Gel Versus Dip Nails



I got my first “dip” manicure a few weeks ago and there are some things I really love about it and some things I wish I would have known before I took the plunge.

Or the dip, if you will.

When you receive a dip/powder manicure, the technician preps your nails, applies a liquid to your nail bed, then literally dips your nail into a small container of powder, shakes off the excess, and repeats this process on all the nails. During my service the technician dipped my nails 3 times each, so there were 3 rounds of liquid then powder applied to my nails.

After the nails have set, the technician may take an electric tool to buff the nail surface to smooth it out. The service is finished with what looked to me like regular top coat and that needed to dry for 5 minutes before I headed out the door.

I tried this because I was continually disappointed with gel manicures at salons in my area. I used to do my gel nails at home, which I still can do, but I wanted to find someone that did a good job to do that for me to save a bit of time. I got it down to a pretty quick science when I was doing it myself, but going to a nail salon is something I like to do during my “free” time so I was looking for a good, clean salon.

Many recommended dip powder manicures and while I had looked into them a little bit I was skeptical about how smooth the finish would be. A bumpy finish would have driven me crazy so I avoided it for a long time.

When I finally tried it, I found the process to be very fast and simple, and roughly the same length of time for a gel manicure. I like that you don’t need to cure this process under a light! The finish is a lot like acrylic and is very thick on the nails. It had a smooth finish which I was very happy to see!

At about a week in to the manicure I was happy to see my nails still looked pretty good! My cuticles were starting to look a little rough, but the color on my nails still looked flawless. I got used to the thickness of the nails in about a day, but I do wish I would have known it was going to be so thick! I type a lot and kind of dislike the feeling and sound of acrylic nails hitting the keys.

The removal process was very simple, and I took them off on day 15. You can have them removed at the salon or let acetone saturated cotton balls sit on top of the nails to loosen, then scrape them off. My natural nails were in pretty bad shape but I expected that. I doused them in Solar Oil for a few days, then applied Essie’s TLC nail polish.

Would I do it again? At this point yes I would, but only for times that I really wanted my nails to look perfect for a long time. So if I was traveling, or had a long week of shooting, I’d do it. I can’t see making it a regular thing because the thickness was a bit bothersome.

I’ve gotten acrylics before so I imagine it will be very similar. I’m already planning on doing a few weeks of Essie’s TLC polish to help restore my nails after the dip/powder!

Have you gotten a dip manicure before? What did you think?

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Comments (121)

  1. Amber jenkins says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    You said you took them off on day 15 and your nails were pretty damaged and then in the next paragraph you said you haven’t taken them off and you not sure what your nails will look like? Just wanted to let you know… love reading your blog!!

    • Kate says
      Posted February 19, 2019

      Sorry for the confusion! I drafted the post to go live before I took them off but switched it to a later date so I could share the process. I’ve updated the copy! thanks!

  2. JC says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I personally do not like the look of a dips I have seen because of the thickness and I think they look artificial. As I got older, my natural nails that had always been strong, started to tear, etc. as they became weaker. My nail tech suggested gel polish which I am very happy with. She does a great job of gently removing it so my natural nails are stronger and in good shape.

  3. Chandra says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I just took my first “dip” 🤣 I usually do Essie TLC but it was a Valentine’s Day girls outing and treated myself to the dip. I agree the thickness is something to get used to but other then that they have been great. The manicurist said they don’t use the drill which I liked. I felt like that would thin my nails down. During my process he just used a hand nail file.
    Overall I think I am hooked but let’s see how this process goes!

  4. Laura says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I’ve been getting the dip powder nails for awhile now since gels stopped adhereing well to my nails. I find the thickness to be no more that gels and wonder if you went to a different nail tech you’d find the same. Also, when she removes the dip, there is no scrapping. Just soaks my nail with a cotton swab dipped in remover and the polish part just pops right off. I love that and also love that there’s no light to set it.

  5. Lori G says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I think you need a better technician!….mine are Very thin!! I’ve had people comment how thin they are!! Don’t feel acrylic at all! And nails are in great shape when they come off. I love that you can’t peel off. Mine last 3 weeks!

    • Kate says
      Posted February 19, 2019

      Interesting! Maybe I’ll try a different salon to see if it’s thinner!

