Acrylic Overlay Vs. Acrylic Full-set

When you hear the word "acrylic", you might already be thinking about long and complicated nails that require the use of extensions. But aside from full-set, there is another way of getting acrylics on your natural nails with no extensions added, the Acrylic Overlay. These two are popular methods for lengthening and strengthening nails, offer different benefits and serve other purposes, but the two have some key differences. In this article, let's discuss the acrylic overlay vs acrylic full-set, their differences and reasons to consider getting them.

What is Acrylic?

Acrylic nails are a powder, and liquid monomer combined into a soft ball, shaped onto your nails with a brush, and then air-dried. When it cures, acrylic creates a strong, colourless layer on your nails.

What is Acrylic Overlay?

An acrylic overlay creates an acrylic layer that goes over your natural nails. The process adheres to covering the existing nail to enhance it. Overlays can be applied to both short and long nails, allowing almost anyone to benefit from the application.

What is Acrylic Overlay?

An Acrylic full-set, also known as nail extensions, is the most popular and will usually be put on top of the tip extensions, adding length or using nail forms to achieve a more natural look. Each acrylic is then shaped as desired and painted with polish.

Why Should You Consider Getting an Acrylic Overlay on Your Natural Nails?

If you are looking for a way to add some extra flair to your nails, acrylic overlays may be the right choice for you. Here are a few reasons to consider acrylic overlay.

  • Protect your natural nails. The acrylic provides a strong coat on top of your nails, protecting them from any elements. 
  • Applying an acrylic overlay before adding polish will help your colour last longer. Its durability will give you the longest-lasting results and make your nails look longer or have a more polished appearance.
  • They are shaped easily. An overlay is a great option if you want to add some fun and stylish shape to your nail.
  • It also protects your nail from everyday wear and tears.
  • Less expensive. Compared to other artificial nails, an overlay is way much less expensive.
How long does Acrylic Full-Set last?

A full set of nails can last anywhere from two to four weeks. However, it is important to note that everyone's natural nails grow at different rates, so your mileage may vary. Taking care of your nails and avoiding activities that can damage them is also important.

Here are a few Helpful Tips to prolong the life of your Acrylic overlays:
  • Wear gloves when cleaning, washing the dishes, or using harsh chemicals.
  • Apply cuticle oil and nails to keep them moisturised.
  • Avoid biting or picking your nails.

Whether you go with acrylic full-set or overlay, take care of them properly so they last as long as possible. Be sure to find one that matches perfectly with your style.


For more Tips & Advice covering nail health and well-being, visit The Nail Bar Beauty & Co.


  • Nancy

    Is the acrylic overlay a brush on product?
    What does it look like?

  • Leighanne

    I was unsure what the difference between acrylic full set and overlay meant, but now have a clear understanding, after readingyour article. Thank you. ☺️

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