Introducing The Dip Manicure: A Fun Alternative To Gel Nails

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From the Russian manicure to blooming gel, we've been spoilt for choice when it comes to manicure trends. But forget gel nails and acrylics, because there's a new technique to get on board with in 2024.
Enter: dip powder nails.
Reported 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 session manicurist, Ami Streets. Here's what you need to know before booking in.

What are dip powder nails?

"Dip powder nails are temporary nail colors that are applied to the nail using an adhesive polish before 'dipping' the nail in the chosen colored powder," says Streets, which explains all those multicolored pots you see when you search the technique (also tagged as #powdernails, #dippowdernails and #dipnails) on Instagram. SNS is a brand name for colored nail powder, much like O.P.I is a brand name for polish and Shellac is a brand name for gel nails. SNS nails come under the dip powder umbrella.
"The method is: polish, dip, repeat," Streets added. "Repeat dipping is needed to ensure smooth, even and intense color, while any excess product is brushed off before a sealant is applied as a top coat, giving high shine and hard-wearing nail color."

What's the difference between dip powder nails, gels and acrylics?

"Everyone is always looking for an easier and more efficient alternative to traditional nail enhancements," explains Streets, "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 dip powder 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 ombré nails. "You can do this by being creative with application," says Streets, 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.

How long do dip powder nails last?

In some cases, dip powder 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 Streets. "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."
"Overall though, colors air dry quickly and are chip-resistant, lasting anything up to four weeks," Streets continues. "This is great because it gives nails time to grow while acting as a protective barrier."

How much do dip powder nails cost?

Depending on which salon you go to, the price will vary, but it's likely to cost you upwards from $50. Head to Fresha to discover salons which offer dip powder nails in your area.

How to remove dip powder nails

"Removal is similar to gels or acrylics, where the top layer of nail color 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 Streets 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 Phenomen Oil Intensive Moisturiser, CND Solar Oil Nail & Cuticle Conditioner and Sally Hansen Vitamin E Nail & Cuticle Oil.

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