At-home manicures can save you a lot of money, but even the best-quality nail polish inevitably chips within days of application. That’s why nail care brands have started to sell at-home gel nail kits in recent years, promising long-lasting, salon-quality hard gel polish manicures for a fraction of the price. But now there’s a new-ish at-home manicure method that many DIY manicurists are saying is even better: dip powder nail kits.
What is a dip powder manicure?
Also known as SNS nails, dip powder nails are known for being long-lasting and don’t use UV light to harden, unlike gel nails. The color comes from dipping your nails into a finely-milled, pigmented powder before bonding with adhesive, rather than painting on streaks of hard liquid gel. The result is a flawless, evenly coated manicure, usually only achieved by professionals — until now.
If you’re wondering if dip powder nails are better than gel nails, the biggest difference between gel and dip powder is longevity. Dip powder manicures can last for three to four weeks, which is twice as long as gel manicures. Also, dip powder manicures don’t require UV light-curing lamps. That means you can cut your mani time in half, won’t have a bulky nail lamp taking up space in your home, and it’s a bonus if you’re sensitive to UV exposure.
How do you use a dip powder nail kit at home?
- Prep the nail by pushing cuticles back, then filing into your desired nail shape.
- Use a nail primer to remove oil and dirt from the nail bed.
- Apply the base coat once nails are clean and dry.
- Dip into powder color and use a duster brush to remove excess.
- Brush on another coat of base and dip again. Double dunking ensures full coverage and a stronger finish for a chip-resistant manicure.
- Finally, paint nails with an activator, which bonds the color powder into a lacquered gloss.
- Apply a glossy top coat for extra strength.
Are dip powder kits bad for your nails?
If you are worried about your nail health, don’t fret: Dip powder itself won’t ruin your nails, but scraping and picking the manicure off will. Chipping away at your dip powder nails with a nail stick removes layers of your natural bed, weakening your nails.
Instead, to remove dip powder nails, stick to the same removal process as gel: Dip a cotton pad in acetone and allow it to sit on your nails for 10 to 15 minutes before wiping the color away. If your manicure doesn’t budge after 15 minutes, let your nails soak in polish remover a bit longer. Don’t forget to rub a good cuticle cream into your nail bed when you’re all done to keep your nails healthy and strong.
Ready to try a DIY dip powder manicure? We’ve rounded up the best dip powder nail kits you can buy for an at-home salon-quality manicure, based on editor favorites or best-sellers with lots of glowing reviews online:
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Best Overall Dip Powder Nail Kit
Dipping Powder Nail Kit
This Lavender Violets kit comes with a base, activator, top coat and brush saver, and four neutral-pink colored powders. Reviewers say it combines the ease of dip powder application with the durability of gel nail results. “My nails look professional after using this — nobody assumes I did this at home,” said one Amazon customer. The brand claims that its dip powder is chip-resistant and causes no damage to the nail beds, and that the color lasts for about three weeks.
- Flawless results
- Some reviewers say color comes out lighter than expected
Best Value Dip Powder Nail Kit
Dipping Powder Nail Starter Kit
For a dip powder nail kit on the cheap (less than $10!), look no further than Latorice’s starter set, which comes with five colors plus a base coat, activator and top coat. The brand claims this chemical-free kit contains nourishing vitamin E and calcium for stronger nails. Reviewers say they appreciate the clear step-by-step instructions, which helped them achieve results that are “just like the salon!”
- Great value
- Contains nourishing ingredients
Best Dip Powder Nail Starter Kit
Nail Dip Powder Starter Kit
Azure Beauty’s kit is for the dip powder nail novice. If you don’t own the basics, this set doesn’t just come with the color powders and liquids: It also equips you with nail file, dust brush and three replacement liquid brushes so that you can prep your nails before applying the base coat and powder. “This is my first go at doing my own nails and I could not be happier,” said one Amazon reviewer.
- Eight color powders
- Includes manicure tools
Best Dip Powder Nail Kit for French Tips
French Nail and Glitter Dip Powder Kit
For more complicated DIY manicures, like French tips, the Nicole Diary nail dipping system includes a nail bond, base, activator, top coat and brush saver, plus acrylic dip powders to achieve flawless results. The kit even comes with fun glitter colors for creating bolder looks.
- Includes 12 colors
- Good for French and glitter manicures
Best Dip Powder Nail Kit for Fast Results
Quick Dip Powder System Kit
ASP’s dip powder nail kit promises salon-quality nails in 25 minutes or less, and uses oils to seal and protect your nails from drying or cracking. You can use the product with natural nails or tips.
- Speedy process
- Protects nails
- Doesn’t include colors
Best Nail Lengthening Dip Powder Kit
Dip Professional Dipping System
Can’t grow long, beautiful nails? You’re not alone. This Kiss nail dipping set includes both white and neutral-colored tips that you can adhere to your nails for natural-looking length.
- Includes tips to lengthen nails
- Good value
- Doesn’t come with colors
Best Non-Toxic Dip Powder Nail Kit
Dip Powder Starter Kit
This kit contains all of the necessary dip powder nail application liquids plus one jar of powder in the color of your choice. Revel’s dip powder claims to deliver lightweight, natural results that can last up to three weeks or longer. The brand boasts that their dip powder is also non-toxic and odor-free.
- Odorless, non-toxic ingredients
- Comes with just one color
Best Bright Dip Powder Nail Kit
Nail Dip Powder Starter Kit
When you simply don’t have the time (or patience) to wait for your nails to dry, this kit from GH Dip comes in handy — and comes in an array of bright, bold shades. The brand claims it saves 25% operation time, allowing less room for mistakes. Five berry and red dipping powders are included in the set.
- Bold opaque colors
- Sets quickly
Best Color-Changing Dip Powder Nail Kit
SerenDIPity Mood Changing Dip Powder Starter Kit
Enjoy a bit of mood ring nostalgia as you apply the fun color changing powder from this Color Club kit. The shades transform with the temperature, so it’s like getting two manicures in one.
- Color transforms
- Includes nail file and buffer
Best Dip Powder Nail Color Kit
Color Dip Color By Me Kit
Get creative with color using Red Carpet Manicure’s kit, which comes with six powders that can be mixed to create unique shades. “I love how you can literally make whatever color you want,” a reviewer raved.
- Comes with six customizable colors
- Doesn’t include application liquids
Best Professional Dip Powder Nail Kit
Nail Dipping Powder Perfection Combo
Created for professional salon use, OPI’s dip powder kit comes with a large size dip powder color and three applicator liquids. “Salon quality and so easy to do yourself,” a reviewer reported.
- Created for professionals
- Comes with large size color powder
Best Dip Powder Nail Removal Kit
Acrylic Nail Polish Remover Clips
A salon-quality manicure requires salon-quality removal. Instead of vigorously rubbing an acetone-soaked cotton pad across your thick manicure, use these handy Teenitor clips that hold acetone soaked pads to your nails until the polish has broken down enough for easy removal. Genius!
- Minimizes rubbing
- Less mess
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