Powder Dip Nails: The New Manicure Technique Taking Over From Gels

From jelly nails to tortoiseshell nails, we've been spoilt for choice when it comes to manicure trends this year. But forget gels and acrylics, because there's a new technique to get on board with in 2019 – powder dip nails – and it's gaining lots of traction on Pinterest, where searches and saves for the clever method have boomed by an enormous 442% since last year.
Reported by the trends hub to last longer than traditional nails and to be much easier to remove (which results in less damage to the nail bed and cuticle), the technique is as practical as it is Instagrammable, according to London-based session manicurist, Ami Streets. Here's what you need to know before booking in.
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What are powder dip nails?
"Powder dip nails are temporary nail colours that are applied to the nail using an adhesive polish before 'dipping' the nail in the chosen coloured powder," says Ami, which explains all those multicoloured pots you see when you search the technique (also tagged as #powdernails and #dippowdernails) on Instagram.
"The method is: polish, dip, repeat," Ami added. "Repeat dipping is needed to ensure smooth, even and intense colour, while any excess product is brushed off before a sealant is applied as a top coat, giving high shine and hard-wearing nail colour."
What's the difference between powder dip nails, gels and acrylics?
"Everyone is always looking for an easier and more efficient alternative to traditional nail enhancements," explains Ami, "and with no need to use an LED or UV light like gels, there’s less equipment involved in addition to hardly any fumes when it comes to powder dip nails," – and if you regularly book in for acrylics or gels, you'll know the smell can be pretty suffocating.
Similarly to gels and acrylics, you can achieve a number of different finishes, including glitter, negative space and fonts. "You can do this by being creative with application," says Ami, who suggests visiting a trusted nail technician for best results. "However, the repetitive nature of dipping can take a little longer, with less control over the precision of detailed designs," she points out.
In some cases, powder dip nails can be a little chunkier than gels and acrylics, but this can be controlled by limiting the amount of powder used. And with that in mind, it's important to note that the powder is essentially derived from acrylic. "Too much skin contact over time could potentially be a problem," explains Ami. "And on a hygiene note, make sure your technician doesn’t 'double dip' and that they always use a separate pot for your powder application to avoid cross-contamination."
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"Overall though, colours air dry quickly and are chip-resistant, lasting anything up to four weeks," Ami continues. "This is great because it gives nails time to grow while acting as a protective barrier."
How to remove powder dip nails
"Removal is similar to gels or acrylics, where the top layer of nail colour is gently buffed (either using a nail file or electronic tool) before being soaked off with acetone. That said, the adhesive and powder is more hard-wearing [than gels or acrylics] so it may take some extra soak time."
Too much time in acetone can strip nails and skin of moisture, so Ami suggests a slathering of cuticle oil after removal and throughout the duration of wear to keep nails as hydrated and healthy as possible. R29 recommends Jessica's Phenomen Oil Intensive Moisturiser, £14.50, and Nailberry's Little Treasure Nourishing Cuticle Oil, £17, for especially parched nails.
How to do powder dip nails at home
Not just an in-salon treatment, powder nails can be achieved at home – with a little practice. "There’s hardly any odour and even though it can be a little messy, the end result can last up to four weeks, just like in salon."
Your best bet is to buy a full kit. Try the Rio Quick Dip Acrylic False Nail Extensions Kit, £28. You can purchase additional powder pots online at Amazon to expand your colour collection.
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