What Is a Dip Nail? And How Can You Get It?

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Dip nails have been taking the nail world by storm as an alternative to acrylics and gels. But what are dip nails, exactly? And how do you get them? We went to a professional manicurist for the answers.

To start, dip nails aren’t entirely new. “Dipping powder has actually been around for several years,” says Nettie Davis, owner of Vanity Projects nail salon in New York City. “The new trend is using it with LED curing instead of traditional UV curing.”

Though the process is slightly different from what you might be used to if you’ve had gel or acrylics before, Davis says it’s actually pretty similar. First, your nails are primed and then dipped into a colored powder (you can choose whichever color you like). The next step is dipping it again into a clear sealant powder followed by another round of priming—and repeat until your desired thickness is reached (usually three to four coats). Then, they’re cured under an LED light for 30 to 60 seconds and you’re done!

Dip powder nails are here to stay. And while they may take a little extra time to apply, they’re worth the effort, because they look amazing and can last two to three weeks.

What Is a Dip Nail?

Dip powder nails are essentially liquid nail polish in a jar, but the color is much more pigmented and the texture is more thick. If you’ve had acrylics before, think of dip powder as acrylics’ non-toxic alternative.

How Do You Get Them?

The process for dip powder nails is fairly similar to getting gel or gelish nails done. Here’s exactly how it works:

The technician will begin by filing your natural nails down and shaping them, following with an application of a clear base coat. Next you’ll dip your nail in the color powder of your choice and then repeat that step two or three times to get the desired color saturation, building up layers of pigment on your nail. Finally, you will seal the look with a clear top coat and buff your nails so they’re all smooth and even.

Dip nail manicures are a relatively new service at professional nail salons. The dip powder itself is a combination of acrylic and polymers that harden when exposed to air. The powder has been around for much longer than the manicure service — it’s been used as a base for artificial nails for years.

The process of applying the dip nails is fairly simple: It starts with some shaping and filing on the natural nail bed, followed by a base coat and application of the powder (which comes in many different colors). The process is repeated until you get the desired look and length. The nails are then sealed with a top coat, which seals in the shine.

If you already have some experience with acrylic nails, this might sound pretty similar to you. But there are key differences between the traditional acrylic method and dip nails. One of the main things that sets them apart is how each technique strengthens your natural nails. With acrylics, both the liquid monomer and polymer powder are extremely harsh on your natural nail bed; they have to be filed down so they can adhere onto your nail bed properly. Dip powders, however, are just applied to the top of your natural nail without any filing required. That means that dip nails don’t damage

First, let’s distinguish between dipping powder and dip nails. Dip nails are a newer form of artificial nail that is gaining popularity. It’s similar to acrylic nails, but instead of sculpting the nail with a brush and liquid monomer, you “dip” it in a powder that hardens when exposed to air. Dipping powder is just the powder you use for dip nails; it comes in a variety of colors and brands.

Dip nails are said to be more durable than gel manicures (which must be cured under an LED or UV light), so they last longer. But this isn’t necessarily the case: Dip powder has a reputation for chipping if you don’t apply it correctly or if your nail beds aren’t healthy enough for it to stick to. There’s also a chance that dipping your hands in chemicals will cause an allergic reaction, as with any new product you’re introducing to your skin. And since the process requires acetone, which is drying, your nails could be left weak and brittle after removal.

Still want to try them? Head over to your local salon! You can choose from pre-applied powders, like OPI Powder Perfection ($25) or CND Shellac ($50), or opt for an at

“The nails are dipped into a pigment powder and acrylic liquid mixture, then placed in a UV light for two minutes to cure. The process is repeated to build the nail up, and the excess powder is brushed off.”

It’s also a lot easier than it looks. “I was amazed by how easy it was to apply,” says Cosmopolitan.com beauty writer Kelsey Stiegman, who gave her nails a dip for the first time. “I’m terrible at painting my nails, so I was worried that I’d mess it up and have to start all over again. But it went on so smoothly.”

And the end result? “My nails are super strong and shiny,” says Kelsey. “Plus, each coat dries really quickly, so you don’t have to worry about ruining your design while applying multiple coats.”

Make sure your nails are clean and prepped as you normally would for any manicure. Buff, file, and push cuticles back. Then after washing hands, apply a base coat and let it dry. Dip nails are typically applied to bare nails or with a base coat, but some people do apply them over gel polish.

Next, paint your nails with the color of your choice (you can use any nail polish you already have) and let it dry completely before moving on to the next step. This will be the bottom layer of the ombre effect, so make sure you like it!

Did you know that you can have a gel-like manicure without using a UV light or damaging your nails with acrylics? It’s called dipping powder and it’s the newest trend in manicures.

Dip nails are essentially nail enhancements created by “dipping” your nails into a powder, rather than painting them. You start with a base coat and then dip your nails into the powder before sealing it all with a top coat. But what is the difference between dip powder and acrylic? The key difference is that dip powders don’t require any liquid monomers, which are what make traditional acrylics harden. Instead, they use polymers in their formulas, which link together to form a solid when mixed with other chemicals.

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