How to Make Your Manicure Last Longer – Using Gel Nails and Regular Nail Polish

Have you ever wondered how to keep nail polish on for longer? Do you have a beautiful collection of nail colours that you don’t use because they chip so easily? If you avoid using regular polishes in favour of gel nails this DIY nail polish trick will be give you home manicures that last..

gel nails

gel nails


Gel lamps have been changing the nail game for quite some time. Gel nails such as shellac, gellish etc have a huge and loyal fan base because they last SO much longer than regular polish. And if applied correctly they won’t ruin your nails in the way acrylic nails would.

What’s not to love?


If you’re a beauty fanatic like myself (and I’m sure that if you’re reading this blog, then you are!) then you may own a gel lamp of your own. If you don’t and you’re a fan of gel nails then I would definitely look into it – it ends up being a lot cheaper than continual salon visits. The only drawback is that your much-loved collection of regular polishes ends up getting a little neglected.

Well luckily for you I am here to offer you a solution – the gelly sandwich!

The gelly sandwich is a technique where you layer your regular nail polish in between a gel base coat and top coat. Genius right? It means you have the longevity of gel nails while still getting to use the beautiful shades in your collection of regular nail polishes.


gel nails


It’s not quite as simple as just painting it on though, as I discovered the first time I tried it! If you apply the top coat too quickly or before the regular nail polish is COMPLETELY dry then it will wrinkle and look really gross.

To achieve the perfect “gelly sandwich” these are the steps that I follow:

  1. Clean hands and remove any old polish:

Super obvious, but you need to make sure those finger tips are squeaky clean if you want your manicure to last.

2. Shape the nails:

I like to keep my nails short and manageable but the possibilities are endless here. If I’m not working I like to go for almond-shaped nails, but you can opt for square,squoval, round, coffin or stiletto shaped nails.

3. Buff the nails:

I don’t go too ham on this step. This is what will wreck your nails over time and make them thinner. I just do a very light buff to remove any ridges and give your nails a little extra “grip”.

4. Apply a dehydrating primer:

I use the OPI BondAid to remove any moisture from the nails so that they are prepared for the base coat.

5. Apply your base coat:

Apply your gel base coat and set it under the lamp for the amount of time recommended by the gel manufacturer. Remember to apply a swipe of the base coat to the edge of the nail. This is known as “capping your edges”.

6. Apply your regular nail polish

Apply the polish as you normally would. With this layer, I tend not to cap the edges of the nails. I only cap the edges with the base coat and the top coat in an attempt to “lock in” the middle layer.

7. Allow to dry

This is a whole step in itself. When I say allow to dry I mean REALLY, REALLY dry. Usually, I leave it overnight, but I would recommend a minimum of 6 hours. I know this sounds like a ridiculous amount of time but it’s worth it for a manicure that will last for weeks.

8. Apply the top coat:

Once your polish is super dry add the top coat to lock it in place. Set the top coat under the lamp and remove the sticky film with ethanol on a cotton pad.

9.Hand cream and cuticle oil:

Finish off your DIY gel manicure by massaging oil into the cuticles and applying a moisturising hand cream.


gel nails


So as you can see it’s pretty simple to do, a little more time consuming with the wait but totally worth it for the payoff. I hope this helps you get the most out of your nail polish collection! Let me know if any of you guys have tried this DIY gel nail polish technique yourself.

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