Can You Paint Acrylic Nails with Normal Nail Polish?

Can you paint acrylic nails with normal nail polish? Can you mix acrylic powder with nail polish?

Acrylic nails are great since they last long and don’t chip. But having the same color nails for three weeks can be a bore. 

Or worse, they start growing off, and then you have acrylics on only half the nail. If you went for plain acrylics or a French manicure then this isn’t a problem.

But if you have a bold color on your nails, it can look unflattering when it grows out. Yes, you can go to the salon and get it fixed. 

But what if it’s the middle of the month and you’re short on funds? Or if you have a sudden event the next day and need a quick solution?

Painting over acrylics with normal nail polish is a great fix. But can it be done? And if so, can you simply start painting? 

Continue reading to find out.

Can You Use Normal Nail Polish on Acrylic Nails?

Yes, you can use regular lacquer nail polish on acrylic nails. If you’re bored with your acrylic nails and need a color change, nail polish does the trick.

Acrylics usually last up to three weeks. Having the same color on your nails for that long can be boring. The good thing is that your regular nail polish works great on acrylics. 

In fact, it works better on acrylics than it does on natural nails. Acrylics provide a smooth and thick surface that allows the lacquer to stick better. It’s more durable than natural nails and slightly raised too. 

All this means that the lacquer nail polish will look better and last longer.

But before you start painting your acrylics, there are steps you need to follow. No, it’s not as simple as picking a color and painting. 

If you plan to go back to your acrylics again then it’s important to follow the steps below.

Steps for Painting Acrylic Nails with Normal Nail Polish

can you put nail polish on acrylic nails

Applying normal nail polish on acrylics seems easy enough. All you need to do is paint over the acrylics, right? Wrong. 

There are many things that can go wrong with that. 

Before we get started on the steps, make sure you have a workspace set up. It’s best to have everything on hand before you start. You don’t want to look for things after you’ve already started. 

What you’ll need:

  • A solid surface to work on.
  • Non-acetone nail polish remover. You only need this if you have old nail polish on your acrylics.
  • Baby wipes or mild soap and water. 
  • A towel to dry your hands and nails.
  • A topcoat and basecoat that’s suitable for acrylics.
  • Your preferred nail polish.
  • A top coat for your nail polish. 

Optional items:

  • Nail file and buffer.
  • Hand cream or lotion.
  • Drying spray for nail polish.

Now that you have everything, prepare your workspace. As we said, a solid surface is best. Be sure to cover the surface with plastic food wrap and an old towel. 

This will prevent any spillage from getting on the surface. Make sure your work area has plenty of light too. This will prevent you from making any unnecessary mistakes while painting your nails. 

Pro tip: when painting your nails, do the dominant hand first. Since it’s the more difficult one to do, it’s best to get it out of the way first. 

It’s a good idea to wait for one hand to dry before doing the next as well. This will reduce the risk of smudges.

Now that you’re all set, let’s dive into the steps for painting acrylic nails with nail polish. 

Remove Old Nail Polish (if applicable)

Before anything else, you need to remove old nail polish. If the old polish has worn off, you need to remove the excess as well.

This is for the same reason you’d remove it before repainting your nails. You can’t start a new manicure with old polish still on your nails.

It will give you lumpy and uneven nails. Your nails will be messy and that’s not a great look.

Removing nail polish from acrylic nails is pretty simple. You’ll need to use non-acetone nail polish remover for this. 

Acetone is a powerful chemical and will dissolve acrylics too. If that’s not your attention, then use acetone-free remover.

Most normal nail polish removers contain some acetone. Read the label on the remover to be certain that it doesn’t contain any. Even a small amount of acetone can damage your acrylic nails.

Clean and Dry Hands and Nails

how can you paint acrylic nails with normal nail polish

Once all the old polish is removed, clean your hands and nails. Baby wipes are perfect for this since they’re gentle. 

Unlike other products, the wipes won’t cause any adverse reactions to the acrylics.

You could wash and pat dry your hands too. But be careful not to soak acrylics for too long as this might soften them.

This is a critical step to do before putting on nail polish. If any moisture is left between acrylics and nail polish, you could get a fungal infection. 

Unfortunately, this is common with acrylic nails. Most nail fungal infections aren’t serious and can be treated at home with our antifungal serum. A more serious case will need a prescription to clear it up. 

But as they say, “prevention is better than a cure”. Ensure your acrylics are clean and dry before continuing with your nails. 

