Are Dip Powder Manicures Better Than Gel Polish

Dip Powder Manicures VS Gel Nail Polish – Which Is Better?

Have you ever seen containers of powder colors at the salon and wondered what they're used for? Before you take the first dip, keep reading to find out everything you need to know about dip powder manicures, and if they're a good option for you!

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What Are Dip Powder Nails?

Although it may seem like a completely new and innovative product, dip powder is actually made of acrylic - a material that's been used in the nail industry for many, many years. This nail technique is so called because nail techs get their clients to dip their fingers directly into the jar of powder. Overtime, this method has been slightly altered (pouring the powder onto the nail instead) by some nail technicians due to sanitary reasons.

What's The Difference Between Dip Powders and Acrylic Powder?

The biggest difference between traditional acrylic and dip powders is that the latter is very finely milled. This makes it perfect for a sleek, easy application, which gives a similar look to gel polishes. 

During a dip service, you'll also notice there's a big difference with application. Dip manicures are applied with resin, which is essentially glue that helps the dip powder bond to the natural nails. With a traditional acrylic nail service, the powder (or polymer) is mixed with a liquid monomer to create a chemical reaction called polymerization. This makes a product that can then be applied over the nail plate alone as an overlay, or create longer or extended nails.

How Are Dip Nails Applied?

The application method may vary depending on the salon, but generally, they will include these main steps:

step 1

Natural Nails Are Filed & Shaped

First, your nail artist will trim your nails if necessary, file them to your desired shape, and clean up your cuticles. Next, your nails are prepped for product application by a light buffing by hand or an e-file (electronic file), and wiped clean with a nail dehydrator.

step 2

Resin Is Brushed On

An even coat of resin is brushed onto your nail plate. This step can be compared to applying a base coat. 

step 3

Powder Application

At this point, you may be asked to dip your nail into the powder container. However, this practice have been considered unsanitary by many. So some nail artists have altered this step by pouring the product onto the nails with a spatula or spoon instead. If there's any excess powder, a clean brush is used to dust off the nails and fingers.

For a nice, even coat of color, and added strength, the resin and powder application steps may be repeated. Some nail artists may also add a layer of clear to protect the color layers underneath. Finally, a coat of activator is brushed on from cuticle to free edge to set the product. 

step 4

Buff & Shape Nails

Your nail professional will now shape and buff your nails to get rid of any lumps and bumps.

step 5

Seal With A Glossy Finish

To finish the service, top coat specifically designed for dip powder nails is used. These products don't require UV light to cure. Instead, after the coat is applied, it takes up to 10 to 15 minutes to completely air dry.

If you don't have time to wait for the top coat to dry, your nail tech may offer to apply a gel top coat instead. This process will require you to cure your nails in an Ultraviolet or LED light lamp for at least 30 seconds to 2 minutes. 

Either method will give your nails a chip-free, long-lasting, and glossy finish!

Are There Lots of Dip Nail Colors To Choose From?

Yes, there are an array of colored powders to choose from. Besides many shade options, they also come in glitters and shimmers. If you're considering dip powder, good luck deciding on which color to go with when you're at the nail salon!

How Long Do Dip Powder Nails Last?

You should be getting your nails removed or redone every two to three weeks. Nails grow about 3.47 mm per month, so the grow out will become very obvious after three weeks of wear.

How Do You Remove Dip Powder Nails?

It's best to go to a salon to get your dip nail polish removed. This is because if you don't know what you're doing, it's easy to damage the nails. If you continue this over time, it'll weaken your nails, making them feel thin and brittle.

When picking a salon, it's also important to find one that cares about their clients' nail health because they can do just as much damage if they don't care. Choose wisely!

Here's how the removal process will look like:

step 1

Break The Seal

A medium grit nail file (100-150 grit) will be used to file off the shine and break the seal one nail at a time.

step 2

Soak In Acetone For 10 To 15 Minutes

Small pieces of cotton, saturated with acetone will be applied on top of the nails, and wrapped with aluminum foil. The foil traps in the heat, which also helps with making the removal process faster.

Once the product has broken down, it will slide off easily with the cotton and aluminum foil. If this doesn't happen, the nail professional will gently rub off the remaining product with a piece of acetone soaked gauze.

How Often Can You Get Dip Nails?

When applied and removed properly, this type of mani can be done continuously. There's a myth that you need to take a break from artificial nails and polishes in order for your nails to 'breathe'. FYI, our nails don't have lungs!

When done right, artificial nails actually could help you grow longer nails, and prevent conditions like nail biting.

Of course, you should avoid dip mani's if you're suffering from conditions such as onychomycosis (nail fungus) or any type of infection.

How Much Do Dip Powder Manicures Cost At The Salon?

Depending on your location and salon, you should expect to pay at least $30 to $50 USD for a this nail treatment.

Is It Safe To Use DIY Dip Powder Nails At Home?

There are now many DIY dip nail kits that nail enthusiasts. With practice on your nails over time, you can get dip nails that look pretty good from the comfort of your own home! Be sure to follow the manufacture's instructions properly to avoid causing any damage to your nails.

What Are Gel Nails?

Gels made for nail applications are essentially pre-mixed monomer and polymer products. They usually come in bottles, or tubs, with their consistency ranging from something similar to honey to solid creams. In addition, gels require an UV or LED light as a catalyst to cure or dry the product. 

Some reasons why gels may be a good option for someone include fast drying time, flexibility (doesn't break as easily on softer nails), and odorless products.

Are Dip Powder Nails Better Than Gel Manicures?

So let's talk about what you're all here for - which type of nails are better?

Some people swear by dip mani's because they claim that they last longer than gels. However, many factors such as lifestyle and nail type need to be considered. If you're trying to decide between the two, here are some dip mani pros and cons to consider:

  • Doesn't require an ultraviolet or LED lamp to cure - According to board-certified dermatologists, these devices have been found to emit harmful UVA rays which are linked to the development of skin cancer and premature skin aging.
  • Good alternative if you are allergic to gel products.
  • Durable - Can last about 2-3 weeks.
  • Could be fun and easy to do at home.
  • Some salons still have the unhygienic practice of dipping the nails into the jars of product.
  • Nails may become damaged with improper removal.
  • Some people are allergic to the products, which can cause irritation to the nails and skin.


Are UV Lamps Used For Dip Powder Nails?

Do Nails Get Damaged From Dip Manicures?

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About the Author Catherine

As a kid, I discovered the world of Japanese nail art through a magazine and since then, I haven't been able to stop thinking about anything related to nails! After following a more traditional educational path and earning my Bachelor's of Science in Food and Nutrition, I decided it was time to pursue my childhood passion. In 2015, I earned my diploma from Blanche Macdonald’s Nail Technology Program. After that, I got certified with YUMI Lashes and opened Sunday Beauty Boutique in 2017. These days, I'm focused on providing a 'no rush' experience to a select clientele, teaching as a nail instructor at Blanche Macdonald, as well as providing resources on beauty related topics to clients and estheticians on my blog.

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