get dipped: acrylic dip powder for nails

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I have not worn acrylic nails in about 4 years. Prior to that, I was at the nail salon every two weeks to get the popular pink & white nail service.

In the 4 years without acrylic nails, I fell in love with gel polish. Gel polish cured under UV light lasts longer than traditional polish.

There are two camps on if the UV light is harmful or not in even the shortest spurts under the light, nonetheless women line up for gel polish because it extends the life of their manicure.

Hold on y’all…I am going some where with this. 🙂

Recently I learned about acrylic dip powder. Nail techs are telling me this service has only been around the metroplex for a few months.

As quoted from Nails Magazine online encyclopedia: (acrylic dip powder is)

A nail salon service that entails an application of adhesive (usually cyanoacrylate) to the natural nail or to an applied tip, then dipping the still-wet nail into an acrylic powder (polymer). The process is usually repeated two or three times to build up a strong artificial nail, which is then filed or buffed into shape, then shined.

Dip powders come in a ton of colors, clear, and the proper shades to accomplish the look of a French or American manicure. The dip powder application process is faster than that of traditional acrylic nails and there is no, I repeat, NO funny, toxic fumes. Yes!!

After speaking with a few people who rave about acrylic dip powder, I decided to put the service to the test! In my research for this article, I visited two different nail salons. In doing this, I was able to experience two different techniques.

The first place I went to was Belle Vous Nails & Day Spa at Hebron & Midway in Carrollton. A new set of acrylic dip powder nails costs $35. Fills with the same color or a new set with a new color are also $35. Belle Vous has a lot of colors to select from and the brand they use names colors after major cities of the world. Yes, there is even a color named Dallas!

The application process is simple:
1) rough up the nail a bit
2) add tips if needed (I have long natural nails, I do not need tips.)
3) brush on the adhesive
4) dip in the powder
5) brush on the adhesive again
6) dip in the powder again
7) an activator is applied to bind the adhesive
8) nails are filed, buffed and shaped
9) a super fast drying, high shine sealant is brushed on, fanned dry and that’s it

In two weeks when your return, you can opt for the same color or a new color. If you opt for a new color, they rough the top of the nail – removing the sealant, then apply a piece of cotton soaked with acetone to the nail and wrap the nail with foil. The foil holds the acetone soaked cotton to the top of the nail to remove the artificial nail.

At the two-week mark, I tried a different nail salon – Mai Le Nails in City Salon Suites on Preston in Plano. A new set of acrylic dip powder nails costs $45. Fills are $35. The process at Mai Le is a hybrid of acrylic dip powder and gel polish.

Mai Le chooses to use only clear dip powder to build the artificial nail, following the steps mentioned above. After buffing and shaping the new acrylic nail, gel polish in any color desired is applied and cured under UV light. At fill time, they simply file off the gel polish, dip the nails in clear powder (the fill) and after buffing, apply the new gel color. This process keeps customers from having to come in contact with acetone at every visit. Some people don’t like the way acetone can be so drying.

Both of the techniques mentioned are great, yield amazing results and are affordable. I had no issues with nails lifting or anything. The dip powder process as a whole is pretty cool and makes you wonder what took the industry so long to create this.

I must admit that I like the Belle Vous process best for myself because I love the amazing color produced with the powder. The pigments are great! Plus the process is shorter because there is no application of gel polish. Truth be told, I really only like gel polish on my natural nails. Others may like the Mai Le process best because they want to avoid acetone at every visit. Either way, I am a HUGE fan of acrylic dip powder as an option. Dip powder is finer than traditional acrylic powder and the results are a more natural looking, natural feeling artificial nail.

I urge you to try acrylic dip powder nails at either of the locations mentioned here or ask about it at your favorite nail salon.

There are kits you can buy to do acrylic dip powder nails at home. I do not like the idea of this and caution you as this is a professional service and in my opinion, should be performed by licensed professionals. Yes, I know the at home kit may be only $15 and the service at your favorite nail salon may cost $35+ but please let the professionals serve you. It is not worth the risk of causing a mess and making your nails look awful just to save a few bucks.

