Can You Paint Over Gel Nail Polish? Here’s What to Do!

15 Nov.,2022


can you air dry gel nail polish

December 16, 2019

You’re ready to go out with your besties to hit up the town, here come the girls! You’re rocking your newest must-have outfit and looking totally glam!

But wait... what’s happened to that fabulous gel manicure you had? Far too busy getting ready to notice that beautiful classic red you chose which looks totally amazing with your black dress is starting to chip!

Help! What do you do? So there’s no time to do a complete re manicure as your Uber will be arriving in an hour! So you may be wondering, can you simply just paint over your gel nails for a quick fix? Here’s where we can tell you all the answers you need to know...

Let’s take a look below to find out the quick answer as to whether you can grab another polish and just paint and go! 

Can I paint over gel nails? it’s ok to repaint your gel nails with either another gel polish or a more traditional air-dried polish. Make sure if you are using gel polish, that you cure your nails under our recommended lamp for the recommended time. Follow our tips below to keep your gel manicure as long-lasting as possible.

Now we’ve seen the short answer as to whether you can avert a possible nail polish chip disaster, let’s take a closer look at some of the important aspects of a gel manicure, so we can work out if it’s ok to paint over them if we chipped a nail or even if we simply want to change the colour!

Chipping a perfectly good manicure, especially before a big night out is not going to help our calm mood!

Most people are doing all kinds of daily activities which can chip and ruin your manicure, such as opening packages, cleaning with detergents, using a laptop ...and that’s before we get to general wear and tear on your manicure!

A gel manicure is a really long-lasting kind of manicure and is the choice for many given its durability and extra wear and tear it can survive, unlike a regular polish. We all try to stretch that manicure to last as long as possible! But how long does a gel manicure usually last? 

How long does a gel manicure last? 

According to experts, a gel nail polish should last from between two to three weeks whereas a regular nail polish may begin to chip after five to seven days, less if you’re regularly dipping your hands in detergent or any other kind of extra wear and tear.

So now we’ve understood a little about how long a gel manicure should last, let’s see whether you can get your manicure back on track with a slick new paint job. 

Can I repaint over gel nails with gel nail polish? 

First of all, before you can decide if it’s ok to paint over your gel nails, it’s important to understand whether you have had a gel manicure or an acrylic manicure. 

What’s the difference between a gel manicure and an acrylic manicure? 

There is an important difference between a gel manicure and an acrylic manicure. 

  • Acrylic or polymer nails are made with a powder dipped in solvent, which solidifies over the nail. The finished shape can be whichever you prefer, for example, oval, rounded, or a squarer look. The main difference between acrylic and gel nails is that acrylics are usually finished in a clear or more natural finish - to emulate a french polished or




  • A manicure with a finished gel nail gloss is created by using the chemical, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), which is solidified using ultraviolet light after the gel nail polish has been painted on. A gel manicure will be finished with a gorgeous gel polish shade such as from our

    best sellers


So now you’re ready to give your nails a little spruce up before your big night, let’s take a look below at some great steps to follow.

How to prep your gel manicure for a


  • Gently buff off the top coat and remove the shine from the entire nail. If any of your gel has lifted at all, use a pair of cuticle nippers to clip it off and remove it.

  • Take a 180 grit file to carefully blend the gel down into your natural nail and remove the ridge that was created by your original gel polish. Make sure you hold your file parallel to the nail and take care that you’re only filing the gel and not your actual nail! In case you accidentally angle your file into your nail.

  • At this point, you may also wish to buff off any glitter or nail art that you applied on your previous gel manicure.

  • Take your new gel colour and refresh your nails, taking care not to go too near your cuticle 

  • If you’re over-painting with gel polish, make sure you follow the recommendations for curing the gel under your chosen lamp,

    this lamp is perfect

    for this job.

  • If you’re painting over your gel manicure with a normal type of polish, you won’t need to cut your nails, but make sure you leave enough time for the polish to dry between coats and your topcoat.

So now you’ve seen if you’re able to simply paint and go! Let’s look at some of the reasons you may feel the need to paint over your gel nails and things you might want to check before you do your gel manicure to make sure your gel nail manicure is lasting as long as it possibly can. 

  • Improper curing times

    Gels may appear as if they are glossy and hard when you’ve cured them for as little as half as the manufacturers suggested curing times, but in order for them to remain as long-lasting and chip-free as possible, they need to be cured for at least  90% for optimal durability and longevity.

  • Improper positioning under lamp 

    Are your hands positioned correctly under your curing lamp? Make sure you aren’t cramping up your fingers and that they’re totally flat under your lamp in order to maximise the full capacity of the curing process, keeping your manicure much longer-lasting and chip-free 

  • Pristine nail surface,

    make sure your hands are scrupulously clean before you start your manicure as any bits of debris can find their way into your gel polish, which will encourage chipping and may well be the reason your gel polish is chipping. wash their hands before a manicure. Make sure your nails have an uber smooth surface and any flakes of skin or old polish are completely removed. As you’re painting your gel, make sure you correct any flakes or drips.

  • Peeling nails.

    Check your nails are in good health before a gel manicure. The gel is there to beautify only and not to fix any problems you may have with your overall nail health. 

  • Damaged nails.

    Make sure you don’t pick or peel any of your original gel manicures as nails which have been abused in this way, will struggle to bond with the gel polish and may result in a manicure that chips and doesn’t last the usual length of time a gel manicure should.

So if you’ve got a little more time to remove your old gel polish and would like to take your time to take off your old gel colour before applying another gel top coat, take a look at the tips below. 

How can I remove old gel polish? 

  • Gently file the top of the polish to remove the shine, which allows the acetone to penetrate and dissolve the gel easier.

  • Soak cotton balls in acetone (a chemical commonly used in gel nail polish removal), apply a cotton ball to each nail, and wrap it in tin foil.

  • Leave the wraps on for 10 to 15 minutes, and then, using a wooden cuticle pusher, gently push the gel off of the nail plates.

  • To finish, lightly buff the surface of the nail with a buffing tool, and apply oil to your nails and cuticles to rehydrate

    Alternatively, you can get now purchase Bluesky’s pre-soaked

    acetone wraps here

And finally… 

Making sure you keep your nails and hands healthy and keeping away from negative habits such as picking, peeling or even using your nails as tools! (we’ve all used them to pick at something we shouldn’t! ) Should ensure a long life of your lovely, glossy gel manicure.

And make sure you don’t have to do a mid manicure refresh. If you’re looking for a beautiful range of gorgeous gel colours for either your main manicure or an in-between touch-up, be sure you check out our store.


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