Home Nails Can You Paint Over PolyGel Nails?

Can You Paint Over PolyGel Nails?

by Gabbi

Going to your local salon for a manicure is not the same process as it once was. There are so many new innovations and styles for nails now that it can be hard to decide what to choose.

Over the past few years, gel manicures have become a staple for regular nail salon-goers and acrylic sets have had a resurgence for long and stylized shapes, but most recently there has been an increase in popularity for PolyGel nails.

Playing with nail design and shape can be a fun way to incorporate something new into your look. Whether you want to keep your nails sleek and natural, or want to enhance them through length and shape, PolyGel nails allow you the opportunity to branch out more than ever through their flexible, yet durable, appearance.

However, with all the excitement that comes from treating yourself to a fresh manicure, comes the pressure of picking the right nail polish shade.

With all the options available from subtle to bold, matte to glitter, it can be a daunting task to commit to a specific shade for at least two weeks. If you choose to try out PolyGel nails, will you be able to paint over them once they’re on?

Can you polish over PolyGel nails? Yes, you can put polish over PolyGel nails. Below we discuss what PolyGel nails are, what are the benefits, how long they last, and most importantly what types of nail polish are best to paint them with.

Knowing you can paint over your PolyGel nails in between salon visits should add ease to your decision the next time you go to select a shade.

What Are PolyGel Nails?

Essentially, PolyGel nails are a hybrid between a typical gel manicure and an acrylic set. PolyGel nail extensions are nail enhancers that have the benefits of gel and acrylic but are easier on the wear and tear of your natural nail and do not have all the harsh chemicals of acrylics.

PolyGel is a substance that mixes acrylic powder along with clear gel, to be applied to the natural nail and shaped accordingly. PolyGel often comes in a clear, pink, or white bases.

If you’re considering doing your own PolyGel nails, here’s a great tutorial from Jessica Angelique Matini on YoutTube.

Benefits Of PolyGel Nails

Being a hybrid between gel and acrylic, PolyGel offers the ease and flexibility of a gel manicure and the sturdiness of an acrylic.

During the application process they are also cured, or dried, with the use of an LED light. By curing the nails with an LED light, PolyGel also offer the durability of a hard gel or acrylic nail.

PolyGel can be made to simply overlay and follow the shape of your natural nail or can be used with nail formers to create an extended appearance. Through lengthening the nail with the extensions, you can branch out to try different shapes and styles, similarly to an acrylic set. 

However, unlike the harsh chemicals that are used and released during the application process of acrylic nails, PolyGel do not require any harsh chemicals and does not release any airborne dust that occurs during the drilling process of an acrylic set.

PolyGel also feel light on the nails, which provides the comfort of a typical gel manicure. The added benefit of PolyGel over regular gel is that no damage is done to the natural nail by drilling and scraping the gel off in between sets.

Can You Paint Over PolyGel Nails?

Yes, PolyGel are easy to paint over. After the PolyGel substance is cured under the LED light, you can choose to paint the nail with regular nail polish or a gel polish.

If you select to use a gel polish, each layer will also be cured under either the LED light or a UV light to ensure longevity.

Keep in mind that the PolyGel nail substance can also come in several shades from clear to neutral shades in the pink family. You can always wear PolyGel nails as they are and decide to paint over them with a traditional polish color at a later time.

If you’re interested in applying polish over PolyGel nails, here’s a great tutorial from Nails By Vic on YouTube.

What Polishes Are Best To Use?

Because you can paint PolyGel with either standard nail polish or with gel polish, knowing your desired results will help you to decide what is best to use. Professional nail technicians advise on applying gel polish over the PolyGel nails, as gel polish generally has a longer wear time than regular polish.

If you do not want to commit to the color choice for the duration of your PolyGel manicure, choosing to color your nails with traditional polish is the way to go! You have the freedom to switch up your nail color as often as you like, while still receiving all the benefits PolyGel has to offer.

If you do choose to paint your PolyGel nails with traditional polish, applying a clear top coat of gel polish first and curing it under an LED or UV light will help maintain the PolyGel nails underneath.

Also, another aspect to be mindful of is switching the polish out frequently, even using a non-acetonic remover, can eventually cause the PolyGel nail to wear down and can shorten its overall longevity.

Choosing to apply a gel polish over a PolyGel nail set will give you the ultimate wear time but are harder to paint over with regular polish. 

As a general tip, if you are trying to stretch out time between nail appointments, choosing colors that are light and neutral, such as a natural pink, will help disguise the nail’s grow out.

How Long Do PolyGel Nails Last?

Another major benefit to PolyGel nails is their longevity. Typically, PolyGel can last around three to four weeks, depending on your lifestyle, nail length, day-to-day activities, and how quickly your natural nails grow out overall.

Similarly to an acrylic set, when it is time for your nails to be refreshed they usually only require a fill. A fill adds additional PolyGel to the space where the nail has grown out and is overlayed over the remainder of the nail.

A completely new set is usually not needed every time, and you can always ask your nail technician when is best to have a fresh set put on.

Can You Apply PolyGel Nails at Home?

It is definitely possible for you to apply PolyGel nails at home! If you want to experiment with this new nail treatment on your own, there are simple steps to follow in order for you to achieve your perfect manicure.

After the standard treatment of shaping your natural nail into your desired shape and cleaning up any errant cuticles, clean the nail of any excess debris or oils with a nail cleaner or acetone remover. Apply your gel base coat or nail primer as specified by the PolyGel brand and cure with the LED light.

When you are ready to add the PolyGel, do so using a small pea-sized amount to the base of the nail. Then using a slip solution and a small brush, you are able to spread and shape the PolyGel to overlay your natural nail. If you want to add length to your natural nails, nail formers would be required for this step.

Once you reach the desired shape, cure the nail under the LED light. Complete any remaining filing or shaping to ensure nails are even. You can then add a gel polish top coat and cure under the light again and be done here.

However, if you decide you want to add more color or are daring enough to add a design, you can paint over the top coat with your traditional polish. If you opt for recreating an entire nail salon level experience at home, you could apply your desired gel polish, curing in between steps for the ultimate wear time.

How To Remove PolyGel Nails

Rather than the harsh drilling that comes with acrylics, or the harmful scraping that comes with gel polish, PolyGel nails are often removed by being buffed off or filed down.

Nail technician will often buff the PolyGel down until there is minimal product left, and then the remaining can often be soaked off with an acetone remover.

If you cannot get to a salon, or you are doing PolyGel at home, you can also use the buffing method to remove the nails.

If you have PolyGel that are extensions, it is easiest if you clip or file the nail down first to your natural nail and then proceed with buffing off the remainder.

To complete the removal with acetone, you can place a cotton ball soaked in the remover, lay it on top of the nail and wrap with aluminum foil, let sit for about 10 minutes, and then remove.


With all the benefits of PolyGel nails, it seems to be the next nail advancement to stay. By allowing you the comfort and ease of a gel manicure, along with the longevity and durability of an acrylic set, you can change up your nail styles with ease.

PolyGel nails are a relatively safe treatment to add to your natural nail compared to some other styles on the market. 

Most of all, having the option to paint over your PolyGel nail set in between visits is just an added bonus to choosing your new style of manicure!

Related Articles

What Do You Need For Polygel Nails?

Best Polygel Nail Kits With Lamps

Can You Put PolyGel Over Acrylic?

You may also like

Leave a Comment