Like I say about hair extensions, eyelash extensions and other luxury beauty services. Do not get them of you do not plan to manage the up-keep to always look great.


46 responses to “get dipped: acrylic dip powder for nails

  1. My concern is transferring germs and or bacteria from other clients. The techs dip your fingers and every one else’s into the same color powder container.

    • Yes, that is true. And the so called sprinkle method does no good either as it’s the same powder, just sprinkled on your nail.

      My thoughts are that finding a salon that does not dip into the original container or has some other way that is more sanitary is a good option.

      I don’t wear dip powder anymore, because I just like my natural nails.

  2. I am considering putting dipped nails on but I am wondering if I will have an allergic reaction like I do to gels, acrylics, and shellac My nail tech tells me this product is “organic” and will not cause a reaction. After reading this column I see gel and acrylic being used. Am I correct? does anyone have an answer for me?

    • Renee, I have heard the term “organic” used often. I have yet to really see anything that substantiates the claim. As for the methods described in the post, those are just the two ways I had my nails done for the story. As you know, an allergy is a serious thing. If I were you, I would not take a chance. It’s not worth the hassle. But, if you want to get a final answer, I say take the ingredients list to your doctor and ask him/her to do a little research to let you know if it is safe for you to use. You would want the ingredients of every product used…not just the powder alone. There are 4 bottles of products used along with the powder – prep, pro base, activator and finishing gel. I really hope you are able to get the answers you need. Best!

    • I am just reading this question, so I’m figuring you have already tried the powder, but if you haven’t give it a shot! I am allergic to so many things and even the gels make my nail beds burn, but the powder is a little better. The nail bed still burns sometimes, but they last a week longer. I’m able to go 3 weeks without breaking a nail. My job requires typing 90% of the time, so it is important that the nails are strong and short… By the third week, the powdered nail gel is still on…

  3. I just got a new set yesterday, but don’t really like the color. Can I put a coat of regular nail polish over my existing dip powder nails?

    • I hate that you don’t like the color. You can paint over it but I am unsure how well the polish will stay. I’ve never painted over my finished nails. Maybe go back to the salon and explain? They could help!

  4. I just tried the dip yesterday and I really like it other than the color…there was very limited color choice at the salon as they are just beginning to try this method. I came home and looked online and I see a very nice kit and many color choices from one particular site where you can order and do it at home. My question is, are there risks to your fingernails when doing it at home? I suppose nail techs go to school for a reason, but is that mostly to learn the techniques or also for the health and safety of the nails? It seemed like a very simple technique so I am wondering has anyone tried this at home?

    • I’m glad you tried it! I would suggest going to another salon and asking to see the color selection before sitting in the chair. My salon has hundreds of shades.

      You are right. There is a reason nail techs go to school and a huge part of it is health and safety. They are learning technique and health and safety during their training. And are testing on these things by the state for licensure. Salons are inspected for health and safety as well. So I guess you know I am not a fan of in home dipping. The technique is easy to learn, sure! It’s like when some women started doing their own acrylic nails at home to save money. Now you can watch YouTube to learn technique. For me, at the end of the day, there is always risk. If it’s a better color selection you want, as I mentioned, go somewhere else.

      Just like when getting other nail enhancements, not every nail tech will do your nails the way you want them. Dip powder is easy but I have had some lumpy nails because the tech was rushing and not applying product and then filing as needed. You may go through two or three people before you find the one tech that does your nails they way you want them.

      Give another salon a chance. As to see the colors before committing to a service. When you are getting your nails done, watch your nail tech, but also look around at how other nail tech are doing it.