      • Jerica says
        Posted February 19, 2019

        Yes, I went with my sister in law at the same salon (it was our first time getting the dip). It was so weird! We both had different technicians mine came out looking thick and acrylic like and hers was thin! I also watched the process and they did hers completely different! They did the solar lights in between each coat. I tried asking her tech why she did that with hers and the other tech didn’t with mine but I got some smart comment back that didn’t really answer the question. The only reason I could think is if it was a different brand of powder? Seems as though there can be many differences to this option depending on who you get to do them.

    • Emily says
      Posted February 19, 2019

      I’m with Lori G. Technicians wildly vary and you can ask for what you want! If you want it thin just say so! 🙂

      Be sure to ask your technician to let them soak for a long time before removing. When I’ve done that the product just slides off and there was very little damage to my nail. I would agree, though, that doing them back to back can be a bit harsh so I tend to take breaks between to keep my nails strong.

      • Miki says
        Posted February 19, 2019

        Thanks for this tip! I was turned off because they were thick. I hate thick nails. I just can’t do anything with them. I will give them a try if I can find a manicurist who will thin them out!

    • Miki says
      Posted February 19, 2019

      Great tip, thank you! I was turned off by the idea of them being thick.

      • Elyse says
        Posted February 27, 2019

        I’ve had dips in several colors and found that the lighter colors ended up thicker than darker ones did because the lighter colors are more sheer and therefore require more coats to give opaque coverage, whereas the dark colors required less

    • MAggie says
      Posted January 1, 2020

      where do you go? mine are too thick as well and sometimes they are even too wide.

      • Kate says
        Posted January 1, 2020

        Tre Nail in Waverly 🙂

  6. Emily says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I like the dips, but the thickness bothered me, too! After I went the first time, I have since asked my technician to thin them a bit more! before applying the top coat. I have enjoyed them more after that!

  7. Kristin says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    Hey Kate 👋
    I’m confused – have you taken off the dip nails yet or not?

    Thanks for the great info! I think the nails I had done for my wedding were similar but the technician added the poweder/liquid rather than dipping.

  8. Lindsey White says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I’ve had two dip manicures back to back at 2 different salons – the first one was so incredibly thick and I felt looked unnatural, but the second one was done in 3 thin layers and while still a smidge thicker than regular polish it has bothered me a lot less and I can’t beat the longevity. I think how thickly it’s applied is totally up to the skill of the technician and it’s worth it to try a few different salons.

  9. Hannah B says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I have had dip nails for four years now. I occasionally take them off to allow my nails to breathe, but they last so long and look so good, I keep them up. I go every three weeks to get them done and by week three, they’re starting to grow out but I push it because dip is a smidge more expensive. I keep my nails short, so I don’t feel like they look fake. I also make sure my nail technician makes the powder thin on my nails so they don’t feel thick. The gel nails used to peel pretty quickly for me, so this alternative keeps them in place longer. I love the color you got!

  10. Kari says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I’ve been doing my own dip at home for about 6 months and I love it. I don’t like the thick feeling either so doing it myself I can make them thinner. Lighter coats of liquid and powder. I’ve been using revel nails. They have amazing customer service.
    Also, look on you tube for the baggie removal method. Come right off and my nails don’t get beat up.

  11. Bethany Brannon says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I did several times and I would let my guy know that I didn’t like them thick. He still dipped my nails 3 times but they were not much thicker then normals nails and they didn’t look thick and would last 3-4 weeks with no peeling or chipping (unless I hit one hard or something like that). I don’t know how he did it but they didn’t have the thick acrylic look and sound that I know exactly what you’re talking about. Maybe mention it to them and see what they say next time, who knows.

  12. Kellie says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    Gotten dip a few times! And my nails grow like crazy! Like super fast! With thst being said, the dip doesn’t work me. My dip splits in half at about the two week point. A lot of people can get the dip the last for almost 4 weeks!! And at the price you would expect that, but no, mine crack right up the middle and I have to either have the removed or redone.
    So if your nails grow fast, stick with gel, cause dip isn’t worth the money.

