What are Overlay Nails – Gel and Acrylic Difference, Overlay Nails Designs

What is Overlay Nails?

Overlay nails are a great way to express your creativity, and they can create a fashionable look by combining multiple designs and colors of nail polish. This nail art style is unique because it allows you to “overlay” different designs, creating an eye-catching and unique effect on each nail. Do you want to deploy overlay nails? First, choose the colors and designs that you wish to combine to create an overlay nail look, then select one color or design for your base layer and the other for the top layer.

Benefits of Overlay Nails

  1. It is made from thin layers of acrylic or gel that have been applied to natural nails.
  2. It obviously Increases the length of your nails, hence boosting your confidence.
  3. Overlay nails have proven to last up to 6 weeks.
  4. Do you have fragile nails that tend to break easily? Overlay nails are the solution.
  5. It Protects your natural nails against further damage.
  6. You can have longer, more fashionable nails without waiting for natural hair growth.

How to apply Overlay Nails to Your Natural Nails

Overlay nails are applied directly on top of the natural nails and come in a variety of designs and colors. You can make a statement with a bold hue or choose one that is more subtle; there is a wide selection of choices there. Before you start, check out our advice on how to apply overlay nails, step by step guide:

  1. Confirm that your natural nails are in the best possible condition prior to application.
  2. File or trim your nails to the desired shape and ensure a uniform nail surface.
  3. Make sure you clean nails thoroughly to eliminate oil, dirt, or other substances
  4. Choose the right dimension and form for every nail.
  5. Apply overlays using the correct technique directed by a specialist.
  6. Give it enough time to dry completely.
  7. Avoid exposure to chemicals that could cause harm or damage.
  8. Regularly scheduled maintenance and repairs for optimal appearance and performance.

Types of Overlay Nails You Should Try

what is overlay nails

Overlay nails are synthetic nails that are put on natural nails, providing them with a stronger and longer-lasting look. However, various sizes, shapes, and designs provide various advantages over traditionally used manicures. 

The most commonly used type of nail that is used for overlays is acrylics. These artificial nails are composed of a mixture of powder and liquid sprayed over natural nails; now, this kind of nail has become popular among those who want long-lasting nails since they last a long time without needing to be replaced, unlike its counterpart.

Overall, overlay nails provide the perfect opportunity to have longer and more fashionable nails without waiting for natural growth.

Two Major Types of Overlay Nails;

  1. Acrylic Overlay Nails
  2. Gel Overlay Nails

Acrylic overlay nails

acrylic nails
acrylic nails

Acrylic overlay nails can be used to enhance the appearance of your natural nails. They can be applied on top of the natural nail to give it a shiny, strong, and smooth surface.

This involves applying an acrylic powder or liquid directly to the natural nails, creating a smooth surface. Acrylics are also colored or decorated to fit your design, which makes them a popular and versatile alternative. 

How to Care for Acrylic Overlay Nails

Care instructions for acrylic overlay nails:

Regular cleaning and drying:
  • Ensure to use mild soap and warm water.
  • Rinse thoroughly, then dry using a soft, lintless towel.
  • Use a nailbrush or another piece of equipment to remove dirt or debris from the tips of your nails
Avoid doing anything that could cause harm or damage:
  • Avoid excessive heat, chemicals, or water exposure
  • Avoid tedious work that can pose a threat to the nails.
Use gentle, nourishing products:
  • Avoid harsh products if possible.
  • For nails and skin to stay hydrated, apply a nourishing cuticle oil/hand cream regularly.
Professional maintenance:
  • Schedule appointments with a specialist every 2-3 weeks to retain the nail’s beauty and rigidity.
  • Reapply the new acrylic layer if needed, and remove chipping or lifting.

By following these steps, you can ensure your acrylic overlay nails last a long time.

Benefits of Acrylic Overlay Nails

acrylic overlay nails
acrylic overlay nails
  1. When it comes to durability, this acrylic overlay is the best because they last a long time. They last about 6-7 weeks. However, you will need to fill them in every 2-3 weeks, depending on how long your nails grow.
  2. Make your nails look thicker, hence boosting confidence and self-esteem.
  3. Acrylic nails tend to be less expensive than other forms of overlay nails because they require low maintenance, and their products are competitive, hence less expensive.

Gel Overlay Nails

Gel nails are a type of overlay nails that has this fashionable look when applied to the natural nail. However, they barely last for weeks, unlike acrylic nails.

Because they require no frequent visits to the salon, they are popular among beauty professionals and nail technicians. Gel overlays are made from a special plastic that is flexible and long-lasting.

gel nails
gel nails

The gel overlay is applied to the nail and then dried using an LED or ultraviolet light. The curing process creates a strong bond between your natural nails and the gel overlay. It is difficult to remove.

Gel nails are renowned for their durability and shine. They are also favored because of their natural appearance. However, both gel and acrylic nails require proper maintenance and application to keep them looking beautiful and working correctly. Regularly applying touch-ups and filling chips or gaps can prolong the life of your nails and help prevent any further damage to the natural nails. 

