Dip powder-perhaps you've heard of it. And no, we're not talking about FunDip, but rather the seemingly new nail technique that's taking the beauty industry by storm. Dip powder has recently become synonymous with gorgeous, long-lasting color that (supposedly) doesn't sacrifice the health of your nails. The only problem is, just like gel, removing it can be pretty tricky (read: damaging), which is why the process has been getting some flack.
вЂњThere are two issues that I've found with dips and nail health,вЂќ Varnish Lane Co-Founder Lauren Dunne explains. вЂњThe first is that it is designed to stay on the nail for up to eight weeks, which can result in issues like spotting on your nails from keratin granulation or from color pigments. Second, if the dip begins to lift over time, moisture can get captured, which can cause nail fungus and infections.вЂќ
While that no doubt sounds scary AF (I mean, nail fungus? No thanks), the buzz-worthy technique has plenty of plusses too - even when it comes to removing it.
Joy Terrell, the owner of LA-based Powder Beauty Co., explains that no harsh primers are used in the process of actually painting dip powder on. вЂњWith acrylic and gel, primers containing methacrylic acids are often used to promote adhesion,вЂќ she points out. вЂњThese chemicals are harsh, toxic, and long-term really bad for your nails and body.вЂќ
Another huge benefit of the dip powder technique is that there are no UV lights used. вЂњStudies have shown that UVA rays damage DNA and collagen, which can lead to premature aging and may increase skin cancer risk,вЂќ Terrell warns. вЂњPlus, most clients have experienced that awful burning sensation under the light caused by excessive heat.вЂќ
Lastly, removing the powder is actually one of the least damaging processes, in comparison to other long-lasting color options. вЂњOne of the huge benefits with dip powder removal is the lack of damage to the nail bed,вЂќ explains Terrell. вЂњUnlike gel, there's no scraping involved, so it's definitely gentler.вЂќ
The problem is, even with all those benefits, dip powder clients don't always know how to go about the removal process themselves, so if they don't have the time to book an appointment with a powder pro, they tend to take the matter into their own hands. This leads to picking and pulling the dip powder polish as soon as the first chip cracks into view.
вЂњPeeling it off will tear off layers of your nails and instantly leave you with weak, brittle nails that can take months to fully grow out,вЂќ Dunne warns.
Since nobody is down for an unhealthy (not to mention unsightly) nail sitch, we had Terrell and Dunne walk us through the removal process, as well as the best way to rehab nails after your powder sesh. Check out their tips, below.
How to Remove Dip Powder Nails
- Nail file
- Cotton balls
- Small bowl (optional)
- Foil (optional)
Step 1: Start by filing down the shiny topcoat.
вЂњThe best way to remove dip at home is to file or buff off the shiny topcoat - this will allow the acetone to penetrate,вЂќ Terrell says. To do so, use a fine emery board in a back and forth, side to side motion until the top layer of your nails look dull and covered with fine white dust. This indicates that the top layer of powder has been removed.
Step 2: Wrap nails with foil and acetone-soaked cotton.
As with any nail polish, acetone is a must. But save yourself the time and effort of rubbing your nails raw with a plain soaked cotton ball, as dip powder won't come off in a simple stroke. Instead, place a drenched cotton ball on top of your buffed nail and wrap it in a small square of foil. Repeat for each nail. This will help the acetone sink into the powder, effectively dissolving its bond to the nail.
If you don't have foil on hand, Terrell says you can simply soak your nails in a small bowl of acetone for 10 to 15 minutes. вЂњI like to place a steaming hot towel over the bowl to speed up the process using a steaming method,вЂќ she says.
Step 3: Touch up the edges.
Once you peel off the foil or pull your fingers out of the bowl of acetone, Terrell says that the powder should rub right off.В вЂњDip powder uses a cyanoacrylate, a nail glue that is more sensitive to solvents, so it removes easier than gel manicures,вЂќ she explains. However, if there's any excess clinging on, she says that a quick swipe of a cotton ball should do the trick.
Once you've removed all traces of your dip powder manicure, you might want to jump right into your next Insta-worthy nail look -В but hold your horses. Terrell suggests taking a break from dip powder depending on how frequently you get it. If it's a regular occurrence in your beauty routine, she says to skip out on the fan-favorite mani for a few days every three to four months to give your nails a breather.
вЂњDuring that time, a great strengthening treatment is key,вЂќ she explains. вЂњIBX is one of the best nail strengthening treatments on the market right now. After one treatment, the difference is noticeable and immediate. We offer this treatment at Powder Beauty Co. and our regular clients swear by it in between their dip manis.вЂќ
If you don't have time to head into a salon for the treatment, consider giving yourself a DIY rehab sesh with Dr. Dana Stern's Dr. Dana Nail Renewal System ($55). The 3-step system incorporates a series of exfoliation and hydration that smoothes, strengthens, and moisturizes nails while delivering a swoon-worthy healthy shine. Dunne says that another option is to sub in a nail strengthener (we like the Ella + Mila Nail Strengthener First Aid Kiss ($11)) instead of polish for your next manicure.
вЂњClients should also apply cuticle oil to the nails daily to keep nails and cuticles hydrated,вЂќ Terrell advises. To take that to heart, we recommend stowing a tube of Beekman 1802 Goat Milk Cuticle Serum ($20). The vitamin-rich non-sticky formula comes with a cushion tip that makes for easy application that promises ultra-hydrated cuticles.
Next, check out our favorite rainbow nail art, because it's everywhere.