Written by Gel Nails

What Is Gel Overlay – Everything Explained

The gel is among the most recent nail trends that have taken the world by storm. There are so many different gel fingernails to pick from that it’s not easy to know where to start.

Gel overlay is one of the most common types you’ll see. But what precisely is this? How long do they last? How much do they cost? Continue reading to get all the answers regarding stunning gel overlays.


  • What is gel overlay?
  • Gel Polish Vs. Gel Overlay
  • Can You Get Gel Overlay On Short Nails?
  • How Long Does Gel Overlay Last?
  • What Is Better Gel Or Acrylic Overlay?
  • Is gel overlay good for your nails?
  • Is Gel Overlay Better Than Shellac?
  • Pros And Con Of Gel Overlay
  • Cost Of Gel Overlay
  • How Is Gel Overlay Done On Natural Nails?
  • Gel Overlay Kit For Beginners
  • How gel overlay is removed at home?
  • Should you consider getting gel overlay?

What Is Gel Overlay?

Overlay means applying product or laying product on your natural nails without using forms or tips. Basically overlay doesn’t involve any kind of artificial extension.

A gel overlay is where the gel is put directly over the natural nail to shape and structure it. It doesn’t lengthen or expand the nail, as with artificial nails.

Instead, gel overlay creates an incredibly natural, clean, and simple appearance. On fingernails, it eliminates the need for plastic or other extensions by putting the gel straight to the original nail.

Best Part No Plastic:

The fake nail portion is not applicable in overlays over natural nails. The nail form instead depends on your actual nails. 

It is an excellent choice for any woman who wants a clean manicure or who does not want to use synthetic nails due to the potential for injury or simply doesn’t prefer plastic.

They won’t go beyond the tip of your natural nails, but they can help mold them into something more appealing. Your salon would most likely use a hard gel for it if done using a gel. After that, you may go ahead and decorate them as you like.

Difference Between Gel Polish And Gel Overlay

Within the Gel system, there are 3 main types of manicure – Gel polish, Gel extensions, and gel overlay. Gel extensions are nothing but gel overlay with tips or forms. Here we will discuss the difference between gel polish and gel overlay in detail.

Gel Polish:

Gel polish is like your regular polish but better. It is sturdier and long-lasting. It needs UV or Led Light to cure. You might wonder why applying a manicure just like your old mani and how beneficial is gel polish?

Yes, gel polishes are more expensive than regular polish but it is apt when you have a long trip and don’t have the time to touch up your nails. As regular nail polishes are chip prone, gel polish can last for weeks without chipping.

Anyone can apply gel polish easily and have more beautiful, sturdy, and durable nails.

Gel Polish Vs. Gel Overlay

Hard gel is nearly always used to create overlays, whereas soft gel polish is used for creating gel nails. Soft gel is more straightforward to remove than hard gel since it lasts longer. Overlays can contour the nail, whereas polish does not.

Both gel polish and overlay are popular and receive a lot of positive publicity. However, there is a significant distinction between the two. Gel polish is exactly what it says on the tin: it’s polish.

While it lasts longer than most regular polishes, it doesn’t enable you to sculpt your nails as well as an overlay. For the most part, Gel polishes employ a “soft gel.” It is, therefore, more porous and will not last as long.

Applying Gel Polish On Natural Nails

However, there is one advantage: you can remove the soft gel from the saturated solution, which is impossible with hard gel.

Gel nail polish is also a lot easier to work with at home. Gel overlays are virtually always hard gel to help them survive longer and have much more structure. It implies that soaking them will most likely fail.

It’s preferable to get them removed in a salon, but you may also file them up at home if required. However, it can be tiresome. But the excellent form it offers you and the time among salon sessions will make up for it.

As you can see, the differences between gel polish and gel overlays are significant. And the option you select can have a significant impact on the experience you have.

Can You Get Gel Overlay On Short Nails?

Because gel overlays are an extra coating on top of the natural nails instead of an extended version of your fingernails, they act as a protective barrier, preventing splits, breakages, and other wear and tear.

Gel overlays are highly effective for persons who have fragile or short nails due to nail development difficulties or chronic nail-biting.

As a result, overlays allow you to break up the pattern of your short nails and revitalize them with your favorite pattern and color. Gel overlays are the best option for those who have short, broken nails, and they may also make short nails look longer.

How Long Does Gel Overlay Last?

What happens when you’ve got your gel overlays? How long do you think they’ll last? Are you able to keep things looking beautiful for a little longer?

Gel overlays usually last 2-4 weeks if done appropriately, safeguarded, and carefully cared for. While gel overlays on natural nails are often more long-lasting than regular nail paint, they only just beat out traditional extensions in terms of duration.

Depending on how carefully you take care of your nails and how kind you are with them, they should last two to four weeks.

The less money you spend on its application, the less they’ll last after they’re in place. There are specific things you could do to help them live longer. These may make or break the appearance of your overlay.

📌Stay Away From Hot Water

The first is to stay as far away from hot water as possible. While you can’t technically soak overlays to remove them, repeated exposure to hot water will loosen them and ruin the aesthetic you’re hoping for. So, whether cleaning the dishes or showering, try to use gloves. Use lukewarm water if you can’t avoid getting your hands wet.

📌Stay Away From Chemicals

You should avoid chemicals should at all costs. Whether it’s an overlay or a polish, cleaning solutions may be very harsh on the gel. They can cause discoloration, thinning, chipping, and various other issues. So, if you’re working with severe chemicals, get those gloves out again! You’ll be safeguarding your skin and nails.

📌Apply Topcoat

Finally, add a second coat of topcoat to the nails. If you go to a salon, they will assist you. Otherwise, you can apply a second top coat at home. It can provide some additional protection against typical wear and tear.

What Is Better Gel Or Acrylic Overlay?

Gel overlays are preferable to acrylic overlays because they are gentler on the nails. The gels are more durable than acrylics and are less likely to yellow or fracture. Gel overlays exist in various hues and, if done correctly, may be done with or without a basecoat. When opposed to acrylic overlays, it also dries faster. An acrylic overlay is less natural-looking and requires a base coat. As a result, gel overlays outperform acrylic overlays by a wide margin.

Is Gel Overlay Good For Your Nails?

If done correctly, they may be pretty beneficial to persons with brittle or short nails.

If not, you risk contracting a fungal infection.

Are you one of those women that chew their nails? Or do you have a problem with your fingernails not growing correctly or becoming brittle? Then a gel overlay over natural nails should be your next salon visit’s priority!

Gel overlays allow persons with short, fragile nails to seem attractive while being completely natural. They’re less harmful than other extensions, so your nails will stay in better shape while still appearing impressive. That isn’t to say that acquiring overlays is entirely risk-free.

You face the danger of fungal infections if administered inappropriately or without the meticulous hygiene that every good salon should have.

So, before you start applying your overlays, ensure the area where you’ll be applying them is clean. If you’re doing it at home, scrub everything down well and set down a clean cloth to put your hands on.

Take a peek around a salon. Is everything in the room tidy? Look up your salon’s web reviews to check whether it has a decent reputation. What happens if it doesn’t? You need to get a new one.

Of course, if you apply overlays with care and take a vacation from them now and then, you must have no difficulties with your nails. However, take caution! A little planning ahead of time makes a big difference, and your fingernails will appreciate you afterward.

Is Gel Overlay Better Than Shellac?

Gel overlays are beneficial to folks with brittle nails and last somewhat longer than Shellac. The removal process, on the other hand, takes a long time.

Shellac is a lighter lacquer; therefore, it’s ideal for those who want their nails to “breathe” and have firm natural nail beds. More than 90% of the time, gel overlays give your fingernails a natural look. Thanks to the overlay, your manicures will be so strong, lustrous, and long-lasting.

On the other hand, Shellac nails are said to be 100 percent natural nails. Shellac will be thinner and shinier than overlay nails when applied to your nails.

Both gel overlays and Shellac offer advantages and disadvantages, depending on your needs. Shellac is a nail polish that is natural, shiny, and easy to remove at home. Because gel overlay nails are more durable, you should select them if you do a lot of housekeeping.

Pros And Con Of Gel Overlay

Gel Overlay has several advantages, including:

  • It makes your nails stronger.
  • By immersing your fingernails in acetone for up to thirty minutes, you may remove it.
  • Your nails will be less prone to diseases and damage if you apply a gel overlay.
  • When compared to acrylic overlay, it is more flexible and robust.
  • They are available in multiple colors.
  • It has a more natural appearance.
  • If done correctly, it may be applied even without a basecoat.
  • It dries more quickly.
  • Unlike acrylic overlays, they have no odor.
  • Applying gel overlay is a simple technique.
  • In the procedure, less filling is necessary.

The following are some of the disadvantages of gel overlay:

  • It will not lengthen your nails.
  • In comparison to acrylic overlays, gel overlays are more costly.
  • They are not refillable.
  • UV radiation exposure can be harmful to the skin and lead to cancer.
  • They may be challenging to locate.
  • Gel overlays are only good for 2-4 weeks.

