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Can you change the color in a nail fill?

Changing the color of your nail polish is a fun way to update your look. If you get regular nail fills to maintain your length and shape, you may be wondering if you can change the color at your fill appointment. The short answer is yes! Here’s what you need to know about changing your nail color for a fill.

What is a Nail Fill?

A nail fill is a maintenance appointment to refresh your nail enhancement between full sets. The purpose is to fill in any grown out areas and replace any nails that may have broken or popped off. Fills allow you to maintain the length and shape without having to remove and reapply a full set.

During a fill, your nail tech will:

  • File off the surface shine of your nails
  • Trim and shape the free edge
  • Remove any lifted or damaged product
  • Apply new product to fill in grown out areas
  • Buff and shape as needed
  • Apply topcoat for shine and protection

The process preserves your natural nails underneath and allows you to go longer between full sets. Fills are generally needed every 2-3 weeks to maintain your enhancement.

Can You Change the Color?

The short answer is yes! Changing your polish color at a fill appointment is totally fine and commonly done.

During a fill, your nail tech is already removing some of the old product and applying new. This provides the perfect opportunity to modify the color. A different shade can give your nails a brand new look without having to remove and reapply the entire set.

Some things to keep in mind when changing colors for a fill:

  • Let your nail tech know ahead of time that you want to change colors. This allows them to plan accordingly.
  • Bring the new polish with you to your appointment. Your salon may not have the exact color you want.
  • Keep in mind that darkest colors may require extra coats to cover the old color underneath.
  • Glitter polishes can also be trickier to apply over an existing set.
  • Know that light colors like whites and nudes may still show a hint of the color underneath.

As long as you communicate with your nail tech, you should be able to change your polish color seamlessly at your next fill appointment.

When to Change Colors

The best time to change your nail color is when you are due for a fill. Trying to change polish in between fills can damage the nail enhancement.

Here are some tips for timing your color change:

  • Plan your color change around your regular fill schedule, about every 2-3 weeks.
  • Avoid trying to change color too soon after a fill, as the nails are still curing and bonding.
  • Don’t pick off polish between fills, as this can cause lifting and cracks.
  • If you want seasonal colors, plan your fills accordingly. Get fall shades in September/October and summer colors in June/July.
  • Holiday manicures can be timed 1-2 weeks before an event.

Coordinating your color change with your scheduled fill is the best way to safely switch up your style.

How to Change Colors

When you’ve scheduled your fill, here are some tips for changing polish colors:

  • Pick your new color. Choose a shade that complements your skin tone and fits the season or occasion.
  • Communicate with your nail tech. Let them know ahead of time you want a color change.
  • Bring your new polish. Provide the exact color you want applied.
  • Remove old polish. Have your nail tech fully remove old polish to reduce color transfer.
  • Apply thin base coat. This helps the new color adhere to the nail.
  • Apply new polish. Your nail tech will neatly apply your new shade.
  • Finish with topcoat. This seals in color and provides protection.

With some preparation and communication, your nail tech can expertly change your polish color at your fill visit. Be sure to care for your refreshed nails at home between fills.

Caring for Nails Between Fills

To help your new nail color last between fill appointments:

  • Use cuticle oil daily to hydrate nails.
  • Avoid picking at your polish.
  • Use a gentle nail brush when washing hands.
  • Wear gloves for cleaning, gardening, etc.
  • Keep free edges filed smooth.
  • Watch for early lifting or cracks and get a repair promptly.

Proper care will help your color stay vibrant until your next fill. Be gentle with your nails and avoid damaging the enhancement.

How Much Does it Cost?

The cost of changing your nail color at a fill appointment is typically included in the standard fill price. Here are some considerations regarding cost:

  • A regular fill may range from $25-$50 depending on your location.
  • Changing the color is generally included as part of the fill service.
  • Some salons may charge slightly more for a dramatic color switch, like black to white.
  • Bringing your own polish typically doesn’t affect the price.
  • Extremely complex nail art or embellishments may incur an upcharge.

Check with your individual nail salon for their pricing policy on color changes during fills. A standard color swap is usually considered part of the standard service.

Pros and Cons

Changing your polish color at your fill has several advantages:


  • Saves time and money over removing and reapplying a full set
  • Less risk of damaging the natural nail
  • Easy way to change your style without starting over
  • New color gives nails a fresh look
  • Can coordinate color with seasons, holidays, vacations, etc.


  • May need extra buffing and coats to fully cover old color
  • Previous dark colors can still peek through lighter shades
  • Glitters and special effects polishes may be trickier
  • Can’t completely remove old polish if changing to a starkly different color

As long as your nail tech knows what you want ahead of time, the pros generally outweigh the cons for changing polish at your fill.


Can you change from acrylics to gel or dip at a fill?

No, a fill is meant to maintain the same enhancement system. Switching between acrylic, gel, dip, etc. requires fully removing and reapplying a new set. Fills are only for refreshing your current system.

Will dark colors damage my nails?

Dark polishes won’t damage your nails as long as they are applied and removed properly by a professional. Very dark shades may show through lighter polishes slightly at fills though.

How soon can I change colors after a fill?

It’s best to wait until your next scheduled fill, about 2-3 weeks. Changing polish too soon can cause the enhancement to lift or crack.

Can I bring my own polish?

Absolutely! Most salons welcome you bringing your own color. Just be sure it’s a new bottle so your nail tech can ensure proper hygiene.

In Summary

Refreshing your nail color helps give your nails a brand new look without having to start over. Coordinating a polish change with your regular fill appointments allows you to safely switch up your style.

Discuss your desired colors with your nail technician and properly care for your enhanced nails at home. With some planning, you can easily change your polish at your next fill for fashionable, beautiful nails.

So go ahead and shake up your nail color! A small switch can make a big difference.