Apply a Top Coat and Base Coat to Your Acrylics

Once nails are clean and dry, apply an acrylic top coat. Nail polish can sometimes cause unwanted reactions with acrylics. This might result in lumps on your nails.

You can then apply a base coat over the dried top coat. Use a base coat that is suitable for acrylics to prevent any reactions. 

One coat will do but you can add another if you feel it's necessary. 

Nail polish can stain acrylics if put directly on the acrylic nails. Using nail polish remover can cause the polish to stain the acrylics too. This is why the base coat is important.

Of course, you might not want to go back to the acrylics. Or you might want to paint them a different color after removing the polish.

If that’s the case, you can skip this step if you want to.

But a base coat will give you a longer-lasting manicure too. This extra step might be worth it if you want the manicure to last.

Apply Nail Polish

Once the base coat is dry you can apply your preferred nail polish color.

It’s always best to apply two coats of lacquer nail polish. Much like the base coat, two coats of polish help the manicure last longer. 

how can you use normal nail polish on acrylic nails

Ensure that the first coat is completely dry before applying the second coat. If you’re a bit impatient, try using our spritz dry. This will almost instantly dry any lacquer nail polish. 

You can add nail art too if you’re feeling creative. It won’t affect the acrylics anymore than the polish would. 

Apply a Top Coat to Your Nail Polish

When the nail polish is dry, apply a top coat. This will seal the nail polish and reduce chips and cracks. 
can you paint acrylic nails with normal nail polish or not

Our quick-drying top coat is great for when you’re short on time or have little patience. It gives your manicure the perfect, durable finish.

You generally only need one coat but you can add another. Remember to check whether the first coat is dry before continuing. 

If you apply a new coat on still-wet polish, you’ll be left with a lumpy mess. Then you’ll have to start all over again, and that’s not ideal. 

If you don’t want a glossy look, you can dry our matt top coat. This works great with unique nail art too. 

how to paint acrylic nails with normal nail polish

Gel Polish and Acrylics

Now, you might be wondering if you can use gel polish on acrylic nails. If lacquer works, then why not gel polish too?

The truth is that yes, you can use gel polish on acrylic nails. Despite the difference in their chemical forms, the gel works as well as normal polish. The only problem would be removing the gel polish when it’s time.

Since you’d need to use acetone to remove gel polish, it will dissolve the acrylics too. This means that gel polish is not ideal if you only want a temporary change.

If you’re set on using gel polish, you’ll need to buff the acrylic topcoat first. Gel polish won’t stick to a completely smooth surface.

If you have no experience with either gel or acrylics, we advise you to go to the salon. This will need precision and a nail technician has more experience doing this. 

Gel vs. Acrylic

You’ve likely considered the gel polish vs acrylic nails debate before. Is one better than the other? There are many differing opinions on this and we feel it’s a personal choice. 

They both have their pros and cons, but you should always choose the best option for you. Do your research and ask friends and family. 

It also doesn’t hurt to try out each option and decide for yourself. They both last pretty long and are tough to remove when it’s time.

And because of the delicacy and precision needed to do both, home manicures are not ideal. It would be especially difficult to do your dominant hand too. 

The same goes for removing gel polish or acrylics. 

Both gel polish and acrylic nails need to be removed with acetone. Nail technicians are trained to use acetone safely. They will ensure that there's minimal irritation to your skin or nails. 

If you’re using acetone remover at home, work in a well-ventilated area. Be sure to wash your hands with soapy water once you’re done. 

It’s a good idea to give your nails a break once in a while too. Wearing gel polish or acrylic nails too often can damage the nail bed.

Taking a break for a week or two is ideal for your nails’ health. During the break, use nail treatments to strengthen the nail bed.

The Verdict

It’s possible to paint acrylic nails with normal nail polish. As long as you follow the steps above, there won’t be any problems.


can you paint over acrylic nails with normal nail polish

Remember to only use non-acetone remover when removing nail polish from acrylics. Acetone will dissolve the acrylics too. 

You need to use an acrylic topcoat and basecoat before putting on your nail polish. This will prevent any lumps and staining on the acrylics. 

It’s important to moisturize your skin and nails to combat any dryness caused by the remover. Our Rich Renewal Passion creme will hydrate and moisturize your skin. 

We hope this helps with your nail dilemma. Don’t forget to be creative and have fun with your nails too!

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