      Quick story, I thought I had a great nail tech until I watched how meticulously the nail tech who sits next to her did regular acrylics. I started to wonder if she was as meticulous with dip powder. I knew my nail tech was going on vacation to Italy for three weeks so I scheduled my next appointment with the tech I had been watching. She did an amazing job on my nails. They are the best they have ever looked since I started using dipping powder. I am going to go to her a second time next week. If she does them the same again, I will be looking for a way to “break up” with my nail tech for the one who does my nails the way I like them.

  5. I had my first powder dipped nails today and Love them but not enough experience yet to say any more!

  6. Truth being told nail dipping has been around since the ’90s. To sell the product, companies do falsely advertise. Sadly, the vitamins they claim are only from the cuticle oil that is applied at the end (only to be washed off a few seconds later).
    I’m experimenting with the product as an alternative to acrylic nails. (I work with my hands a lot and break my natural nails like crazy, so I’m hoping for the best.) The nail tech who serviced me didn’t file my nails much. He lightly buffed my nails to remove the shine before application. Hopefully this system lasts and yeilds positive results. 🙂

    • Thanks for commenting, Betti! I would love to know more about the system you are working with. Please contact me via the contact page if you are able to share more.

      • Hi Leslie,
        The product I’m experimenting with is Revel’s nail dipping system. When watching my nail tech, the seemed easy enough to use at home (with practice of course). I did some research and this system is not much different from other systems outside of the brand name. The process, ingredient list, and marketing are the same as others.
        I’ll keep you informed as time passes with an honest review. I’m actually looking into purchasing this system for myself to try at home. I’ll tell you how that goes as well 🙂

  7. Pingback: Get Dipped: Acrylic Dip Powder for Nails – Part II | Pop Goes the City·

  8. I found the dip manicure by accident when my daughter & I looked for a new nail salon. I love it! No long drying time & they really last & are beautiful.. With my old acrylics I had lots of breakage. I am in southern California.

    • I’m glad you like it! I go back and forth with dip powder. I do like it. I just don’t think it lives up to the claims of keeping nails healthy and all that.

  9. I live in Albany, NY.
    I have been getting the acrylic tips for years. Tried the dipping technique at a different salon after being informed they did do regular acrylic. Was informed the ANC would make my nails healthier as the chemicals have vitamin e in them. Loved them. Today returned for a fill. Same nail technician but price up by $5.00. Not happy with them this time. Some nails are bumpy looking and too large. Should have walked out when I saw the bottle of vodka on his counter!

    • Oh, wow! A bottle of vodka!?! Yikes!

      Salons do that price shift thing aloo the time. I hate it! If the staff feels as though they have never seen you in the salon or you ask the price, they will discount it. The next time you come in, the price changes and it higher. Truth be told, in most areas, the price is about the same. I am less concerned with saving $5. I am concerned with how my nails will look. Regarding your comment about lumpy, bumpy nails – I hate when a nail tech is careless. They say dip powder requires less filling than regular acrylics. I agree in part, but I also think that some people are just careless during application. When application is reckless and it lumpy and bumpy, the finished product will reflect the same. I am currently still wearing dip powder. And from time to time my nail tech has an off day and I will ask for more filling and smoothing. Or to simply have them reshaped. She always does it and I leave happy. Don’t be afraid to make a request that they look more natural, smooth and shaped for your hands.

  10. I was a nail tech for many years and have been out of the industry for several years, I am wondering if the acrylic powder they are using is the same that is used fot scupltured nails.

    • If you are referring to sculptured nails with the liquid, it seems to be different when it comes to dip powder. It breaks down to a jelly like consistency when being removed. I don’t recall sculptured nails doing that…but it’s been years since I’ve had them. Ha!

  11. I just hot this done is Carrolton last week. As I look at my nails this morning 6 days later they still look as if they were put on today. I’ve been moving, so lots of cleaning and not being careful. I’m amazed because 1. The process was simple, my nails were pretty healthy going in but normally the shellac begins to come off in a few days. I stopped doing traditional acrylic because I didn’t like the smell and felt like it was damaging to my nails and had to do it too often. 2. The basic filing with an Emory board (roughing up process) was minimal and my nail was not destroyed! 3. No fumes 4. In and out quickly. I am concerned about the fill process. I wonder about combining the 2 ideas you mentioned. Getting it done in clear for having a French manicure done each time. I live in Oregon, I’ve not seen this here. Be checking it out and looking for new feedback from you Leslie.

