regular nail polish on your nails, apply the topcoat in an even layer. 
  • Cure the top coat under UV light for around 2 minutes. 
  • Voila! Here you have your beautiful nails. 

Can you mix regular nail polish with gel polish?

No, you should not mix regular nail polish & gel nail polish. Because both these nail products are different & require different durations to dry up. So it will not be an excellent option to mix them. 

However, you can use both these nail polishes at once on your nails. For this, either you should use regular nail polish as a base coat & then gel nail polish as a topcoat. 

Or you can use gel nail polish as a base coat & topcoat & regular nail polish in between these coats. This technique is known as ‘gelly sandwich’ & it is more durable & shiny. 

Read Also this: what nail shape looks best on short chubby fingers

How to remove regular nail polish with gel top coat?

Removing the regular nail polish with a gel top coat is easy & it just needs to be placed in warm water. Because gel top coat gel plasticized under LED or UV light. And when you put them in acetone, surely the gel will come off, but the color will not. 

And the color of regular nail polish will mix with acetone, creating colored acetone, which will result in stained hands. 

So the only way to remove the hybrid nail polish is by soaking it in warm water. The warm water will soften up the gel nail paint, resulting in an easy peeling off & removal. 

Here is the process:

  • Remove as much of the gel top coat as you can with a nail file or a nail drill.
  • Now, take warm water in a container where you can completely put your hand in it.
  • In order to soak your hands in the water for 15 minutes, it should be hot enough. However, it shouldn’t be so hot that your skin gets burned.
  • After 15 minutes, peel off the topcoat. 
  • Repeat the same process until the nail polish does not completely come off from the nails.

Can normal nail polish dry under led light?

No, regular nail polish only dries up in the air. Regular nail polish does not need to be cured by a UV or LED light in order to harden, but gel polish must. It’s impossible to apply regular nail polish under UV or LED lighting, and the polish won’t dry any faster either.

Read Also: what can i use instead of nail glue

How to make regular nail polish last like gel?

If you don’t like gel nail paint or have some kind of allergy to it but still want a gel-like finish & shelf-life, then you can still do it with regular nail polish. Here are some tips, which will help you get regular nail polish to last like a gel:

  • Applying only a few thin coats of nail paint may increase the longevity of your manicure.
  • To keep your nails looking their best, you’ll need a no-chip nail paint recipe. It will last longer & won’t chip off like regular nail polish. 
  • For your nails, don’t dry them with hot air, like with your blow-dryer on its highest setting. Instead, dry them with cool air. As it turns out, cool air helps nail paint dry all the way through.
  • It is essential to apply a top coat every two to three days for long-term results.
  • Nail paint on cuticles or skin is possible. Unfortunately, polish does not stick to the skin as well as it does to the nails, causing peeling or chipping. So wipe the nail paint on cuticles as fast as you can. 
  • You can even use cuticle oil or cuticle cream. This will also enhance the life of your regular nail paint. 

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the fusion of regular nail polish with a gel top coat introduces a realm of creative possibilities, offering an enhanced finish and extended wear compared to traditional polish alone. While results may vary, selecting compatible products and following proper application techniques can yield a glossy, resilient manicure.

This technique provides a convenient compromise between the vibrant color options of regular polish and the durability of a gel top coat. Embrace experimentation, exercise caution during application and removal, and relish the opportunity to elevate your nail art game with this innovative combination. Discover the balance between flexibility and longevity in your manicure routine, unlocking a spectrum of hues with a lasting, professional-looking finish.


Can I apply regular nail polish directly over a gel top coat?

No, it’s not recommended. Apply regular polish over the cured gel top coat for the best results.

Do I need a special gel top coat for this technique?

Yes, a compatible gel top coat is essential. Choose one designed to work with traditional polish for optimal adherence and durability.

Can any regular polish be used with a gel top coat?

While many regular polishes work, those specifically labeled as “gel-compatible” may provide better results.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *