Acrylic Overlay on Natural Nails | How To Apply + Style Ideas

Acrylics are important because they help improve the strength and appearance of the nails. However, they also serve another essential function which involves setting a protective layer on the nails without making them artificially longer.

So, what is an acrylic overlay on natural nails?

An acrylic overlay on natural refers to a nail enhancement product that people use on top of the nails. Usually, these products are long enough, and it’s not often necessary to extend them using acrylic tips. 

Join us as we look more about this approach to the use of acrylic nails:

Why Do You Need Overlays on Nails with Acrylics?

acrylic overlay on short natural nails

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Acrylics refer to a mixture of a liquid monomer and powder that create a dough-like substance that makes the nails appealing. The acrylics are exceptional for individuals who experience challenges growing their nails.

One of the best ways to apply acrylics is to consult a professional care service. The reason is that you need someone with exposure to this approach in nail care for the best results. 

Nails tend to be delicate, and anything as simple as poor setup procedures can lead to damage. 

As your natural nails develop, a gap might come up between the fingernails and acrylics. With the help of a professional nail tech, filling in the acrylics will become a simple process.

What is An Acrylic Overlay?

is acrylic overlay bad for your nails

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An acrylic overlay refers to a specialized powder that hardens when exposed to the air to help improve the structure of the nails. 

It’s a product that helps improve the density of the nails without the user having to increase their length. 

Acrylic overlays also work well for both short and long nails. People can also benefit from using acrylic overlays because it helps thicken the nail. 

Some technicians even have resources for imparting designs on acrylics, which can help to add a more customized look to the nails. Here are some of the steps in how to apply acrylic overlays:

  1. Prepare the nails by cleaning with acetone.
  2. Trim the nails using the right kit.
  3. Buff the nails.
  4. Use nail primer.
  5. Prepare the acrylic materials.
  6. Get a brush and use it to pick up the acrylics.
  7. Apply the mixture to your nails. 
  8. Let it dry for a few minutes.

While the most common application of overlays involves the use of acrylics, the other common alternatives include:

  • Gel.
  • Polygel.
  • Dip powder.

PRO TIP! If your nails are already thick and strong, you may have to avoid using the overlays. The reason is they tend to make the nail appear longer and thicker. Look at this video on how to do acrylic overlay on natural nails at home.

What are the Advantages of Using Acrylic Overlays?

acrylic overlay on natural nails near me

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There are various benefits of using acrylic overlays, including:

Benefit #1. Reduces Cracking and Breaking

An acrylic overlay helps stop your nails from issues such as cracks and boosts their longevity. Overlays also feature a protective layer that ensures your nails remain sparkling. Unlike acrylics, overlays aren’t prone to breaking and guarantee years of longevity.

Benefit #2. Long Lasting Polish 

Applying acrylic overlays before set nail polish will help improve the color and appearance of your nails. 

A good example would be when you add acrylic overlays before you set the gel polish, the acrylic will help stop the breakdown of the polish. A regular polish can last up to seven days, while overlays can last for many weeks.

Benefit #3. Lighter Feeling Nails

Overlays feature few products than traditional acrylics, thus making the nails much more compact. 

However, acrylics tend to be heavy and add a layer of density to the nails because they function somewhat as extensions. Overlays are also commonly used to fill dents in natural nails and improve their appearance.

Benefit #4. Easy to Shape 

Acrylic overlays make introducing any shape or design to your nail easy, thus offering sufficient room for creativity. 

Other practical shapes you can consider include square, oval, hexagon, and rectangle designs. However, nail product users also have the freedom to try out various other designs for an improved appeal.

Benefit #5. Suitable for People with Nail Biting Issues 

People prone to nail biting issues can also benefit from the functions of acrylic overlays. The reason is that the acrylic overlays form a hard and well-finished surface over the nails. Therefore, anyone who wants to pick or bite their nails has to think twice. 


What is the Difference Between Acrylic Full Sets and Overlays?

acrylic overlay vs gel

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There are a few critical differences between acrylic full sets and overlays. These are two common accessories in the acrylics world, each serving a unique purpose. Some of the distinguishing aspects of both products include:

  • Acrylics sit over the nail bed and help to improve its length. The full set types are for the entire structure of the nail.
  • Acrylic overlays also cover the natural, and no extensions are required. You should try out some of these acrylic overlays on natural nail designs.
  • The acrylic overlay on natural nails cost between $20 to $100. It all depends on your preferences and location.

Overlays don’t improve the length of your nails compared to a full acrylic set. However, they go a long way in boosting the strength of already weak nails. 

Additionally, overlays are more affordable than the full acrylic sets because nail techs don’t have to perform several procedures. You should also learn more about DIY acrylic overlays on natural nails.

Does Acrylic Overlay Add Length?

pink acrylic overlay on natural nails

Source: Unsplash.

Acrylic doesn’t often add length to nails because it doesn’t involve the use of an extension. Overlays are the same as acrylic overlay extensions but involve a unique application process other than just using a plastic plate over the nails. 

Instead, the process involves using a gel product that someone applies directly over their natural nails. 

The process also involves using traditional shaping techniques before completing it with buffing procedures. Overlays are also crucial for improving the length and strength of the nails. The most common type is the pink acrylic overlay on natural nails.

How Long Do Acrylic Overlays Last?

acrylic overlay extension

Source: Unsplash. 

The longevity of acrylic nails averages at three weeks, but the timespan also varies based on factors such as the growth rate of your nails. 

The frequency with which you use your hands also contributes to the longevity of your nails. You can also check out this acrylic overlay on natural nails video for more information.

If you need maintenance procedures, consult with your nail tech on options such as fill ins. Nail designs such as clear acrylic overlay on natural nails require lots of experience to achieve the best results. 

Introducing a fresh layer to your nails after a few days can be highly beneficial. Here are some of the other ways of making acrylic overlays last:

  • Apply cuticle oil to the nails, and ensure they stay moisturized.
  • Never bite or pick your nails because it can lead to trauma.
  • Never push down on your nails because they dislodge the acrylics.
  • Avoid procedures such as unnecessary scratching on the nail bed.

Can You Put Acrylic Overlay Natural Nails?

Yes, you can put acrylic overlays over natural nails. You should use the overlays if your nails are thin and are prone to breakage. You can also use it as a technique for maintaining the longevity of your nails.

Does Acrylic Overlay Damage Nails?

An acrylic overlay is a nail enhancement product that features acrylic powder and monomer liquid. You must mix both of these products to create a durable, robust nail structure.

How Long Do Acrylic Overlay Nails Last?

Overlays nails usually have an exceptional longevity level, with most of the well-donee types going for up to two weeks. However, an acrylic overlay has a longevity period of up to three or four days before it requires replacement. However, gel overlays are much more robust.

Is Acrylic Overlay Better than Dip?

While acrylics require significant amounts of time to apply, they tend to be expensive and difficult to set. Plus, they are much better than dip nails in the application process and are generally less invasive on the nail structure.

Is Acrylic Overlay Better than Gel?

Even though gels don’t have the same longevity as acrylics, they tend to be flexible and much easier to apply. Plus, gels also cause a relatively small amount of damage to the natural nails compared to extensions.

How Do You Get Overlay Off Your Fingernails?

The best way of removing acrylic overlays involves using acetone solution, nail strengtheners, and a cuticle pusher. The entire process should take about five minutes and some cotton wool for convenience.

Using acrylics can be a breeze when you have know how to use acrylic overlays on natural nails. While these are excellent for the appearance of your nail, remember to also nourish and maintain your nails frequently.

Katharyn Riedel

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