Changing Your Gel Nail Color Without Removing Them First


    You know that feeling when you look into the mirror after getting a haircut, and you smile through gritted teeth at your hairdresser, pretending you like it. You walk out of the salon and immediately think about solutions to remedy your hair situation and fix it.

    Unfortunately, these things can happen to more than just hair. We can easily walk out of the nail salon only to find that we regret our choice of nail color. And even if you love your new gel nail manicure, you may sometimes wish to switch up the color for an event to match your outfit or paint over existing gel polish with a new color because you’re getting bored of your manicure. Either way, here’s everything you need to know about changing your gel nail color without soaking them off first.

    What is a Gel Manicure?

    Gel nail polish is different from classic nail polish in many different ways. Because the liquid gel formula and curing process lasts longer than the traditional nail polish and is less prone to chipping. It’s an excellent manicure option if you want a nail polish that will stay flawless and chip-free for the next two weeks or more, depending on how you take care of it. But because it lasts long, applying it also takes a longer process. If you want to know how to apply it at home, learn about it here .  

    Another downside with gel manicures is that it’s not as easy as classic nail polish to remove. You may need to run to the salon to have it removed or remove it yourself using the soaking or tinfoil method. So, if you want a quick color change, painting over a new polish is the most convenient option.

    Painting Over Gel Nails using Regular Nail Polish

    The easiest way to change your gel nail color is to use regular nail polish to paint on top. There’s no real downside to it – the only thing you would consider is how it may affect the aesthetics of your nails. But if you’re pretty skilled in applying nail polish due to experience, then you would have no problem!

    Painting over your gel nails will allow you to switch to a different color or style without going through the process of removing the gel manicure. In this case, the gel becomes the base coat.

    With gel manicure already on your nails, you need to be careful not to layer up on polish too much that you’d end up with thick nails that will look bulky and strange. Also, you need to paint directly over the existing gel polish. If you don’t paint right to the edges, the color underneath will show, and it will look messy.

    The upside with using regular nail polish over gel manicure is that you can bring it back whenever you want it to! Just use acetone-free nail polish remover so that you won’t break down the gel manicure underneath. If done carefully and well, it should look like there was no polish applied on top in the first place.

    You can do this about three to four times – any more than that can soften the gel polish underneath. This would be a sign that you have to remove the gel manicure completely.

    Painting Over Gel Nails with Another Gel Polish

    Sometimes, it’s just normal to feel differently about your gel nails. If you got tired of the color – and even end up hating it – you probably wished you settled for the usual nail polish instead because that’s easier to remove. But if you don’t have the time to undergo the long process of removing it and applying a new gel polish again, you can paint gel polish on top of your original gel manicure. Think of it as a gel-ception!

    If you choose to go this path, be warned. There isn’t much chance of salvaging the original polish underneath because you always need acetone to remove gel polish, unlike if you cover it with traditional nail polish. If you try to remove the color that you used to paint over, the acetone will affect both layers. So, before doing this, make sure that you definitely want to get rid of the original gel color because you won’t be able to get it back.

    Once you have decided to paint over your gel nails with another gel polish, you will need to undergo the same process – you need to cure the polish under a UV or LED nail lamp for every layer of polish you will apply to lock it in place. Also, this works best if you will be using a darker color than your old gel polish. If you try to use a lighter color, you might need more coatings to completely cover your old gel polish. This will make your nails much thicker, which can feel heavy on your nails.

    To prep, your gel polish-covered nails for another gel nail polish, gently buff the topcoat to remove the shine from the entire nail. Use a nail file to blend the gel down carefully. Be careful and hold your file parallel to the nail, and make sure you’re only buffing on the gel and not your nails. If you angle your file, you may risk filing your natural nails, which can cause damage and thinning. You may also want to buff off any nail art or glitter that you previously applied.

    Once you’re done, follow the instructions on this tutorial so you can refresh your old gel manicure with a new one

    Refreshing your gel nails with another gel polish can save you time and give you a longer-lasting fix if you don’t like your existing gel polish anymore. As long as you buff them down a little bit, they won’t end up too thick. But it’s best to do this only once, though, and then remove it all the next time. Otherwise, your nails will end up too thick and bulky, and you may start to get problems with lifting or peeling. It may also affect the health of your nails if it’s covered in too many layers already.

    Tips to Alter your Gel Nail Color without Completely Changing It

    If you still like the color and just want to try something new, you can be creative and make some “remedies” to your existing gel manicure without completely painting all over it. Here are some ideas:

    1. Paint a different color on one or two nails.

    Using either regular or gel nail polish, find a color that you like that can also go well with your existing gel manicure. Paint a different color on one or two nails to refresh your look.

    2. Add some gel glitters on top.

    Glitters can soften the new gel color and create some sparkling effects to liven up the look. There are several kinds of glitters: coarse or fine, silver or gold, or colored glitters. Pick one that you like and what you think will go best on your new gel color. Make sure you try it out on one nail before doing it in all of them. You may also try to add gel glitters partially, like only on the tips, diagonally, curved from the cuticle while fading out to the tip – any style you prefer!

    3. Put some nail art.

    Another quick fix to alter your gel manicure without changing it completely is putting designs on some of your nails. It can move your attention away from the color to the designs themselves. You can add crystals, rhinestones, nail tape, nail stickers, or actual art using nail polish. But if you’re in a rush, you may want to go for simpler ones because if you choose elaborate nail arts, you will spend more time than getting it removed.


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