This is What Happened When I Tried Powder Dip Nails

This is What Happened When I Tried Powder Dip NailsThe late 90s, prepping for the prom, was the last I had fake nails. That was the first and that last time — until last week. Sure, I’ve gotten many a manicure over the years, but adding extensions or fake nails was not something I thought I’d like. Then last week, I went in for a regular gel manicure, but my nails were super short. I asked the nail technician to explain the dip powdered nails I’d heard about. She explained the process to me, so I decided to give them a shot. After wearing them for just over a week, I definitely have formed my opinions on them. Given my novice experience with fake nails, I’ve done a lot of research about what a powder dip manicure, what that I thought I’d share for other novice nail wearers. So here goes.

What are Powder Dip Nails?

The powder seems magic, but the articles I’ve read say it is acrylic powder. A base coat is applied and then the nails are dipped into the powder. Another layer of polish is applied and the nails are dipped again. The chemical reaction that occurs between the polish and the powder means it dries instantly and creates a tough, durable layer immediately. The powder they used on me was clear, but they also come in different colors. The benefit of clear powder is that I can change my polish color as often as I want. I actually opted to get a gel coat on top, not realizing there was colored powder.

First, a base coat is applied, and the nail is dipped into a powder. The process is repeated a couple of times depending on how many coats you want. Then, the rough, powdery layers are transformed into a smooth, glossy finish once a sealant is applied. The best part: You don’t have to worry about the possibility of skin damage from UV lamps. Unlike the classic gel manicure, it dries instantly.

How are they different than Gel Nails?

The main difference is gel and dip is that gel manicures require UV lamps to harden and cure the polish. The powder dip nails do not require any curing and they are hard and dry immediately.

How are they different than Acrylic Nails?

Technically, the powder dip is an acrylic substance, so they are acrylic. The application technique is different, but I can’t comment on which one is better because I haven’t had the other type of acrylic nails in two decades.

How Long do Powder Dip Nails last?

I’ve had mine for over a week already and they look nearly perfect. I have a little bit of grow-out on my nails, but they look really good still. I’ve read online that the nails should last 3-4 weeks. I have no doubt they would last that long. I’m actually going into the salon in a couple of days to change the color, get a bit shorter, and get them filled.

What are the Benefits of Powder Dip Nails?

The major benefit is the longevity and also it’s a great technique to add length to the nails. My aesthetician glued a tip onto my natural nails and then added the powder dip layers on top of the extension. The powder dip nails technique gave me length and also the popular almond-shaped nails – I couldn’t quite get to the stiletto style. It just felt a little much for me.

What are the Drawbacks of a Dip Powder Manicure?

Just like gel dip or acrylic nails, the cost is higher than a basic manicure, but they will last much longer. Also, the removal process is very involved. I would not recommend removing them without the help of a professional. I’m definitely planning to have mine removed by a professional only, which is an additional cost. It also takes a pretty long time to get nail extensions with powder dip. If you like spending time in the nail salon, this might be a perk for you. But for me, it’s just too much time to spend every couple of weeks.

Final Reflections.

Having powder dip nails for a week was fun, but they aren’t for me long-term. Although I like how the extensions look, I can’t actually function in my daily life – everything is more difficult. Typing, for me with nail extensions, is a nightmare. It’s also more difficult to get dressed, cook, etc. For me, the disadvantages of completing daily tasks are not worth the cute look. In a couple of days, I’m going to get them shortened quite a bit and I am hopeful I’ll still like the finish and longevity of the powder dip nails without the hassle of the longer length.

If you already wear fake nails but haven’t tried the powder dip nails, then I’d highly suggest them. If you don’t like long nails, then I’d definitely skip this beauty trend. In the end, I still think I prefer my natural nails with gel polish. It feels the most like me and also works the best for my lifestyle.


  1. Brenda Cremer says:

    Thank you for this info. I get the gel nails done every 3 weeks so the idea of not having to put my hands under the UV lights sounds really good to me. I’m going to investigate this option at salons near my home!