Cost Of Getting Gel Overlay

The cost of a gel overlay depends on where you reside and the type of style you desire. A basic one-color gel overlay is roughly $35 to $40. However, if you want insane celebrity-level nail art, it may cost up to $100 or more — and that’s before the 20% tip. So, you should expect to pay anywhere from $35 and $120 for gel overlays.

However, a good at-home hard gel nail kit can reduce the cost by 85%. It is also beneficial if you learn to apply gel overlay on your nails because it reduces the frequent salon visits. Hence saves you precious time and money.

How Is Gel Overlay Done On Natural Nails?

  1. Prep, clean, trim, file, and buff your nails to your chosen style.
  2. Apply a thin coat of primer to the surface.
  3. Apply a relatively thin layer of base coat and cure it for one minute under UV light.
  4. Take your time when applying the gel coat, which is the primary coat. Make sure the gel is adequately distributed throughout the whole surface of the nails. Cure it for another minute under UV light.
  5. To achieve a good nail surface, shape the gel overlay to your taste by filing it. Then buff to make it even smoother.
  6. To secure the gel overlay, apply a thin layer of topcoat. Cure it by exposing it to a UV light source.

Gel Overlay At Home For Beginners

If you’re a newbie who wants to apply gel overlays from comfort and privacy, you’ll want to know how to do it correctly. Nail preparation, cleansing, administration of a base coat, gel curing, application of a second coat and a top coat, and ending with excellent cuticle oil are all phases in the procedure. However, the most critical item you’ll need to get started is a high-quality Gel Nail Kit. You should get one right now if you don’t already have one. All necessary equipment and certain nail supplies will be available in these kits. Not only will you save cash on salon visits, but you’ll also be able to apply Gel overlays like an expert, swiftly, efficiently, and successfully.

Top 3 Beginner-Friendly Gel Manicure Kits

Choosing a Gel Nail Kit may be challenging, especially when there are so many alternatives to consider. There are multiple brands to select from, and many of the packages include varying amounts of equipment and materials. Only the greatest are available here.

Starter Kit for Gel Nails by Red Carpet Manicure

This gel manicure kit is praised by most women for its polished appearance. The kit’s polish not only lasts on nails, but it’s also quick and straightforward to apply. The thorough directions are pretty helpful, and the included materials are simple to use and appear to be of excellent quality. This package also includes a remover and foil wrapping for removing your manicure to complete the professional look. LED light, cuticle oil, pre and after application cleanser, one gel nail color, gel polish remover, foil removal wraps, wood pushers, nail wipes, buffing strips, cuticle stick, and nail file are present in the set.

Kit for Gel Nail Polish by Gellen

This gel nail kit is simple and results in a glossy, uniform hue. It doesn’t chip and is simple to apply, according to reviewers. This gel nail kit is difficult to match for the price – you get six colors, a base and top coat, a UV light, and equipment to make your manicure run as smoothly as possible. Lamp, glossy top coat, base coat, matte top coat, nail file, six color gel polishes, nail brush, nail sticker, buffer, cuticle fork, cuticle pusher, dotting pen, cuticle oil, nail cleanser pads, nails/toes separators, nail remover pads, nail stickers, striping tape, and nail art rhinestones are among the items included in the kit.

Gel Starter Kit by VISHINE

It is the package to choose from if you want a little bit extra with your gel overlay. It comes in six hues and it also includes gadgets to make you feel especially pampered. Reviewers adore how much customers get with this package for less than the cost of a single gel manicure at a professional. Basecoat, six gel polishes, topcoats, LED bulbs, and nail tools are available in the set.

How To Remove Gel Overlay At Home?

  1. Remove the topcoat by buffing your fingernails.
  2. For around 10 minutes, soak a cotton pad in acetone.
  3. After the cotton pad has soaked up all of the acetone, apply it to each of your fingernails and wrap them in aluminum foil to keep them tight.
  4. Allow 10 to 15 minutes for the foil to adhere to your fingertips.
  5. When the timer turns off, remove the foil from the nails and scrub the sticky gel off your fingernails with a cotton swab.
  6. Shape your natural nails to your liking.
  7. After the gel overlay nails have been removed, moisten your nails.
  8. After removing your nails, use a nail strengthener to strengthen your natural nails.

Finally: Should You Consider Getting Gel Overlay?

There’s a purpose why gel overlay is gaining in popularity. Even if you put a transparent gel overlay over natural nails instead of playing with bright colors and patterns, the effects are stunning. The idea is to broaden your variety and selection of natural-looking nails if you want to go pretty neutral or beautify your nails to match every clothing change. So give yourself a gift and let this specific nail augmentation procedure define your latest fashion trend this season.

Topic: Gel Nails

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