Nails » What Are SNS Nails, or Dip Powder Nails? Pros, Cons & More

What Are SNS Nails, or Dip Powder Nails? Pros, Cons & More

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The concept of SNS nails, or essentially dip powder nails, is not a new one. As children, crafts very much consisted of creating a base of glue and sprinkling glitter on top. This was used on just about any surface, and few ladies would admit to having never taken part in the glue with glitter manicure sessions. Who would have thought decades down the road, this childhood bit of creative fun would become one of the hottest beauty trends? Thirteen going on thirty has been given a whole new meaning!

Ahead, learn everything about dip powder SNS nails, their pros and cons, differences with other nail extension techniques, and more!

In this article:

What Are SNS/ Dip Powder Nails?

You’re confused, we’re sure, and rightfully so. Plus, what is the abbreviation for? Well, just like there is OPI, Sally Hansen, and other popular brands, you’re looking at an invention by SNS, or Signature Nail System, here.

Technically a nail dipping system where a gel base is applied to your digits before dipping it in a special powder, dip powder manicure is an interesting new way to show off your well-manicured and cared-for hands. The powder is available in a range of colors, including a natural pink and white for the perfect French manicure look. The results are beautiful and oh-so-natural in their finish.

Created by a salon owner with over three decades of experience in making women beautiful, SNS nails are all the rage and deserve the attention of every female with a love of color on her hands. It is not new, as already mentioned, with traces of it appearing as far back as the 1980s, but the past year has given it new life and is all influencers can rage about these days.

How Does Nail Dipping Powder Work?

SNS nails are pretty similar to standard nail lacquers or gel polishes, with the difference being that it doesn’t have the same strong smell of a regular polish and doesn’t require UV lights for curing.

What Are SNS/ Dip Powder Nails?

To use the SNS dip powder, you don’t need any additional skills to create that “fake nail” look. It’s why we’ll get to a section about the DIY version later on in this guide. After all, not everyone likes to self-pamper. Here is what you should know about how it all works in the first place.

Read Next: 15 Best Dip Powder Nail Kits to Use at Home

  • File and shape the nail before cleansing with a primer.
  • Apply a base coat of resin to your nail in a standard fashion.
  • Follow this by dipping the nail in the colored powder, one digit at a time. The process will need a few repetitions to get to your desired consistency and opacity.
  • Resin is added again before you dip your nails in the powder every time.
  • Some products will need an activator, which is brushed on 2-3 times.
  • Your manicure will dry instantly. Seal it with a top coat for extra shine. It’s almost reminiscent of lip powder.

In the end, don’t forget to snap a photo and show off those Insta-worthy hands of yours!

SNS Nails Pros and Cons

There are many reasons to consider using the dip powder SNS nails instead of your typical shellac or other forms of artificial nails. Which convinces you best?


  • Natural Look: Since it is a thinner product than most options outside simple lacquer available on the market, it sits more closely to the nail and appears very much part of your natural look.
  • Added Strength: As mentioned below, under its safety, the powder consists of chemicals that add to the strength of the nails and are quite a bit more durable due to its flexibility, particularly in comparison with acrylic options.
  • Light and Easy Application: It feels particularly lighter on the nail, easily created, requiring less filing, no drilling, and less of a mess overall. This is highly appreciated by aestheticians in salons working to make you positively glow with beauty.
  • Safest on the Market: There are no UV lights associated with the SNS dip powder application, nor does one need any other tools.
  • Infused with Vitamins: Most of the dip powder products available are not only on the natural side, but also contain vitamins A, D, B5, and E, alongside calcium.
  • Quick and Easy: The nails dry in seconds, the powder is easily dipped into, and the base coat is easily applied. The whole thing is so seamless, you can be in and out of the salon fairly quickly!
  • Long-Lasting: Finally, it is important to note that dip powdered nails last quite long, from two to three weeks, at that.
Powder Nail Dipping SNS Nails


Of course, with all the pros pointing you toward this latest trend, there are also a few cons to consider, and not all of them are easily dismissed.