    1. Thanks, Brenda! I’m so glad you found the article useful. Let me know what you think of the dip powder!

  2. I’ve heard of this but didn’t know the process. I want new color weekly so I don’t think this would work for me. I think it would be good though if your nails are really week.

    1. Hey! Actually, the powder dip can be clear – mine is – so then you can just paint your own color over it. It actually does work well for changing weekly, according to my aesthetician, because the polish sticks better to the powder dip layer than it does to your regular nails.

  3. Susan Boos says:

    I’ve heard of this and it’s supposed to be better for your nails than fake nails or the gel/acrylic painted on kind. What I really want to know is how are your nails after you took it off (weak, splitting, fragile?) and how hard is it to take off. Please continue when you do this. Thank you.

    1. Thanks for your comment Susan! I still have them on, but I’ll definitely write a follow-up story once I take them off! I personally find with the UV gel nails that my nails do become more fragile and weak. My nails are strongest when I keep them 100% natural, but that’s not very fun:)

  4. I did this option as a way to help my real nails not break so easily based on the suggestion of a nail tech. I explained that I did not want them to leave my real nails weaker or thinner. They didn’t last a full two weeks and started to chip and crake. My nails are thinner and weak. My daughter’s both had theirs done with the tips. Both of them have had the same problems. I read the reviews for the salon I choose and people seem to be happy with their business and the dip process but I won’t be spending that much money on them again.

  5. You can also get the dipping powder done on your natural nails without getting the tips. I had the dipping powder done for the first time 2 weeks ago and while the polish still looks pretty good my nails are growing out and I’ll have to remove the powder/polish pretty soon. Also because my nails are growing out I’ve had to file them 3 or 4 times now and I do love that it hasn’t affected the powder/polish at all. 🙂 I am a bit concerned how my nails will look after removal. I’ve had multiple salons say that gel will not damage your natural nails but it destroys mine every time.

  6. You can have power dip on short nails. I do. Mine don’t even extend out past the tip of my fingers.

  7. I am one of the lucky ones, I have naturally good nails. They occationally have a bad day and break but on the whole I don’t need to do more than a manicure at home. I was travelling this summer for three week and I thought I would treat myself to the powders manicure. They said it would be kind to my nails, adding vitamins etc. I had tips put on the two fingers that had broken at the time. The powder treatment did feel good at the timet and I looked great for the three weeks I was on vacation in July. I had them professional removed and have spent the last three months trying to get my nails back to where they were before I started.

    As I said, I do have good strong nails, and I won’t have this treatment again! For me, the price of damaging my nails isn’t worth the price I have paid trying to get them back to their natural condition.

  8. Constance Royval says:

    I was with my daughter-in-law as she was have gels done. All I ASKED for was a standard manicure & polish. When I picked my color–the language issues (IAM hoping) led to her filing my nail base in prep for the file. DRATS. They looked great-but as I now have growth showing and will NOT pay that fee.OFF they must come. What a project this looks to be. I will use my mini dremel tool to thin them down first-prior to the acetone soaking -once all is clean -I will be adding a clear coat from Sally’s to help thicken them back up to where they were. Darn waste of money when ALL I wanted was someone else to POLISH my nails. That’s what I deserve for talking to much with other clients!!

  9. Elinore McPhillips says:

    I have been getting powder dip nails done for awhile now. I only add extensions if one of my nails break, and only until the nail grows out to match the length of my other nails. My real nails are in very good condition underneath and the powder dip allowed my real nails to grow underneath while protected. I usually get 3 weeks out of them before having to return to have them redone. They do not do fill-in’s like the old style acrylic nails, they remove the powder each time and put a full fresh coating on. I have had gel polish on top of my powder dip nails but just like when I only did gel polish, I found the color was chipping off or cracking so I stopped with the gel polish all together. The powder dip never chips or cracks on me. I did try the long style nails (for a terrific halloween look) but found that I did not manage well with nails that long when on a keyboard too so I keep them at a reasonable length.

    In New York, powder dip nails cost around $35.00, gel $30.00 and $2.00 for each extension. My favorite look for the powder dip is the ombre nails but that is more costly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *