Is Dip Powder Good For Your Nails?

Is Dip Powder Good For Your Nails? I Mirra Skincare

Are you a dip, gel, or acrylic type of person? There are so many different types of manicures out there these days and with all of your friends and nail techs telling you different things, it’s difficult to determine which is healthy or the best option for your nails. Recently, dip nails have been marketed as a healthy alternative to acrylic manicures. But hold on, is dip powder good for your nails?


1. What is dip powder?

2. What’s in dip powder?

3. How is dip powder used?

4. Wait, is dip powder good for your nails?

5. How to give yourself a dip manicure

Key Points

  • Dip powder is essentially finely milled powdered pigment that is applied in layers to the nail using super glue.
  • Dip manicures are typically done by literally dipping the client’s hand into the jar of powder which is extremely unsanitary. But recently more people have been applying it with a brush application technique identical to how they would with acrylic powder.
  • The only health advantage dip manicures have is they don’t use a UV lamp. Other than that, dip powder is not healthy for your nails
  • Dip manicures are best done at home to ensure proper sanitation and to reduce the risk of over filing your nails

What is dip powder?

So, what exactly is dip powder? For starters, dip powder nails can be referred to as SNS, which stands for signature nail system. It’s basically a nail “polish” in powder form that your nails are then dipped into in layers following the application of a monomer or glue. The powder is a finely grated pigment powder that is dyed and comes in a wide variety of shades. 

What’s in dip powder?

So, the dip powder itself isn’t made up of anything special. It’s actually the exact same powder used for acrylic nails but is marketed differently because they use a different adhesive. 

The concerning part about dip powder nails is the glue. Dip manicures are done in layers, followed by a coat of adhesive for the powder to stick to. The adhesive is called cyanoacrylate, and it’s the main ingredient in, get this, Krazy Glue. Nail salons are basically using super glue that you can find at your local art store or Home Depot on your nail beds. Obviously this sounds dangerous and not healthy at all, and it’s not really. Strong adhesives like this are not meant to use on humans and can definitely cause temporary damage to the nail bed.

How is dip powder used?

Typically, a dip powder manicure at a salon is done by physically dipping the nail into the container that holds all of the powder. This is not how it’s supposed to be done considering that everyone’s nails have now been in the same powder making the process extremely unsanitary. Some nail techs will pour a smaller amount of powder into a different bowl and use just that for their clients and then dispose of any excess dipping powder.

But in light of recent concerns due to COVID and other health issues, the new common practice is to apply the dip powder using a brush. It may be confusing for you as it was for me because if you’re applying it with a brush then it’s not really “dip” anymore. This goes to show how it is actually the exact same thing as acrylic powder and with the brushing technique, it’s applied exactly like acrylic as well. 

Wait, is dip powder good for your nails?

Acrylics have been on the market for years, so the fact that dip powder manicures are basically the same thing may be a surprise to some people, but is there anything actually wrong with it? Well, the short answer is yes. The main issue is the claims associated with dip powder manicures. Nail salons and independent nail techs advertise dip powder as a healthier alternative to acrylics and gel manicures, but in reality, it’s the same ingredients and can even be worse for your nails.

Millions of people get acrylic manicures and swear by them. But, the truth is, if they were to take their acrylics off and let their bare nails be exposed, they’d probably break right off within a matter of days. Almost all dip manicures are prepped and removed using the electric file.

The electric file isn’t inherently bad for your nails, but filing your nails too thin will cause them to weaken and break off easier. The constant filing and layering on thick glues and powders will not allow the nail to heal itself and grow thick and healthy again. So, while it may not appear as unhealthy as acrylics, it still can weaken the nails further and cause frailness and brittleness.

The one major benefit that dip powder manicures do have is they don’t require a UV light to cure the polish. Gel and regular manicures use different variations of UV lamps to cure and set the polish in place so that it lasts for at least two weeks. For years, researchers have tried to find evidence that constant exposure to these UV lamps causes cancer. While there is no conclusive evidence that states this type of exposure directly causes cancer, it is believed to increase the risk of developing cancer later on. The dip powder manicures eliminate the need for a UV lamp, which therefore leads people to believe it is a healthier alternative.

How to give yourself a dip manicure

You most definitely can give yourself a dip manicure, in fact, many people find dip manicures easier to do yourself because they don’t require any precise painting. It’s also significantly more sanitary to do dip manicures at home to ensure that your nails and your nails only are being dipped in the powder. It’s also easier to control how much of your nail you are filing and what specific filing techniques you use.

Between over filing your nails, the monomer, and the thick layers of glue and powder not allowing your nail bed to properly grow - dip powder manicures are not the best for your nails. Not to mention, they can be quite expensive. Most salons charge around $30-$50, that’s more than they charge for a typical gel manicure. So, if you absolutely love dip and think it lasts the longest on your nails and nothing is going to stop you from getting it done, at least do it yourself. It’s cheaper and safer for you and your nails.

Dip powder manicures look great, and they do oftentimes last longer than regular manicures or even gel polish for some people. But, the claims nail salons make that it’s a totally healthier alternative to other types of polish, aren’t necessarily true. The glue and hygiene concerns make it difficult to label “healthy", but, if you are interested in dip, it’s best to do these types of manicures at home! 

Writteny by Jordan Hammaren


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  1. https://www.self.com/story/dip-powder-nail-polish-manicures#:~:text=Dip%20powders%20are%20bonded%20using,powder%20to%20form%20a%20gel.&text=The%20dip%2Dpowder%20manicures%20soak,manis%20but%20can%20take%20longer.
  2. https://www.deenterprises.com/blog/dip-nails/
  3. https://www.goodmorningamerica.com/style/story/woman-posts-dip-powder-manicure-warning-64680002
  4. https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/nail-care-secrets/basics/pedicures/dip-powder-manicure
  5. https://www.webmd.com/beauty/gel-nails-cancer#:~:text=UVA%20is%20what%20you're,could%20be%20a%20risk%20factor

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