  • Unlike acrylic nails, dip powder nails are a lot more expensive to get done. It might be quick and easy, but the product itself can get costly.
  • Overall, it takes longer to fix. While a regular manicure easily comes off and gets reapplied, this has a bit of a longer process to consider.
  • It is also hard to tell what the final finish color will look like unless you try one on a nail dummy.

Differences Between Gel, Shellac, Acrylic, and Powder Nails

Each product you use on your nails differs slightly from the other. Whether you’re picking a shellac, acrylic, gel, or powder nail session, there are a few things to consider before making your decision.

  • Ingredients: Dip powder nails are not so different from gels, as they both use an acrylic base, though the finer grains in the dip make for brighter and bolder colors
  • Bonding: Here is where dip powders differ most, as outlined in the above section. Where a gel or acrylic manicure requires a UV lamp to cure, dip powders use a special glue called cyanoacrylate to bind the manicure to the nailbed.

To understand which your preference is, here is a small guide on what to expect with each type of nail:

Gel Nails

You will need three steps for the application of a gel manicure – a base coat, polish color, and top coat. The gel is hardened under a UV light, as previously mentioned, for a few minutes. The overall concept is to add a layer to your natural nails that can be in the form of a nail tip for long nails or simply at your normal height.

Compared with acrylic nails, gels are easier and quicker to achieve and last a good while, up to a month. They are considered non-toxic and even safe for pregnant women. These are the perfect option if you’re going for a longer, stronger nail look. The cost for a set is anywhere from $60 to $80.

Shellac Manicure

Shellac manicure is a mixture of regular polish and gel, available in different colors, and is not as rough on you as fake nails. With around 100 colors to choose from, this is a top choice if you’d rather not get a nail tip and keep to your regular shape.

SNS Nails Pros & Cons

Shellac is a step up from simple nail lacquer and lasts a great deal longer at just under a month. However, you should consider that it would be hard to shape and get refills done without cracking the original. It is applied as you would apply a regular polish, and it is quite beautiful, however.

The cost for a shellac manicure is somewhere between $40 and $60.

Acrylic Nails

Containing liquid monomer and powdered polymer, the application of acrylics is a touch more complicated. An artificial nail is attached to your natural nails using liquid acrylic and powder. It can be shaped and reshaped to your heart’s content and hardens by simply exposing it to air.

It does offer a layer of protection, but the application may also damage your nail bed. It is best for creating your desired shape, however, and doesn’t require UV lighting.

Getting acrylic nails can cost somewhere between $35 and $40, with each refill costing another $20. Expect to do refills every two weeks to maintain the fresh look of your nails.

SNS Dip Powder Manicure

The trendiest one on the list this year, SNS is odor-free, UV-free, and nothing is glued to the nails. It lasts around two to three weeks, and the whole application process is quite easy and fun. It is best for those with sensitivity to chemicals or who have skin allergies.

To get SNS nails, you dip your nails in the powder and gradually add layers of resin that is a material made of acrylic. You first apply a reactant liquid to the natural nail that causes the powder resin to harden upon the dipping procedure. After each dip, you need to apply the reactant liquid, and you can go as many layers as you like, depending on the level of color opacity you are looking for.

The cost for an SNS manicure is anywhere between $30 and $50, with more complicated designs costing more.

Are Dip Powder Nails Safe?

No, you do not need to harm yourself in the pursuit of beauty! Considered perfectly safe, the SNS dip powder nails also lend strength to the nails with the organically processed chemicals of benzyl peroxide, titanium dioxide, and acrylic ester polymer.

What Are SNS Nails/ Dip Powder Nails?

Furthermore, the lack of UV light use to bond the addition to your nails is a blessing. Studies have shown that as little as eight trips to the salon for a shellac manicure can expose one to enough UV rays to cause skin damage.

At the end of the day, though, always ensure you read the ingredients of every product you pick up. While SNS nails are certainly better for you, they do include polymer, which is still something to be wary about and must be removed safely.

