If you’re looking for nail polish that will last you longer than a gel manicure but shorter than acrylics, then dip powder nails might be the one you seek!
Dip powder is a technique that uses acrylic powder to color the nails. The end result looks like a gel manicure, but it can last one to two weeks longer. The process is simpler and doesn’t need the use of UV light.
I’ve always been a fan of gel manicures. I like how shiny and durable they are. So when I started seeing photos of dip powder nails on Instagram, it instantly got my attention. I was curious, how can “powder” create beautiful, shiny, and durable nails? I knew I had to give it a try once my nails are ready for a manicure again!
So, what are dip powder nails?
Well, they look like gel manicures. The difference lies in the process and durability. One of the main differences is that with dip powder nails, the nail is dipped into a jar of super-pigmented, fine-milled powder. Also, the process doesn’t use UV light for drying. As for durability, dip powder nails can last three weeks to a month.
Dip powder nails have been around for over two years. I was surprised, too! I only discovered this manicure technique from social media recently. But hey, better late than never, right?
Honestly, mine worked just like my go-to gel manicure. It feels almost exactly the same except it’s not as flat as gel nails, and it does feel thicker, too. It’s not a big deal for me, though. I just want my nails to last long without cracking or chipping, and it didn’t within a month (until my natural nails were showing).
You may be wondering how I was able to get my nails looking perfect for an entire month? I was also surprised to see that I managed not to damage any of my nails. But the truth is, it’s not me, it’s the durability of the technique itself. It’s the same thing that made me fall head over heels in love with gel nails in the first place. You don’t need to worry much, and those dip nails won’t give up on you.
The sturdiness of the manicure depends on the preparation and following the right steps. Nail technicians mustn’t rush between steps. This can affect how the coats of powders and sealants adhere to the nail. This was the process we went through when I had mine done:
- Groom the nails – Push the cuticle back, file the nail plate, and file the nail into shape.
- Apply a thin layer of the bonder – This dehydrates the nail to remove any oil, making sure the dip powder adheres to the nail properly.
- Apply base polish – This is applied to ¾ of the nail, which is where the powder will stick to.
- Apply natural-colored powder – The nail technician used a brush to dust the natural-colored powder on my nails. This makes the color more opaque and even.
- Tap excess powder – Tap on the finger to remove excess powder and use a brush to wipe any excess, as well.
- Apply base polish again – Now, the base polish is applied to the entire nail.
- Apply colored powder – This time, the colored powder is used. The nail technician applied two coats (base-powder-base-powder).
- Use base and clear colored powder – Once my nails were dry, she applied a base coat. She then put clear colored powder as a protective layer to my colored nails during the filing.
- Seal, buff, and file – Apply seal protector on the nails. When the nails are dry, buff and file the nails
- Apply another coat of seal protector – This is to make sure the nail color is sealed properly.
- Apply two layers of top coat – The second coat is what makes the nails shiny.
- Finish with the nourishing oil – The nail technician puts nourishing oil on my cuticles to protect the skin.
Other things you should know:
- After the bond is applied, the nails will look dull and dry, this is only natural.
- My nails weren’t dipped into a jar of powder because it is more hygienic this way. But if you have your own DIY kit, feel free to dip your nails. Do so at a 45-degree angle.
- It’s normal for the skin around the fingers to have color, too. This is because the powder is super-pigmented. Don’t worry, the color goes away easily.
- When there’s an uncolored spot, don’t apply the base coat right away again. My nail technician made sure to dry everything first before applying another base coat. If you don’t let it dry, it will create lumps on the brush.
- If you’re not content with two top coats, you can always ask an extra one for more shine.
Based on my research, there are two common problems with dip powder nails. The first is that the powder may contain chemicals called methyl methacrylate or MMA. This is very unhealthy for the nails. Some nail experts believe that dip powder nails aren’t a healthy manicure technique, so they opt not to offer the service.
Another possible issue is that few people are not fond of acrylics due to the removal process, which is very damaging to the nail plate, too. This is another reason why some nail salons steer clear of dip powder nails.
If you do come across a salon that offers this service, make sure that they aren’t asking you to dip your nails into a jar. This jar can house bacteria. If they are, find another nail salon. Real nail experts know that powder should be dusted with a brush, instead of asking a client to dip their nails.
Dip nails can last around three weeks to a month, as long as the nails underwent the correct preparation and steps. Dip nails are rock hard, so it can be really durable.
The removal of dip powder nails is like how acrylic is removed. The nail technician files the nails and then soaks them in acetone to soften the polish. Unfortunately, this is one of the reasons why people are hesitant about dip, gel, and acrylic nails. The removal process can make your nails weak and brittle.
As for me, I make sure I give my nails some downtime between mani sessions. I usually get them removed and come back a week after to get them done again. I’ve learned my lesson. I used to do the removal and application back-to-back, then I noticed my nails become brittle. Also, I load up on hand cream and cuticle oil to keep my nails moisturized. They’ve done wonders for me!
Yes, you definitely can. Before I went to the nail salon, I did consider buying a DIY dip powder kit instead. It was cheaper, considering it will last me longer. Yet, I wanted to see the process first-hand before I try doing it myself. So yes, there surely are great at-home kits out there. And they come with clear instructions, too.
What does a DIY dip powder nail include (can vary):
- Base Polish
- Seal Protect
- Top Coat
- Nourishing Oil
- Natural-colored powder
- 2-3 colored powder + accent
- Clear-colored powder
- Brush, nail file, or other nail accessories
Are Dip Powder Nails Better Than Acrylics or Gels?
Truth is, anything you put on your nails, whether it’s gel, acrylic, dip powder, or even regular nail polish can do damage on the nails. Even the removal process can do a number on the nails, too.
But if you want to know if dip powder nails are better than gel or acrylic, it boils down to preference. If you want a manicure session that takes a quicker time to dry, then yes, dip powder nails get the point. If you want something that lasts longer than gel but shorter than acrylics, dip nails are for you.
But if you’re going for a smoother texture, gel nails are the way to go. And if you’re looking for something that will last you more than a month, go for acrylics.
It’s a great thing that we now have more options for our nails. And I suggest that you give dip nails a try. Decide from there if it’s something you want done regularly. Every manicure technique has its ups and down, so it’s really up to you what suits your needs best.
As for me, I have no complaints about my dip nails. I was actually entertained throughout the process. As much as I love the gels, I can say that these dip nails are giving gels a run for its money!
Dip nails cost the same as a gel manicure. You can expect it to cost around $30-50.
While I didn’t experience any chipping or cracking, my nail technician did explain to me that cracks only happen when:
- application of colored is too thick; thin coats make it stronger
- over-filing the nails
Can you fill dipped nails?
Absolutely! One of the great things about dip nails is that you don’t have to completely remove everything if you want to fill it. Nonetheless, to make it look perfect, proper prep is essential. Here are the steps:
- Push the cuticle back.
- Use a medium-coarse grit to sand the nails to remove the color and any lifted areas.
- Smooth down the remaining product in the cuticle area to avoid any gaps. You need a smooth transition area for the powder to adhere properly.
- Apply the bond on the natural nail only; no need to use natural-colored powder.
- Follow the exact same steps above after applying the bond.
How often should you get your dip nails done?
That ultimately depends on how long your dip nails last. If it lasts you a month and the nail looks unbalanced already, book for an appointment to fill your dip nails. It’s faster and easier to do the fill rather than a fresh start.
If you want a complete removal, you can book a removal session first. After removal, give it a week to let your nails rest and then schedule another session.