How To Do “The Gelly Sandwiching Technique”

The Gelly Sandwiching Technique is when both gel polish and regular nail polish are used together. While it is advised that you use all gel products together, you can use a regular polish to create the colored layer of the nail enhancement or the middle layer.

The regular polish comprises the middle layer of this sandwich and is then surrounded by a gel polish base coat and a gel polish top coat, making up the outer layers of gel that sandwich in the regular nail polish.

How To Do “The Gelly Sandwiching Technique”

The gelly sandwiching technique is useful if you have a favorite regular nail polish but want a more durable and long lasting manicure.

This technique is only for at home use as most salons will strictly only use gel polishes when applying gel nails or regular nail polish when applying a regular manicure.

This technique is simple once you have the right tools and understand the correct technique. Below we list what you need to get started as well as the basic guidelines of the gelly sandwiching technique.


As you will be using both the gel and regular nail products you will need a number of tools to get the perfect nails every time.

How to do Gelly Sandwiching Technique
  • UV or LED Lamp – this is used to cure the gel polishes
  • Nail Fan – this is to dry the regular nail polish quicker but it is not essential in your tool kit
  • Gel Polish Base and Top Coat
  • Regular Nail Polish in your chosen color
  • Nail Scissors or Clippers
  • Nail File
  • Nail Buffer
  • Cuticle Oil
  • Cuticle Stick
  • Cotton Pads
  • Cotton Buds
  • Acetone
  • Sunscreen – to protect your hands from the UV light


Before applying your manicure it is important to set up your area as well as prep your nails for the products. Follow the preparation steps below for a stress-free application.

  1. Choose where you will apply your manicure. You will need a flat surface and a chair.
  2. Sanitize your chosen area.
  3. Wash your hands thoroughly before handling your tools and also get rid of any dirt that may be under your nails.
  4. Apply sunscreen to the hands to prevent UV damage to the skin.
  5. Set up your area, lay out your needed polishes, tools and plug in your UV light and Nail Fan for ease of use when your nails are wet.
  6. Cut your nails so that they are all an even length. File the nail for a smooth edged finish, this will help to avoid your nail catching or tearing.
  7. Apply cuticle oil and massage into the skin. Take your cuticle stick and push back your cuticles. Wipe away any excess oil using a cotton pad with acetone.
  8. Buff the nails from edge to edge to get rid of any excess oils and also to roughen the surface of your nail so that your gel base coat will cling to the nail better, preventing peeling.

Now that your area is ready and your nails are prepped it is time to move onto the fun part – painting your nails.

The Gelly Sandwiching Technique

This technique may sound intimidating but it is a lot simpler than applying all gel products to the nails. Regular polish is easier to work with as it is a lighter product than gel polishes. 

How To Do “The Gelly Sandwiching Technique”
  1. Apply a gel base coat to the nails, place under the UV or LED lamp to cure. Check your lamps manual for information on how long you should hold your nails under the light to cure, most lamps take 30 seconds to cure base coats of gel polish.
  2. Apply a thin layer of regular nail polish. Allow to fully dry before applying a second coat. Using a nail fan is advised to speed up the process. Thin coats should be applied to avoid smudging and will also assist with speeding up the drying process. 
  3. Apply a gel top coat to the nails, place under the UV or LED lamp to cure. The curing process for top coats is usually longer than for any other layer of gel polish. Check your lamps manual for specific instructions on how long this cure may take, often it can be between one to two minutes.

Some gel polishes may not require a UV or LED lamp to cure, if this is the case with the products you are using the gelly sandwiching technique will differ slightly. See the steps below.

  1. Apply a gel base coat to the nails, place your nails under a nail fan to dry. Drying should take approximately one minute, check your product’s instruction manual for more information regarding drying times.
  2. Apply a thin layer of regular nail polish. Allow to fully dry before applying a second coat. Using a nail fan is advised to speed up the process. Thin coats should be applied to avoid smudging or bubbles.
  3. Apply a gel top coat to the nails, place your nails under the nail fan one final time for drying. The top coat may take longer to try than previous coats, this will be specified in the nail fans accompanying manual if it is necessary.

Both UV cured and non-UV cured gel polishes will create a durable manicure, however, UV cured gel polishes may last slightly longer. If you are conscious of your health non-UV cured gel polishes are a fantastic alternative and still give you that gel manicure, professional look.

How To Make Your Nails Last Longer

The below tips will help you to get the most out of your nails.

  1. Apply cuticle oil every second day and nail oil once a week. This will help to maintain nail hydration and prevent any breakage or peeling.
  2. Avoid soaking your nails in hot water for extended periods of time as this will cause your nails to swell and contract which will lead to the gel products peeling.
  3. Apply a clear coat of regular nail varnish once a week to maintain the appearance of your manicure as well as prevent any scruffs or chipping.

When using gel polish it is important that you take breaks between each fresh application. This is to ensure that your natural nails are kept in good condition and to prevent any lasting damage to your natural nails.

Gelly Sandwiching Technique

Take time to master the gelly sandwiching technique and you will be able to speed up the process as you become more confident working with gel polish products.

As gel polishes can often be more expensive than regular nail polish this method is a great money-saving alternative to purchasing only gel products.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Turn Regular Nail Polish Into Gel Polish?

There are certain products that allow you to transform your regular nail polish into gel polish. You add your colored regular polish to the special gel product, shake it up, and voila! You have your own unique gel polish. 

Do You Have To Use A Base And Top Coat When Painting Your Nails?

If you are using a colored nail polish it is advised to use a base coat to avoid any staining to your natural nails. The top coat helps your nails to last longer as it prevents scuffs and chips.

It is a personal preference, and also depends on how much time you have to paint your nails. If you are using gel or dip powder you should always use a base and top coat but with regular polish, it is not so essential. 

Can I Dry Regular Nail Polish With UV Light?

UV light has no effect on regular nail polish and cannot be used to dry regular nail varnish. Nail fans are the most effective way to dry regular nail polish. 

What Is The Difference Between Gel Polish And Regular Nail Polish?

The main difference between gel polish and regular nail polish is that gel polish can only be cured under UV or LED light while regular nail polish air dries.

There are some gel polishes that do not need to be cured under UV or LED light but the majority of gel polishes do need to be cured under UV or LED light. 

Is Gel Polish Better Than Regular Nail Polish?

Gel polish lasts longer than regular nail polish and is a more durable nail enhancement than regular polish. Regular nail polish can easily chip as it is applied in light, thin layers, and air drys.

Gel polish is cured under UV or LED light which hardens the product, creating a hard layer of product on your natural nails.

Brittney Scott