We turned to the professionals for advice on how to tackle this difficult but vital duty.
Dip powder nails have several advantages, but arguably the most appealing is that they last longer than most other polishes (even your beloved gel). Dip powder polish, often known as dip or SNS, is a popular brand that combines nail resin (similar to glue) and coloured acrylic powder to create a long-lasting manicure that can last three to five weeks if cared for properly.
“A particular resin-type glue is used in dip manicures to seal in the colour,” says cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson. “Acrylics are a powder and adhesive mixture that may be sculpted and shaped before being put to the nail and drying to set. These are excellent for lengthening or changing the shape of your nails.” Dip is the strongest and lasts the longest, according to Robinson, due of the powerful adhesive.
The disadvantage? Dip nails, which are made up of numerous layers of resin and powder, create a thick manicure that is difficult to remove, especially if you do it yourself at home.
If you can’t get to a salon to have them professionally removed, don’t worry: there is a way to remove dip powder nails safely at home without damaging your natural nails. Experts offer advice on how to achieve it.
What’s the difference between gel and dip powder?
Dip powder and gel differ in many aspects, which is crucial to understand when it comes to safe removal. “The primary differences are application and strength,” explains Rita Remark, Essie global lead educator and nail artist. “A moist brush is used to apply the gel, which is then cured under an LED or UV lamp. Acrylic powders are layered over a moderate nail glue to create dip powder.”
As a stronger and firmer nail covering, a dip powder manicure tends to last longer on softer, weaker nails. However, this implies it may be more difficult to remove at home. Remark explains that gel is more flexible. Robinson agrees, stating that dip is a “really strong adhesive” that is more difficult to remove outside of a salon.
What tools are required to remove dip powder?
If you’ve ever attempted to remove a gel manicure at home (or given yourself a DIY manicure), you’re familiar with the list of instruments required:
- Clippers for nails
- A double-sided file with two grits (preferably 100/180)
- A buffer for nails
- Acetone pure
- A metal cuticle pusher or an orange stick
- A bowl
Because the acetone fumes can be quite intense, you should set up shop near a window or a fan. Remember to use a towel to protect the table or surface you’re using from stains or scratches.
- First, cut and file
Take your nail clippers and trim the extension down to your natural nail length if you have any extra length from the dip powder. This is a technique for speeding up the entire procedure, according to Ashlie Johnson, a nail artist in Los Angeles.
Next, wipe away the seal (the shiny topcoat of your dip manicure) with the coarse side of your nail file (100 grit, a label that measures coarseness, which you want to remove dip). “The thinner the layers of (dip powder), the less time you’ll have to soak your fingertips afterwards,” Johnson explains.
2. Step 2: Soak Your Nails with Acetone
To protect your skin before soaking your nails in acetone, nail artist Amy Le recommends rubbing petroleum jelly on your fingertips and cuticles, avoiding the nail bed. She says, “This will help keep the skin around your nails from drying out.”
Pour the acetone into a dish and submerge both hands in it, totally submerging each nail (if it’s too crowded, use two smaller basins). You’ll need to soak your nails for at least 10 to 20 minutes to release the dip powder, according to Le. The dip should readily peel off after you’re finished. If it still doesn’t work, she recommends soaking your nails for another five to seven minutes. During the removal process, remember that patience is your friend.
We have some bad news for you if you wish to remove dip nails without acetone. When we questioned the experts, they all said the same thing: don’t. “An alternative is to file the product off, but this takes time and runs the danger of overfiling and injuring the nail plate,” adds Remark.
Be cautious of what you read on the internet or see on YouTube: “natural” ingredients like distilled white vinegar and olive oil simply do not have the qualities to dissolve dip powder. If you truly don’t want to use acetone, go to your nail salon and have them use an e-file safely, advises Remark.
- Gently remove the dip from your nails.
Take the metal pusher or orangewood stick and lightly scrape off the polish from the cuticle area to the end of your nail as the dip loosens and begins to flake. Monserrat Rodriguez, nail artist and owner of Shears and Laque manicure salon in Rancho Cucamonga, California, says, “The dip should come off without placing too much pressure on your nail bed.”
- Shape and buff
Don’t be concerned if a few specks of polish remain. Rub them off gently with your buffer. Buffing your nails will also level out the texture and provide a flawless finish. If your nails are jagged and uneven, use a 180 grit nail file to shape them into your preferred form, but keep the length short, especially if they appear weak. According to Johnson, this is the most effective approach to keep damaged nails from breaking or splitting.
- Massage and hydrate
Last but not least, replenish all of the moisture you’ve just lost. Because the acetone soaking and file, as well as the excessive hand-washing and hand-sanitizing, will likely dehydrate your nails (and skin), apply your favourite hand creams and oils liberally.
Johnson like Byredo hand creams, while Le prefers Drunk Elephant’s Virgin Marula Oil. “I’m a great fan of perfumes,” Johnson adds, “especially now that a scent can really elevate my mood.” She claims that “the tiniest indulgences make a great impact.” Allure editors recommend Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Hand Gel Cream and Love Beauty and Planet’s Murumuru Butter & Rose Delicious Glow Hand Cream for more economical options.