  12. I had the dipped nails applied yesterday with tips for three broken nails glued on. I was use to the thin gel polish look and hoped this wouldn’t be too thick, but was disappointed. Also, my nail beds hurt from the aggressive filing I assume was necessary to get the shape (and especially the three tipped nail beds!). Not very impressed.

  13. How can I find a place on the east coast like upstate New York. I had them done in Florida and I just love them. My nails have never looked so good! Elaine Michael

    • I suggest popping into a few spots and asking if they do dipping powder. I’m sure by now, most upscale salons and some not so upscale ones are doing it.

  14. No these do not magically grow your nails, HOWEVER, my nails have NEVER been this long as they are now after using this system the past 3 months. My nails have always been very weak and brittle and break after a bit of length, even when i never got acrylics and without gel, genetics can be a bitch. Anyways, this makes your nails so hard and pretty much unbreakable so they can grow and grow and not break. When they took the polish off i was in awe at seeing my natural nails grown to acrylic style length for once in my life. They also last pretty much forever lol but of course i redo them because my nail grows out. Everyone asks me if they are fake nails i have on because it just looks and feels amazing. $35 every month or so is not smart on a college budget so i have purchased all the materials and the colors that i want for about a total of $200 and will be doing them myself. I highly recommend that to everyone.

  15. @ Leslie, thanks for your honesty. I was considering trying these. I cannot wear regular acrylic nails or gel due to severe damage to my nail beds and extreme lifting. I was told this would do no damage. My nail beds are just now back to normal after over a year of letting them heal from nail enhancements. (Gel manicure)

    • I understand. I am not of the school of thought that these are “healthy” for nails and they don’t “make them grow”. Your nails will grow with anything on top. This product makes no difference. Go with a regular manicure. That’s what I do. Even if I go 4 times a month, once a week, it’s less money and hassle for my nails.

  16. I was told that the dipped kind made your nail bed stronger and there were no chemicals on your nail.

    • Sadly, that’s a lie. They file the nail as if they are putting on regular acrylics. Also, there are chemicals…just no chemical smells like with acrylics. They are nice and I like them but I don’t wear them anymore because there really is no difference in how your nails are than with regular acrylics.

  17. I love this new process. Had it applied in Kansas City yesterday and it is beautiful and so natural!!

      • This is so true. I’ve heard different people come into my shop asking about damage. I don’t see any difference in any. They all have to have a roughed up (shine removed) nail bed, then the product added. Most all applications depend on how they are put on and removed. I don’t use a drill. I only file the product never the natural nail (I only file natural nail on application and new goth on a fill). I’d they are soaked off and buffed. Minimal damage has been to the Nail bed. I’ve been doing nails for 14yrs. I do a 2 week guarantee if they come off I put it on for free. I never have any problems with acrylic. It’s all in the application staying off the cuticle and side walls to avoid lifting

        • Hi! Thanks for commenting. I am actually wearing dip powder right now. I am doing it because some people believe I have been hard on the product by pointing out certain things in the marketing that just don’t jive. So, I am trying the product again but I don’t think my feelings will change. Stay tune for a new post on the topic in the coming weeks.

        • Candy, do you have a shop? Where is it located? I want someone who is careful when applying acrylics. Everywhere I’ve been, they just drill, drill, drill. When I finally decide to remove the acrylic, my natural nails are so thin it hurts to wash my hands.

    • Cindy, where in K.C. Did you get this prices done? What’s the address and name of the shop?

      • I got it done at Soho Nails on Englewood Road in the Northland. I really love them!. It will two weeks tomorrow & they still look brand new!

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