As of recently, my Instagram feed has been filled with beauty gurus sharing videos of nails being dipped into colorful powders and magically becoming beautifully polished claws. Since I’m obsessed with having perfectly polished nails at all times, I had to find out what this was all about and how I could try it. So now I’ve researched it, I’ve tried it, and I’m here to tell you all about it.
Surprisingly, this “trend” isn’t new as dip powder nails have been around since the 80s. The name basically describes the process in which the nail color is applied. It starts with applying a base coat of bond and dipping the nail into the desired color – this is repeated a couple times depending on how sheer or opaque you want your color. Then, an activator is applied to the powder, you smooth it out, and apply a top coat to reveal smooth, glossy, beautiful nails that will last 3-4 weeks.
Dip Powder vs. Gel vs. Traditional Acrylics
Dip powder falls somewhere between gel nails and nail extensions because they’re all made of an acrylic base. Gel manicures are like pre-mixed acrylics and are cured with a UV lamp. Nail extensions, or traditional acrylic nails, are formed by combining the liquid acrylic and acrylic powder to form a gel. Dip powder is different because the powder is very fine, but it’s still bonded using a glue. Overall, they have a similar effect because they have similar ingredients, but with dip powder you can avoid UV lamps and inhalation threats from the acrylic powders.
Like gel manicures and traditional acrylics, dip powder does have to be soaked off. The longer you leave the color on, the longer it will take to soak it off. The minimum suggested soaking time is usually 15 minutes, but you’ll likely have to soak longer. You definitely don’t want to remove the dip powder by peeling it off because it will damage your nails and it will hurt – A LOT. Some people reserve dip color for special occasions because of the removal process, but so long as you care for your nails and don’t rush removal, you shouldn’t have any issues.
Sam Tip – I found these soak off caps by Kiss Nails at my local drugstore that have been a life saver when it comes to removing nail color.
I managed to come across a dip powder starter kit called Serendipity by Color Club at my local Walmart – it was around $25 and I’ve already used it several times. I bought the Classic kit which comes with a light pink (New-tral), classic red (Regatta Red – my personal favorite), and dark red (Feverish). As for the other starter pieces, it comes with a bond, activator, top coat, and buffing block. The instructions are on the box, so it’s pretty easy to follow.
In the past few months, I’ve gone back and forth from natural nails to acrylics and back. Dip powder is a really good middle ground for me for a couple reasons – the application process and the staying power. When I apply regular nail polish or when I do my own acrylics, it takes forever – I’m either waiting for the polish to dry or I’m shaping my nails for hours. As a side note, I do my own nails because I’m too lazy and cheap to go to the nail salon. I basically only go for my birthday, but I digress. Dip powder dries so fast and it lasts at least a few weeks. With this process, I’m able to protect and grow my natural nails because the product is strong, kind of like an acrylic overlay. The color doesn’t chip, unless you bend your nail and crack the hardened product, which I’ve done and it hurts like breaking a nail. It really does last a long time. The only con I would say is there can be lifting, similar to acrylics, but I think that just comes with the territory.
If you’re interested in trying dip nails, definitely go for it. It doesn’t pose anymore risks than getting a gel manicure or traditional nail extensions. I’m honestly still amazed with the process every time I do it, it’s just so cool. There are quite a few companies that sell starter kits, like Color Club and Kiara Sky, but if you’re nervous about doing it on your own, definitely head to your local nail salon to inquire.