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How To Use A Regular Nail Lacquer With A UV Gel base And Top Coat 

Have you been looking to find ways to add longevity to your manicure without committing to gel nail polish?

Good news, girl, I’ve got your back!

This method is also known as the gelly sandwich, it is where you sandwich regular nail polish, a gel base coat, and a top coat. 

This technique will extend the life of your manicure for a few more days but won’t make it last as long as a gel manicure. Ideal if you like a long-lasting manicure but also want to switch up the colors frequently. 

As if that wasn’t enough for you!

This technique allows you to have similar durability to a gel manicure but enables you to have a vast color range through using regular nail polish

Just a bit of patience, a good UV lamp, and the right gel base and topcoat, and you should be good to go. 

Tune in to see how! 

nail polish photos

Can you use regular nail polish with a UV gel top coat?

One of the easiest and best ways to prolong your manicure’s life and make the finish look extra glossy without using gel is to add a UV topcoat.

A regular topcoat adds durability to the manicure but using a gel top coat will seal in your regular nail polish gives it that little more protection than a standard topcoat would. Therefore this will prolong the life of the manicure even further.

You can even make your regular nail polish last as long as 14 days if you use a long-lasting nail lacquer.

Can you use a UV gel base coat with regular nail polish? 

You can use a gel base coat with regular nail polish, but I wouldn’t advise it. Gel and regular nail polishes have different formulas; therefore, a gel base coat will not adhere well to regular nail polish.

This is also known as the gelly sandwich method; this is when you use a gel base and topcoat with regular nail polish in the middle. It is said to improve your manicure’s longevity, but using a gel base coat won’t adhere as well as a regular one would.

A base coat bonds with the nail polish to stick to the nail’s surface; it provides a sticky surface that forms a chemical bond when paired with the nail polish.

Gel and regular nail polish have different chemical structures, meaning that a regular nail polish won’t bond as well to a gel base coat as a gel polish would.

You can still use a gel base coat if you wish, but it may render the nail polish’s longevity rather than improve it.

Does the gelly sandwich method work? 

The gelly method has been a growing trend recently; you sandwich a regular nail polish between a gel base and topcoat.

After trying this method myself, I can confirm it doesn’t work, and people say, sadly. It started to peel only after a few days, whereas I was getting up to 2 weeks of wear out of using a regular base coat with a gel topcoat.

Here’s why:

Base coats are designed to adhere to the nail plate and nail polish, creating a chemical bond that anchors down the polish.

Gel and regular nail polish have different chemical structures; therefore, regular nail polish won’t adhere to a gel base coat and take a standard base coat.

This difference in the formula can detriment the manicure and make it more prone to peeling. Hence, it peeled off after a couple of days.

I love using a gel top coat with my regular manicure as it works wonders in terms of longevity, but I wouldn’t recommend using a gel base coat.

airbrush nails

How to apply a gel top coat over regular nail lacquer:

It’s relatively easy to use a gel top coat on top of your regular nail polish, and here’s how in three easy steps: 

Step One: Prep the nail as usual:

First things first, you need to prep the nail like you usually would for your regular manicure. You can do this by pushing back the cuticles, filing and shaping them, and then cleaning them with rubbing alcohol.

Don’t miss out on the base coat; instead of using a gel base coat that won’t adhere well, stick to your regular base coat. Apply one layer of your base coat to allow a good foundation for your nail polish to stick to.

Step Two: Apply your regular nail polish: 

Next up is applying your regular nail polish. I always use 2-3 thin layers of polish ( OPI is my fave), and I allow a few minutes in between to allow it to dry.

You can either dry under a nail dryer for around 10-30 minutes or let it naturally dry for a few hours (can be as many as 6).

You need to ensure that your nail polish is completely dry before you apply the topcoat, as otherwise, it will shrink and wrinkle up.

Step Three: Apply the UV gel top coat and cure: 

Once and only once your nails have completely dried, you can apply the top coat over your nails, making sure to include the edges.

After you’ve applied your topcoat, you can cure it under a UV or LED lamp for the gel topcoat’s recommended time. Make sure you use rubbing alcohol to rub away the tacky layer.

 Why use a gel top coat with regular nail polish: 

You may notice that gel polishes are pretty excellent; they give a fantastic glossy finish that everyone loves. Not to mention the longevity and durability of this manicure, it will last up to 3 weeks without chipping, peeling, or fading.

Regular nail polish manicure only lasts around seven days maximum and sometimes only 2-3 days before the chips start to appear.

There are some cons about gel nail polishes, though: they are harder to remove, they don’t offer as vast a color range as regular nail polish, and they are costly.

Using a gel topcoat on top of regular nail polish adds a middle ground between a regular nail polish manicure and a gel one.

It allows for added durability and longevity to your manicure, as a gel would but allows you the color selection of regular nail polish– it is the best of both worlds!

What is the best gel top coat to use with regular nail polish? 

An absolute fave of mine has to be the gel top coat by Ameili; it goes on like regular nail polish but wears like a gel.

It will last up to 3 weeks with gel polish and up to 2 with regular polish, great.

I love the finish using Ameili’s topcoat: it gives a mirror finish with no nicks, chips, or smudges. The shine on your nails is unmatched when using this formula.

All in all, if you’re looking for a brilliant top coat to seal in your regular nail polish, Ameili is up to the bill.


If you’re looking for added longevity and a glossy finish to your regular manicure, then you need to try using a gel top coat with your regular nail polish.

It allows you to have the color selection of a regular manicure but lasts (almost) as long as a gel manicure; mine even lasted two weeks before it started chipping!

Let’s up our manicure game and switch out our regular top coat for a gel top coat instead!

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[Review] in 2022  written by nail expert Jess RowleyCheck out the results fast - here are our review winners[dica_divi_carousel item_width_tablet="400px" item_width_phone="345px"...

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