With the help of nail tips, acrylics can be used to make natural nails stronger and longer. Acrylics are also used to create a protective layer over the nails without artificially lengthening them.

A natural nail overlay is a nail enhancement in which acrylic is applied on top of natural nails that are long enough that it is not necessary to extend them with nail tips. The acrylic overlay creates a thin protective coating on the natural nails that makes them stronger and enables nail polish to last up to two weeks.

Compared to acrylic full sets, acrylic overlays look more natural and are thinner because they do not have the additional thickness of nail tips, and people opt for a natural look regardless of how thick the acrylic tips are.

Why do you need overlays on nails with acrylics?

The problem with people who want a little bit of length on their natural nails is that one or two would break, and they wouldn’t have all their nails the same length.

To strengthen natural nails, acrylics are a great nail enhancement product.

By doing overlays on nails with acrylic, there will be less chance of one or two cracking or breaking off and the uniform look will last longer.

Additionally, acrylic overlays on nails will keep the polish on for up to two weeks after application.

Acrylic overlay on natural nails without tips

Some people like to wear their natural nails a little longer than the tips of their fingers. The problem arises when the natural nails get long and begin to break, split, or peel.

Acrylic overlays will help these people enjoy their long natural nails without having to worry about them breaking so easily.

Acrylic overlay on short nails

The biggest problem thin nail users face is having their nails peel, split, or break. Sometimes these breaks go deep enough to cause bleeding. Additionally, they cannot grow long nails because one or two will break or tear off, causing their nails to no longer be even in length.

All of these problems can be avoided by applying a thin coat of acrylic over the real nails.

Is acrylic overlay better than acrylic full sets?

The acrylic overlay is for people with long nails who want to strengthen them.

Acrylic nails with tips or full sets are for people who want fake nails to be longer than their own.

It is the same acrylic that is applied to nails in order to achieve two different results.

Users may prefer one acrylic application over another depending on their personal preference.

Shortly, the difference between acrylic full sets and overlays is how they are applied to nails. One has nail tips, the other does not.

Does acrylic overlay add length?

Acrylic overlays consist of a strengthening product applied on top of your natural nails, resulting in the length of the nails being the same as they were originally.

Instead of doing an acrylic overlay if you want your nails to be longer, you should do an acrylic full set where nail tips are added to your nails to make them longer.

How long do acrylic overlays last?

As with an acrylic full set, an acrylic overlay can last up to three months if you fill it in every two to three weeks.

Does acrylic overlay strengthen nails?

Acrylics are external nail enhancement products. Although an acrylic overlay will add thickness to the natural nails and thus make them stronger, the nails themselves do not become thicker or stronger due to the acrylic overlay.

Acrylic overlay with gel polish

Those who want acrylic overlays on their nails can add regular or gel polish to them just like those who want acrylic full sets, and they can do any nail art or design they wish.

Is acrylic overlay bad for your nails?

No, an acrylic overlay will have the same negative effects as an acrylic full set. If you know how to take care of your acrylic full sets, you will also know how to take care of your acrylic overlays.

These are known negative aspects of acrylic, but they are temporary. After acrylics are removed, natural nails will grow back normal in two months.

How much does acrylic overlay cost?

Most nail salons charge the same price for acrylic overlay services as for acrylic full sets. Even though nail tips aren’t used, shaping acrylic overlays often takes more time because natural nails are not always perfectly shaped.

Acrylic overlay pros and cons


  • Looks thinner, lighter, and more natural.
  • No need to use nail tips to lengthen nails


  • Breaks or chips more easily than acrylic full sets.
  • The free edges of acrylics tend to separate.

Can you put acrylic on natural nails?

Acrylic can be applied to natural nails. This is a good option if:

  • Natural nails are thin and break easily.
  • A long nail is not a good idea.
  • Nail polish should last longer on thin nails.

Then acrylic overlay is the perfect choice.

When is an acrylic overlay not good for your nails?

If one or more of your nails do not grow evenly, you should not have an acrylic overlay. The acrylic overlay will take the shape of your nails. The free edges of your natural nails should be trimmed and you should put on an acrylic full set with nail tips if you do not like the way your nails grow out.

What do you need for the acrylic overlay?

Nail tips are not necessary if you want an acrylic overlay on your nails.

You should know as a nail technician that natural nails do not grow evenly, some even grow crooked. You have to have a good eye in order to decide how you would create an acrylic overlay for your customers so that the final product will look better than it did before.

Your customers and you both want that.

Other alternatives to acrylic overlay that you can do at home

A dentist invented acrylics in 1954 and it is a great product as an artificial nail enhancement. However, there are other nail products that you can make at home that will strengthen your nails in less time and with fewer skills.

Gel polish:

The easiest way to strengthen thin nails is with this product. You simply brush on the polish and cure it with an LED light. The nails will have an additional thickness that prevents them from breaking, and the polish will remain on them for up to two weeks.

SNS dipping powder:

This is another great product that you can use to do a nail overlay at home. It is more involved than gel polish, but it makes your nails much stronger.

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