Overlay Nails are a type of manicure that uses a hard and durable nail product such as acrylic, gel, or dip powder to only cover your natural nails without extending the length of your nails.
This not only protects your nails but also makes them thicker and easier to shape to your liking.
Overlay nails use the same products as acrylic or gel nail extensions. But they are different from conventional gel or acrylic manicures in that with an overlay manicure the length of your nails is not extended.
Nail Polishes are not considered a form of Overlay Nails. This is because the bare nail polishes don’t reinforce or thicken your natural nails and thus won’t offer your nails any protection or allow them to be shaped or create an apex.
But polishes can be applied on top of overlays to add color and design.
Benefits of Overlay Nails
- Used to reinforce and protect your natural nails – Overlay Nails would create a hard protective layer over your nails making them stronger.
- Allows you to shape your natural nails – overlay products such as acrylic or gel will allow you to make your natural nails thicker and allow you to shape them to your liking and even create a nice apex.
- Feels lighter and more natural when compared to nail extensions – Overlay Nails will use less product which makes your nails feel lighter. Whilst nail extensions use more products which adds a lot of bulk and weight to your nails.
- Last Longer than Nail Extensions – Overlay nails are less likely to lift prematurely since they are shorter and have less surface area for stress and strain to act on.
- More durable than a nail polish manicure – Overlay nails can last for 3-4 weeks or more depending on the type of product used. Whilst nail polishes would last for 5-7 days.
- Tend to be more affordable than Nail Extensions – overlay nails use less product and are easier and faster to apply.
Who Should Get Overlay Nails
Overlay nails are ideal if you:
- Have weak and brittle nails – using a nail product like dip powder or gel will protect and reinforce your nails which will allow them to heal and get stronger.
- Want to shape your natural nails and add an apex without extending them
- Want a strong and durable manicure without nail extensions – If you want a long-lasting manicure and don’t want to have long nails then Overlay Nails are right for you.
- Work in a profession where you can’t have long nails but you still want a more durable manicure than a basic nail polish.
Which Type of Overlay Nails are Best
The type of overlay nails will depend on what product is used. The main products used to make Overlay Nails are:
- Dip Powder – (Feels natural, easy to apply, yet durable & safe & healthy for your natural nails)
- Acrylic Overlay – (Most widely available & durable & long-lasting)
- Gel Overlays (Lighter and feels more natural when compared to acrylic)
- Polygel Overlays
Dip Powder Nail Overlay
Dip Powder, is in my opinion, the best product to use to create natural and durable overlay nails that look amazing and will protect your nails.
Benefits of Dip Powder Overlay
- Very Easy to Apply as Nail Overlay – Dip Powder nails can easily be applied by yourself at home.
- Tends to be easier to remove – when compared to the other types of Overlay nails.
- Durable – Will last you for 2-3 weeks without chipping or peeling.
- Feels light & looks very natural – Dip Powder nails won’t be so bulky like acrylic or polygel nails.
- Protects & Reinforces your natural nails – forms a hard layer over your nails protecting them from getting damaged.
- Less Harsh on Your Nails & Skin – Dip Powder doesn’t use so many harsh chemicals like acid-based primers and they don’t need UV Lamps to cure.
Drawbacks of Dip Powder Overlay
- Not Widely Available in Nail Salons – Dip Powder is a relatively new nail product which is why only a few salons offer the service. But you can easily buy it online and apply it at home.
- Tends to Cost More – Dip Powder Nails tend to cost a bit more than other manicures.
- Harder to create a nice apex when compared to gel and acrylic.
You can click here to read more about the Dip Powder on Short Natural Nails- Benefits & How to Apply
How to Apply Dip Powder Nails as an Overlay
Dip Powder is very easy to apply as overlay nails when compared to other products. You see Dip Powder was designed specifically to function as a nail overlay and not as a nail extension product which is why it is so easy to use to create overlays.
Whilst most other nail products like acrylic, gel, or polygel were made to be used to create nail extensions and not to work as a nail overlay.
You can check out the video down below to see how to apply dip powder.
Recommended Dip Powder Kit to Apply At Home
You can click here to see the current price for Dip Powder Kit that is great for beginners. It contains everything you need to start making dip powder overlays.
2- Acrylic Overlay Nails
Acrylic Overlay Nails are by far the most popular form of overlay nails, this is primarily because of their high availability. You see almost all nail salons offer this service.
Acrylic Overlay Nails use the same acrylic powder and liquid as a conventional acrylic manicure so they are not very different. Except with an acrylic overlay, your natural nails are not extended.
Benefits of Acrylic Overlay Nails
- Extremely Durable – the main advantage that acrylic overlay has over other types of overlays is that they are very long-lasting. They are capable of lasting 6-7 weeks. But they will need a fill-in every 2-3 weeks as your nails grow.
- Allows you to shape your nails, make them look thicker, and create an apex
- Very Strong – Acrylic Overlays are really strong and durable so they would protect and reinforce your natural nails.
- Widely Available
- Affordable – acrylic overlays tend to be cheaper when compared to other forms of overlay nails.
Drawbacks of Acrylic Overlay Nails
- Difficult to Apply & Remove – Acrylic Application can be tedious to apply especially getting the correct liquid-to-powder ratio.
- Can be Harsh on your Natural Nails – Acrylic Nails tend to use strong chemicals and a lot of filing during the application & removal process which can damage your nail plate
- More bulky – Acrylic Overlays will be heavier and feel more unusual when compared to other forms of overlay nails.
You can click here to learn more about Acrylic Overlays like how to DIY them and what you can expect to pay for one.
3- Gel Overlay Nails
Gel Overlay Nails use a hard builder gel to cover your natural nails. Gel Polishes are not considered an Overlay Nail Manicure, this is because they don’t offer your nails any protection.
A Gel Overlay Manicure is the second most available form of Overnail Manicure. You can click here to learn more about Gel Overlay Nails.
Gel Overlay Nails Vs Acrylic Overlay
Gel Overlay Nails are usually better than an acrylic overlay this is because gel overlays are:
- Less harsh on your nails – since they use less harsh chemicals
- Looks better and feels more natural – gel nails are lighter than acrylic nails
- Does a great job protecting your natural nails.
Now the drawbacks with gel overlays are that they tend to be more expensive than acrylic and they need a UV lamp to cure.
How Long do Gel Overlay Nails Last?
Gel Overlay Nails tend to last 3-4 weeks. This will vary based on the amount of activity that you do and how well the overlay nails were applied.
4- Polygel Overlay Nails
Polygel is a relatively new nail product that merges both acrylic and gel together. Polygel is also known as a hybrid gel.
Polygel Overlays are better than both gel and acrylic overlays. Since they are easier to apply yet offer all the advantages of both products.
But Polygel is not as good as Dip Powder for making overlay nails. You see Polygel just like gel and acrylic is meant to be used to make nail extensions.
Now, most nail salons don’t yet offer Polygel Nails but you can easily DIY it at home.
You can check out the video below to see how to apply polygel overlay nails.
Recommended Polygel Kit
I highly recommend Morovan Polygel Kit, it includes everything you need to do Polygel Nails making it perfect for a beginner.