The only warning we’d like to issue is that if one has any form of contact dermatitis, it might be best to consult with a dermatologist before trying this new fad out.

How to Get SNS Dip Powder Nails at Home

While it is recommended to get your SNS nails done at a salon, there is no reason you shouldn’t also try to create the beautiful look at home. After all, the artistry of it and managing it just right will only add to your list of skills to boast about to your friends.

There are three steps to this. But first, ensure that you have your nail polish remover, paper towel, nail file, antiseptic spray (or alcohol), dip nail powder, and water on hand.

Step 1: Groom It

  • Start by removing any bits of old nail polish or dirt from your hands. Use a non-acetone polish remover for best results, allowing for a clean and clear nail bed to work on.
  • Sanitize with alcohol to remove any bacteria and ready the nail bed for beautification.
  • Using a nail file, smooth all around the nail, from the top to the groove to the cuticles. File the nail to the length you prefer. Be sure you remove all the nail dust the filing produces.
  • Add a nail tip if need be, but make sure it covers the whole of the top of the nail and doesn’t extend beyond one-third of your natural size.
  • Use a tip resin and hold firmly down to the root of your nails at a 45-degree angle for around 30 seconds. A nail file should be used to clean out the excess tips and allow you to move to the coating stage.

Step 2: Coat It

  • Paint on the border of the nails, not allowing it to rise towards the cuticles. Leave for a minute before you brush on the resin (the base coat). It’s recommended to use the belly of the brush to avoid strokes like a regular applicator.
  • The powder should be mixed in the container before you dip and roll your nails in it. With your other hand, tap at your fingers to get the extras shaken off.
  • You can repeat the process of resin, then powder until you love the thickness and consistency.
Powder Nail Dipping SNS Nails Costs

Step 3: Finish It

  • To finish things off, trim the edges of the resin tip with a nail file and shape to your liking.
  • Apply 2-3 coats of the activator that comes with your kit.
  • Finally, add a top coat as you would with any manicure and allow it to air-dry for a few minutes before washing your hands with mild soap and water. All that’s left is maintaining it for the weeks to come.

How to Do a Dip Powder Nails Refill

It is recommended to get a reapplication of dip powder nails done every three weeks or so. However, if you prefer a refill, we must say that it isn’t a preferred option. It would be best to completely remove the old color before reapplying it.

The old dip powder might mess up the look with the new one if you aren’t very careful. Some professionals are able to do it well, but it still won’t look as amazing as it should. How should it be done for minimal show?

  • Start by sanitizing your hands. Both the technician and the client should have it sanitized.
  • File off the old layer of dip powder with a file or drill.
  • Ensure most of the color is removed before you stop filing down.
  • Apply the bond on the filed nail before applying the base.
  • Dip the nail in the color powder and shake off the excess by tapping the nail.
  • Apply a base over the whole of the nail once more before dipping again.
  • Repeat the base and dip once again, but this time with a clear powder.
  • Seal with a protective coat and air-dry for two minutes.
  • File, shape, and trim the edges, smoothing the surface with a drill.
  • Buff the nails, sanitize with alcohol and apply the protectant seal once again.
  • Apply the top coat twice and let it dry completely.
How to Remove SNS Nails/ Dip Powder Nails?

How Long Do Dip Powder Nails Last?

SNS nails actually last up to two to three weeks and will probably need you to change it as your nails grow. While you can have your nail powder refilled, some prefer to completely remove them and start from scratch. This might not seem like a major difference for some, but it truly comes in handy. After all, it greatly reduces those trips to the salon throughout the year.

How to Remove SNS Dip Powder Nails Safely

Consider your fake nails similar to eyelash extensions. Putting them on isn’t the problem. There is no damage done at this point. But taking them off could potentially cause harm to your natural nails. You should avoid peeling the product off, as that will also remove layers of your own nail with it, weakening it and causing peels or breaks.

One of the safest ways to remove your SNS dip powder nails is to go to a salon and have a professional take care of it. She will most probably file it down with an electric filing tool, preventing damage. Once removed, you can opt for a new set of nails or just to have your natural look tidied up.

