Dip powder is an increasingly popular way to color nails. They blend the benefits of gel and acrylic manicures whilst still retaining a natural look. But can dip powder be used as acrylic?
Yes, dip powder can be used as acrylic for nails but dip powder usually requires more than one dip whereas you only need to dip acrylic powder once. This is because acrylic powder relies on a monomer in order to set.
What Is Dip Powder?
Dip powder is an increasingly popular technique used to create strong nails with fabulous color and design options.
Dip powder is usually a finely milled powder with high pigmentation. Some dip powders will be thicker than others.
Dip powdered nails are also known as SNS (signature nail system) nails, and can be done either in a salon or at home, depending on your preference.
How does dip powder work?
As the name suggests, the nail will be dipped into the dip powder, which can be a variety of different colors and consistencies, depending on the brand.
If you’re getting dip nails in a salon, the more hygienic procedure is to either brush the dip powder onto nails or decant some into a tray that nails can be dipped into. This prevents cross-contamination.
The number of dips required may also vary between brands, and also be different according to the look that you’re going for. It’s typically around two to three dips for normal nails.
A sealant is then applied in order to ensure a long-lasting manicure. There’s no need for either a UV or LED light, which is required for acrylic and acrylic powder nails.
Dip powdered nails are like a hybrid of gel and acrylic nails, meaning you get the flexibility and durability of both.
They can be used either on natural nails or an artificial tip. Dip powder nails are also easy to do at home, and can last up to a month if you’re not too hard-wearing.
They also tend to produce a more natural look than acrylic powder, and doesn’t need such an irritating, strong-smelling monomer to work.
Dip powder is often confused with acrylic dip powder, but, as this article will show, they are not the same thing.
How Is Dip Powder Different From Acrylic Powder?
Dip powder and acrylic powder are not the same, so don’t confuse the two.
They may look and feel the same, and many places advertise them as being the same, but they are not.
Both dip powder and acrylic powder are made of similar ingredients (usually acrylic ester polymers). Otherwise, they differ.
Acrylic nails need a monomer – usually ethyl methacrylate – in order for the acrylic polymer to properly bond and set.
It’s the monomer that causes the acrylic powder to work, changing the solid powder to a liquid.
This monomer contains harmful chemicals which are strong smelling and can cause eyes to water.
Many people are sensitive to monomer, and find it can cause irritation and sensitivities.
Dip powder, by comparison, is odorless and doesn’t rely on a monomer. Instead, a nail resin (sealant) is applied over the dip powder in order to set the color.
It is also thinner and more finely milled than acrylic powder. This means that nails don’t feel as thick with dip powder as they do in acrylic, making them more natural.
Dip powder is also still as strong as acrylic, and is also faster to apply.
This type of manicure may therefore be better for those who experience sensitivities to the strong smell of acrylic monomer.
Acrylic nails are also often used to lengthen the look of natural nails. Dip powder nails don’t do this. Think of them as a replacement for traditional or gel nail polish.
Can Dip Powder Be Used As Acrylic For Nails?
Yes, dip powder can be used as acrylic for nails, but only to a certain extent.
Acrylic relies on a monomer in order to set. Dip powder doesn’t, so you typically have to dip nails more than once in order to achieve your desired consistency and color.
By contrast, acrylic powder usually only needs to be dipped once. Dip powder can also be less easy to work with than acrylic powder.
That said, you can use dip powder with acrylic liquid. So, if you have plenty of dip powders sitting around at home, as well as an acrylic monomer that needs use, you can combine the two effectively.
Just remember that acrylic powder may be coarser in texture than dip powder. As such, you’ll likely need to buff or shape your nails to achieve the look you would get with dip powder.
Two-in-one dip and acrylic powder combine the best of both worlds. These are formulated both with dip glue and acrylic monomer.
However, if you’re sensitive to monomer, then you may well find yourself becoming irritated by a two-in-one formula.
How Is Dip Powder Applied?
If you’re getting your dip powder nails in a salon, expect them to place the dip powder in a separate tray, or to brush the dip powder onto your nails.
This reduces the hygiene risk of multiple customers dipping their fingers into the same pot. You can also do this at home if you’d prefer.
If you’re applying dip powder at home, it may take you anywhere from half an hour to forty-five minutes to apply.
As you get more comfortable with doing so, this will likely become around twenty minutes.
Can You Use Acrylic Powder With Dip Glue?
Yes, you can use acrylic powder with dip glue or sealant, but don’t expect it to work as well compared to using dip powder.
Acrylic powder doesn’t have the same ingredients as dip powder, so it may not be as sticky.
As such, you may need more dips with acrylic powder in order to achieve the same look and feel as dip powder. This may be anywhere up to four or five dips.
Acrylic powder tends to be coarser in texture and less finely milled than dip powder.
You may need to work hard on buffing your nails in order to achieve the smooth feel and look that you’d get with dip powder.
The Dip Powder Process
1. Nail prep
Ensure the nails are clean and oil-free before application. Your technician should push your cuticle back and ensure that your nails are in their desired shape, without any hangnails.
Ideally, nails would also be buffed prior to dip powder application.
If you’re doing dip powder at home, you can take all of the steps above yourself.
2. Apply bonder
This isn’t essential, but if either you or the salon have a dip powder bonder, apply this now. It will help the powder to better stick, and will hopefully reduce the number of dips required.
3. Apply a base coat and dip
Remember to apply a base coat to minimize the risk of nail damage. Go one nail at a time.
Once dried, dip each nail into the tray containing the dip powder. Brush off any excess.
Repeat this process until your nails have the color density you’re after. You may need to repeat this step a number of times, particularly if your nails are long.
4. Apply a sealant
Once all nails are dried and look to be the color you’re after, you can apply a sealant. This is the point at which to shape and file your nails, too.
5. Apply a topcoat
Your top coat is as important as the base coat. Apply this layer once you’re sure the sealant of each nail is dry.
If you want to add nail art or accessories, you can now do so.
Which Is Best On Short Nails? Dip Or Acrylic?
If you have shorter nails, then dip powder procedures are better. Dip powder will cause less damage than either acrylic extensions or acrylic powder, and is, therefore, better for shorter, weaker nails.
Which Is Best For Long Nails? Dip Or Acrylic?
Nails with more length will need to be dipped more than shorter nails – anywhere up to three to five times.
Longer nails are also likely better able to cope with acrylic extensions or acrylic powder compared to shorter nails.
Are There Different Types Of Acrylic Dip Powders?
As described above, there’s a difference between dip powder and acrylic dip powder – but there are also different types of acrylic dip powder.
Various brands offer different colors and consistencies of acrylic dip powder.
These may also have different finishes – some may glitter, for example, whereas others are matte. It really depends on what you’re looking for.
How Long Does Dip Powder Last?
If you look after your dip powdered nails, then your manicure may last anywhere from two weeks to a month. As such, dip powder nails can be both cost and time effective.
Remember to wear gloves whenever you are cleaning or washing dishes in order to protect your nails, and try not to be too hard-wearing.
If you want to remove your dip powder, you need to soak your nails in acetone for anywhere from ten to fifteen minutes.
If you file away your nails’ shine before soaking, this can also help the acetone to work better. Don’t pick at your nails, as this will cause damage.