Most of us who take the time and spare the expense to get a professional manicure will walk out of the salon hoping that our gorgeous nails will last forever. And sure enough, by day three (sometimes even by day two), chips and cracks start to appear.
Understandably, most people are searching for something better, and many find it in dip powder nails. With this type of manicure, you’ll get the longevity you want without the damaging effects of gel or acrylics or the harmful effects of UV lights.
What are dip powder nails?
Also known as dip nails or SNS (Signature Nail Systems) nails, dip powder nails are a type of artificial nail that, as its name implies, uses powder to create a sleek, durable finish. Specifically, the nails are dipped into a pre-mixed powder (or the powder is brushed on) and then topped off with a sealant. Ultimately, this creates a glossy manicure that’s more resilient and less likely to chip or break.
The benefits of dip powder nails
One of the most attractive features of dip powder nails is their durability and long wear time (in comparison to a traditional manicure).
But beyond their incredible durability, the benefits of a dip powder manicure also include:
- No curing with UV lights
- Less damage to your nails
- A wide range of color choices
The drawbacks of dip powder nails
While dip powder nails have a lot going for them, there are some drawbacks to take note of:
- May look bulkier than a traditional manicure
- Powders shared between clients can be unhygienic
- Improper removal could damage your nails
- Some people may be allergic to dip powder
Are dip powder nails safe?
While dip powder nails are an ideal alternative for those that prefer to skip the UV lights often used for setting gel nails or the fumes associated with gels and acrylics, we caution anyone getting dip nails to pay attention to the hygienic practices of the salon they’re visiting.
Reusing the same dip powder for all customers can be highly unsanitary, as it’s an easy conduit for passing nail infections between clients. So, when making your appointment, don’t be afraid to call ahead and ask about their methods.
It’s also worth noting that while some salons attempt to keep things sanitary by shaking the powder over a client’s nails, it doesn’t do much good when they shake it over the powder container itself and reuse it.
Ultimately, the best way to ensure that your dip powder manicure is safe and sanitary is to opt for a nail salon that separates the dip powders into individual containers for each customer and discards the unused portion. Alternatively, opt for nail salons that use a brush-on application method.
Cost, longevity, and removal process
Dip powder nails can cost between $30 to $100, depending on your location and the salon you choose. In terms of longevity, dip powder typically lasts anywhere between three and six weeks. But that varies from person to person, depending on their daily activities and how fast their nails grow.
As for the dip powder removal process, there are a few different ways to remove it, the most popular method involves soaking your nails in acetone for 10 to 15 minutes. Once the nails have been soaked and softened, you can use a wooden cuticle pusher to scrape the nail and remove the powder gently.
Remember that while acetone softens the dip powder enough to be manipulated, it also softens your nail bed, so use a light touch when scraping the nail. If you’re unsure how to do so, consider another trip to the salon for professional removal.
Dip powder nails vs. acrylic nails
|Pre-mixed powder and a hardening agent creates the nail
|Liquid monomer and polymer powder creates a pliable faux nail
|Matte or glossy finish
|Not typically damaging to your nails
|Can be highly damaging to your nails
Dip powder nails vs. gel nails
Dip powder and gel nails are both applied over your natural nail and require a curing process to harden and set. Both types of nails can be removed by soaking them in acetone, but dip powder nails are known to be a bit more difficult to remove. Aside from their similarities, there are some key differences between the two types.
|Nail tech starts with a base coat, dips your nail into a powder, and finishes with a hardening sealant
|Nail tech applies a gel polish onto your nail and then cures (or hardens) it under UV or LED lights
|Usually lasts 3-6 weeks
|Usually lasts 2-3 weeks
|Chips easily but more durable
|Less prone to chipping but not as durable
The best at-home dip powder kits
If you’re an avid DIYer and prefer to give dip powder nails a go on your own, here are a few at-home dip powder kits to help you get started.
This starter kit comes with everything you need to get started and has enough product for up to 30 sets. In the box, you’ll find:
- Bond, base, activator, and two sealers
- Base and finishing powder
- Two dipping powders in mauve, pink, and a glittery nude
- Nail file
- Fine grit buffer
- Wooden cuticle pusher
DipWell claims the powder will last three to six weeks without chipping, and if you’re chuffed with the results, the brand offers a comprehensive selection of colored powders, liquids, and nail kits for you to continue the journey.
Digging through reviews, we found plenty of five-star ratings, with many users noting that while the process is time-consuming, the results are well worth the investment. Others indicated the instructions were easy to follow, but their dip powder manicures lasted only two weeks.
Nailboo is another dip powder kit with everything you need for a salon-quality manicure delivered right to your door. In the box, users will find all the essential liquids, colored powders, build powders, and nail tools (including a four-way file, a cuticle tool, and removal clips).
One unique aspect of Nailboo is that it has starter kits for every budget. The basic starter kit ($68) includes one color powder, the gold starter kit ($98) has four, and the platinum kit ($140) comes with six.
Nailboo is backed by plenty of great reviews, and the brand’s website is loaded with helpful information and inspirational tips. But if you still want ideas for your next dip powder manicure, Nailboo’s Instagram offers endless options.
Anyone looking for a more budget-friendly dip powder kit for home use will find it here with Kiss Salon Dip Color Palette in Rose Garden.
Coming in at under $30, this small starter kit skips the accessories that we typically see in pricier versions, but it includes four highly pigmented powders so you can get the job done. The colors in this set include Light Nude, Rose Pink, Plum Red, and Gold Glitter.
Choose right with dip powder nails
Dip powder nails are more durable and chip resistant than a traditional manicure, and because they skip UV lights and icky fumes, they’re considered safer than gel and acrylics.
But while they may edge out other types of manicures in many respects, one major drawback is the unhygienic practices some salons often use. If you’re considering a dip powder manicure, be sure to do your homework when finding the right salon. Those looking for a safe, budget-friendly alternative may find it with at-home dip powder starter kits instead.