How to Apply Gel Overlay Nails

Gel overlay nails can be complex when applied because It requires several specialized tools. But, it is possible to master the technique with just a little practice.

Preparation and Paint

Make sure your nails are free of dirt and debris before applying gel overlays. You can file your nails, buff them for a few minutes, and apply a protective base coat to prevent staining.

Use a gel cleaner to clean the nail surface; after cleaning the surface thoroughly, apply the gel overcoat in thin layers. Each layer should be dried under a UV light for at least 30 minutes. You can continue this process until the desired level is reached.

Apply the Gel

The second step is to apply the gel. You will need a lint-free wipe, cuticle pusher, and cuticle remover, as well as a gel polish, base coat, top coat, and gel polish. First, push back any excess cuticle off your nails with the cuticle pusher and remove it. Next, clean your nails with a lint-free cloth.


It is recommended that you finish your manicure with a topcoat after completing the application. It will protect the gel against any scratches or chips and will keep the color looking fresher for longer.

It acts as a protective layer and helps preserve the gel’s shine and durability; hence Apply the topcoat by brushing it on the gel layer in small, even strokes. Then, cure the topcoat under the UV lamp for the required time.

You can then wipe off any sticky residue with a lint-free wipe. Topcoats can extend the life of gel manicures and help keep nails vibrant and beautiful for many weeks.

How to Take care of Gel Overlay Nails

gel overlay nails
gel overlay nails

You will need to put extra effort into making sure that your gel overlay nails are as durable as possible. Learn these tips to make the most of your gel over nails. 

  1. A healthy base is the first step. Before applying any gel, make sure your nails and cuticles remain strong and moisturized. This will ensure your gel overlay lasts longer and sticks properly, and You should also avoid using too much acetone in nail cleaning. This can cause your nails to lose their natural oils, which are necessary to protect and maintain their health.
  2. Try and avoid overexposure to chemicals or water, as these can weaken the gel and make it easier to chip. Make sure you dry your hands thoroughly after washing them, and avoid soaking them for long periods. Gloves are recommended to protect your nails when you use household cleaners or other harsh chemicals.
  3. You should use proper curing techniques and times for gel application. You can reduce the longevity of your manicure by either under-curing or over-curing the gel. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Before applying the next layer, cure the previous one thoroughly.
  4. Repair chipping or cracks as soon you notice them to prevent further damage. This will preserve your gel overlay’s appearance and help prolong its lifespan.
  5. Lastly, remove your gel overlay immediately if it begins to peel off or lift. If you continue wearing a damaged overlay on your natural nails, it can cause them to become weaker and more tolerant to breakage. Hence, it’s advisable to use acetone, a buffer, and a nail file to remove the gel. Be careful not to harm your natural nails, if possible, consult a specialist to help you out.

These tips will help ensure your gel overlay lasts as long and your nails look beautiful and healthy.

Difference Between Acrylic Overlay Nails and Gel Overlay Nails

Acrylic overlay nails or gel overlay nails can be used to enhance the natural appearance of your nails. The biggest question is, what are the main differences between Acrylic overlay nails and Gel Nails?

  1. Application: Gel overlay nails can be applied using an ultraviolet light or LED, while acrylic overlay nails combine or mix different chemicals between a liquid and a powder.
  2. Appearance: Gel overlay nails appear shiny and natural, while acrylic overlay nails tend to have a matte finish and are often thicker.
  3. Durability: Gel overlay nails last longer than acrylic but are more susceptible to chipping; meanwhile, Acrylic overlay nails can last longer but may become yellowed over time and are more susceptible to cracking.
  4. Acetone can be used to remove gel overlay nails, while acrylic overlay nails require a more complex process that could be harmful to natural nails or even damage them.
  5. Maintenance: Gel overlay nails must be maintained regularly, including filling-ins and touch-ups. Acrylic overlay nails can be less cared for but will need to be removed and reapplied every so often.

With the difference above, it’s certain that Gel Overlay nails are the best for you.

Three Overlay Nail Designs you should try

Whether acrylic or gel, overlay nails offer opportunities to create your own nail designs. Here are some popular designs:

natural nail overlay
  1. French Manicure: This classic style is characterized by a neutral base and a white tip. It’s a simple yet sophisticated look, perfect for gel nails.
  2. Glitter: A glitter overlay adds sparkle to nails; they can either be used as a full-coverage or accent nail to add sparkle to your manicure. Perfect for Acrylic nail and overlay nails.
  3. Ombre: Blend two or more colors together to create a gradient effect. To create Ombre, you can use a sponge or a paintbrush to blend the colors.


The overlay nail is a great way to make your nails unique and fashionable; it is very easy to apply, and you can personalize it in many ways using different finishes and decorations. If taken care of, the overlay nails will last many weeks(5-9). However, it’s important to follow the right procedures for application as well as removal. Overall, overlay nails can give you some glamour for a fraction of the cost.

Originally posted 2023-02-02 20:14:51.

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