Life Hack: Here’s Exactly How To Do Dip Nails at Home

If there’s one thing that makes me feel put together, it’s having my nails done. A fresh, glossy manicure can make me feel like a whole new woman – one that’s much more sophisticated and chic than before. But, it’s no secret that nail appointments can be expensive. That’s why I took matters into my own hands (literally) a few years ago and taught myself how to master the art of dip manicures at home.

If you’re unfamiliar, dip powder nails (also known as SNS nails) are essentially a cross between gel nail polish and acrylic nail extensions. The main way dip nails differ from the two is that they involve dipping the nail into a powder as opposed to covering the nail in gel, paint, or acrylic plastic. This unique process is less damaging to the natural nails, which means weak, frail nails are a problem of the past. Plus, these kinds of manicures can last for up to four weeks and they don’t require a UV light!

One of my favorite things about dip powder nails – aside from how good my manicures always look – is that the process is extremely easy to do myself. Here’s a quick rundown of how the method works: First, you apply a clear base coat to a nail. Then, you dip that nail into a small jar that’s filled with the colored powder of your choice. Once the powder is on the nail, apply a protective coat on top that seals the color. Overall, the process is quick, easy, and essentially mess-free. Not to mention, you don’t have to spend a ton of time or money at the nail salon to achieve a long-lasting mani.

But, as with most at-home beauty treatments, DIY dip nails can come with different challenges. When doing them yourself, you might notice that your manicure looks lumpy or lacks shine. Luckily, there are easy ways to avoid those problems and instead get a gorgeous manicure from the comfort of your own home. Ahead, check out a step-by-step guide on how to dip nails at home like a pro.

How to Do Dip Nails At Home

To nail an at-home dip mani, all you need are the right tools and a little bit of time. In terms of tools, be sure you have a dip powder kit (that includes the base coat, activator, dip powder, and top coat), a nail file, a buffer, a cuticle pusher, and a small nail dust brush. Then, follow these easy steps and you’ll never have to go to a nail salon again.

Beyond Polish
OPI Dip Kit

Step 1

Before you begin your mani, make sure your nails are ready for the treatment. To do so, remove any existing nail polish or gel. Once your natural nails are bare, trim and file each one to the desired length and shape you want. Pro tip: Gently push back your cuticles with a cuticle pusher to make your nails appear longer and keep your cuticles healthy.

Step 2

Apply a thin layer of base coat to one nail. Immediately after the base coat has been applied, dip the nail into the jar of dip powder. Leave your nail in the powder for a few seconds, ensuring your entire nail has powder on it. Then, take the nail out of the jar and tap off any excess powder. You can also use a nail dust brush to clean off the entire nail and to help avoid clumping. Proceed with this process for each nail.

Step 3 (Optional)

Depending on how bold you want your nail color to be, you might have to repeat Step 2 about two to three times. To do so, simply apply another layer of base coat and dip your nail into the powder again.

Step 4

Once all of your nails have been dipped in the powder, apply the activator. Allow it to dry for two to five minutes.

Step 5

Once the activator is dry, buff your nails to achieve your desired finish.

Step 6

Finally, apply a thin layer of top coat to each nail, making sure to cover the entire surface. Let the top coat dry for at least two minutes.

15 Dip Nails Ideas

Whether you’re totally new to DIY dip nails or you’re basically an at-home nail technician, these cute and creative ideas are perfect for your next mani. Ahead, check out the best dip powder nail ideas for beginners, experts, and everyone in between.

Milky Dip Nails

There’s nothing quite as chic as a soft, milky mani. To achieve this look at home, opt for a dip powder nail kit that offers transparent colors. (Dipwell has an entire ‘Milky’ collection.) To make nails extra milky, only dip your nails in the powder once.

Red-Hot Dip Nails

Want something bold? Go all in with a bright red mani. To nail this look, start by filing your nails into rounded almond shapes. Then, dip your nails into the powder two to three times. From there, finish it off with a high-shine top coat.

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