Can I use base coat as primer for acrylic nails?

acrylic nails

A few days ago, some friends were trying acrylic nails on one of our friend’s homes. But when we went to work, we saw that we had run out of primer. So, we had to order a new primer from a nearby super shop. While waiting for the new primer, suddenly, a thought crossed my mind.

Can I use base coat as primer for acrylic nails?

Usually, it isn’t recommended to use a base coat as primer for acrylic nails. The base coat is basically used for gel polishes and regular polishes. In the case of acrylic nails, a nail primer or a nail dehydrator could be the best foundation you can opt for.

I know many of you want to know more about this. So I have written this article so that you can get rid of all your confusion. So let’s dive into the details.

What is a nail primer?

Before we know whether we can use a base coat as a primer or not, we need to know what a nail primer is.

A nail primer is used at the beginning of a nail manicure to prime the nails.

It is applied to the nail bed in order to improve nail adhesion. It also creates a protective covering over the original nail. Nail primer first dries the nail to remove all-natural oils before putting a thin, sticky layer to reinforce the acrylic or gel nails.

Primers are generally of two types.

  • Acid primer and
  • Non-acid or acid free primer.

The most often used primer is acid-free primer. Although the corrosive properties of non-acid primers are less than those of acid primers, a good aspect is that non-resident primers are less harmful.

What is a base coat?

A base coat is basically a clear polish applied to the nails prior to applying any color paint.

Although it is similar to nail polish in appearance, it contains plasticizers to make it more flexible. They have more cellulose compounds, which help them cling better between the nail polish and the nail.

Instead of being more robust, it creates a transparent sticky coating between the natural nails and the nail paint to help it adhere longer. It shields the nails from the polish’s destructive effects, prevents staining and peeling, and evens the nails’ texture.

There are two variants of base coat available.

  • Plain and
  • Ridge-filler

Why should you not use a base coat as a primer for acrylic nails?

Nail primer and base coat are both used to extend the life of your manicures. However, they are utilized with different items and work differently.

We said a little while ago that nail primer is typically used to prepare your nails’ surface to help acrylic or nail polish cling to your nail plates better.

Nail primer normally operates by dehydrating your nails to remove moisture and oil from the surface of your nails, making it easier for your acrylics or polish to attach. Applying a thin coat of a very adhesive coating to the surface of your nails, make sure the holding of your acrylics or polish in place.

It also confirms the adherence of acrylics more securely to the nails by making micro-tears and holes in your nail plates.

But unfortunately, the base coat can not fill up all these criteria. Base Coat is a transparent coat of polish that is put on your nails to extend the life of your gel or conventional nail paint.

A base coat’s primary purpose is to ensure that your nail paint adheres firmly to your nails. This helps to keep the color from flaking or chipping.

Base Coat works in the same way as a glue or double-sided sticky tape does. It has a lot of adhesive resins in them, which clings to your nail plates and then produces a sticky surface over your nails for your nail polish to attach to. But this amount of adhesive resins are not enough to hold the acrylic nails.

So using a base coat instead of primer while trying acrylic nails is more likely to be counterproductive. A base coat can never hold your acrylic nails properly. That’s why you should not use a base coat as a primer for acrylic nails.

What is the best primer to use for your acrylic nails?

There are so many primers available on the market. You may feel confused to decide which one you can pick among these numerous options.

I personally like to use Modelones Nail Primer. However, you may have different choices, but I think choosing this nail primer for your acrylic nails wouldn’t be a wrong choice.

Basically, it is a duo set of Nail Prep Dehydrator & Bond Primer. Both items work very well for me.

I think this set is ideal for both professional and personal use. Because-

  • It can prepare the nail plate perfectly and make a solid foundation.
  • Ideal for making a strong adhesion bond.
  • Fast-drying nail primer.
  • It can remove any type of grease from the nail’s surface.

You can buy this duo set for only spending less than $10. If you want, you can buy only the nail primer, which may cost you less than $6.

While using this primer, I don’t find any problem. But if you have a strong sense of smell, the primer reeks horribly. The chemical scent may make you feel like you are inhaling poison. But the scent is short-lived. You won’t detect it once the bottle is closed and the polish has dried on the nails.

How to use primer for your acrylic nails?

While trying acrylic nails, you should follow some steps before primer applying.

  • In the beginning, you should wash your hands with lukewarm water. If possible, try to avoid using soap because soaps contain so much oil.
  • Then wipe the hand water well using a towel or tissue.
  • You have to take a nice, clean cuticle stick and gently push the cuticle right back.
  • If you have any trim cuticles, you can nip them off with a nipper. But don’t go too far that you cut your finger.
  • Now clean the remaining oil from your nail plate with acetone.
  • If you have tiny brown spots on the nail, you can easily remove them with a ceramic cuticle bit.
  • Then take a filer and file your nails.
  • You can use a fluffy brush to remove all the dust from filing.
  • Now you have to polish a dehydrator on your nails. It will dry faster.
  • And finally, you can go with your primer. If you use an acid-free primer, apply it to each nail with a nearly dry brush and wait 40-60 seconds to dry.
  • It’s OK to work on acid-free primer while it’s still somewhat damp because it won’t completely evaporate. You just have to make sure you only use a primer on the natural nail plate if you’re infilling.
  • In the case of acid primer, you need to apply 1-2 tiny dots of primer on the nail. It will then expand throughout the nail plate on its own. But before continuing with your manicure, you have to check to see if the acid primer has completely evaporated.


Do You Need A Primer For Gel Nails?

Primer is typically not much needed for gel nails. But if you want your nails to last longer, then you can use it.

Is a Base Coat the same as a Nail Primer?

NO, Base coat is not the same as a nail primer.

What can I use if I don’t have acrylic primer?

If you don’t have acrylic primer, you can make a DIY primer using Acetone and Isopropyl Alcohol.

Can you use a base coat as a top coat for nails?

Yes, you can use a base coat as a top coat for nails because the components used in top coats and base coats are often the same.

What happens if you don’t apply primer on acrylic nails?

If you don’t apply primer on acrylic nails, there is a possibility of lifting off the nails quickly.

Can I put polish over acrylic?

Yeah. You can put polish over acrylic.


I hope this article really helps you to find the answer to the question, ‘Can I use base coat as primer for acrylic nails?’

If you want your acrylic nails to last longer, then you need to show extra care. So don’t make the mistake of using the base coat as a primer.

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