There are other options for the removal of the SNS nails, of course, and not all are completely orthodox. One fun way we discovered, though it might require a great deal of patience in the process, is the use of a toothpaste and baking soda mix.

Otherwise, it is recommended to grab a few tools to get started:

  • Pure acetone or acetone-free nail polish remover
  • Paper towels and/or cotton balls
  • Nail file and buffer
  • Bowl to soak in
  • Aluminum foil
How to Maintain Powder Nails/ SNS Nails?

The Removal Process

  • Start by filing off the topcoat with a regular, or preferably, electric filer. The topcoat will be completely removed and appear matte before you can proceed.
  • Next, you will need to fill the bowl with warm to hot water. Place your fingers in and allow it to soak for about 15 minutes, softening the nail layers. It isn’t necessary, but safer for the nails overall.
  • Soak in acetone by wetting a paper towel in it and adding to the bowl of warm water. Make sure the paper towel is soaked through with acetone and keep it on top of our nails for a good fifteen minutes more.
  • Alternatively, you can place cotton balls dipped in acetone and dripping with it on your nails and cover over with aluminum foil that has been pre-cut. Twist the ends to keep in place and allow for a complete soak for up to half an hour.
  • Once enough time has passed, see if you can wipe off the SNS nail with a water-soaked paper towel or cotton ball.
  • Note that instead of the acetone, you may use an acetone-free nail polish remover, such as a tea tree oil version. You will merely need to extend the time of the soak to ensure you get it all off.
  • Rubbing alcohol is also an option if you prefer to skip the acetone, but it will need a lot more patience and quite a bit more rubbing in between soakings.
  • Another odd one that is more of a hack is using slow-dry nail polish on top and wiping that layer off along with the top of the SNS that dissolved in it. Not the most ideal solution, but it helps peel back the layers nonetheless.
  • For dip powder nails that also have tips, soaking in acetone is your best bet to loosen up the adhesive used to attach them to the nails. Once soaked, you can gently push down on the tips and slide them off. If there is discomfort or pain, it’s best to just keep soaking. Pure acetone is the only option here.  
  • Never try to peel off the SNS nails, as that will cause damage to your nail beds.
  • White vinegar and hydrogen peroxide are also options some may recommend, but they will damage your nails.

Once you have successfully removed the SNS nails, you will need to show your nails some total love and care to help them recover. It is recommended to first wash up with soap and water before treating yourself to some essential oils, such as tea tree oil.

Sometimes it’s best to allow your nails to breathe for a few days before heading in for a manicure or pedicure.

Maintaining SNS Dip Powder Manicure

Maintenance is as much a part of your nails’ beauty as getting it done in the first place. This is the case for regular lacquer, for acrylics, and even for your dipped-in-powder nails. The colors are so very beautiful upon application, so you do not wish to lose that vibrancy.

How to Apply Dip Powder Nails/ SNS Nails?
  • For best results, use cool air to dry your dip powder nails. If you must use a blow dryer, though it is not recommended due to its quick-dry attributes, always finish off in cool air.
  • It is also not recommended to use a nail sanitizer. Instead, wash up with mild soap each time it’s necessary.
  • The addition of a top coat every few days ensures the look appears fresh from the salon for as long as possible.
  • Finally, it is best to avoid doing any sort of physical labor (such as gardening, lifting, or housework) without gloves. 

SNS Dip Powder Nails Costs at a Salon

Getting your perfect SNS nails isn’t cheap. On the contrary, depending on where you live and what products are being used, you can expect to pay anywhere between $10 and $80 for a full manicure, with it averaging around 25$ for the set.

Depending on the country or even the city, the price could differ greatly. Of course, that might be worth the investment at the end, particularly since it lasts so long, but it is certainly something to budget for.

As for the removal of the SNS nails, while some salons may do it for free if you had them done in the same place, you might also be charged around $5 for their removal.

The cost of beauty is almost always high.

Photos via @jenn._gonzalez, @saramyerrs, Instagram