    Also there’s two types of dip. There’s sns which has acrylic in it, and tends to dry your nails out faster and then there is and OPI dip, that has no acrylic in it, but the down side the OPI, is the shine fades after about a week and a half I feel.
    I like the dip on my nails cause it makes them stronger feeling, but at the cost and the breakage down the middle and the lack of shine, bye, it’s not worth it for me.
    So I get gel very regularly. I also go to paint base in morrisville, and I see Kesha, we’ve had a major discussion on what works and what doesn’t on gel nails and she has perfected my gel manicure!! Completely satisfied with her now! I hope you can find someone in our area that works!

  13. Diane says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    You state removal process was simple, then state you haven’t removed yet. Am I the only one confused?
    I like the look and durability of the dip process, but it does wreak havoc on ones nails for sure!

  14. Posted February 19, 2019

    I’ve never even heard of dip manicures! I guess you learn something new every day. Thank you for the review, Kate. 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  15. Veronica says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I got a dip manicure one time. It looked great and lasted so long! But both myself and my sister (both tried it first time together) experienced soreness of our nails! It was so weird! My sister actually took hers off because it bothered her so much. I left mine and it did go away after a couple of days. But I’ve never gotten another one.

  16. Kathryn Costlow says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I have been getting the dip for 3 yrs and it was very easy for me to get use to, in fact I just had them taken off yesterday to give my nails a break, and while it feels good to have them off, my. nails feel “naked”. My actual nails are in pretty good shape considering the length of time they were covered with dip powder, and yes I will get them put back on for special occassions or vacation because they last for 2 weeks and are worry free!

  17. Ashley Saari says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I love how fast the dip powder process is here in Minnesota! The first time I got them dipped they were very thick as you mentioned, but now I go in every 3 weeks to get them done and you have to request them thin- very thin! The last step she puts on gel top coat and I cure in the light – this helps last 21 days at least! The only reason I go every 3 weeks is because of the outgrowth, but otherwise the SNS white dip powder lasts a very long time. I keep them short & tell the technician you wash your hands several times a day & need them short for typing! Dip powder is NOT supposed to be thick— they need to sand down the coats to make thinner! Hope this advice helps! 😊

  18. Posted February 19, 2019

    I used to get gel manicures but about a year ago I switched to dip and have never gone back! I’m a nail biter and used to peel off my gel polish (so bad) so I like that dip is too thick for me to remove it!

    xoxo A

  19. Laura says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    This isn’t a big deal, but I was confused. In the third to last paragraph you said you took them off and used some oil to help restore, but in the next paragraph you said you hadn’t removed them. I’m assuming this is an editing error…just wanted you to know. or clarify…or maybe things just aren’t clicking in my mind this early morning:)

    • Kate says
      Posted February 19, 2019

      I had the post schedule for a time before I had removed them, but pushed it back to go live after I took them off so I could share the process! Sorry for the confusion, I’ve updated the copy.

  20. Lillie says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    Ugh — I hated it!! It looked really good for awhile, but I have never had acrylic nails and wear my nails pretty short. As they grew out I became fearful they would bust off and if they did, it wouldn’t be pretty. I confirmed this by trying to trim them myself. Although my nail did not break, the polish cracked and looked super bad at the ends. I did it twice in a row. I found that it took way longer than a regular manicure, and there was not TLC to my hands at all. The manicure was only the dip process. The first time they removed the dip and reapplied (it was a trial run for a special occasion then the special occasion itself). The second time, after the attempt to trim them myself, I removed them at home. Because they used the drill on my nails and I have pretty crap nails to begin with, I was left with paper thin nails where the dip was. It took months to grow out! I’ll never do it again. I suppose if I were to always have dip on my nails, they would be okay with the protection of the product. Gel can be frustrating for sure (I do it at home also), but it gives my nails a bit of added protection they need without nearly the damage.

  21. Katharine says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I’m confused… you took them off on day 15 but then said you hadn’t taken them off and were curious what your nail beds would look like

    • Kate says
      Posted February 19, 2019

      I drafted the post and had it scheduled for earlier but pushed it back until after I took them off! Sorry for the confusion, I updated the copy.

  22. Melissa says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I’d give it another try at another salon. I’ve done it a couple of times and I didn’t feel like mine were that thick (and I feel like that is something I definitely would have noticed). They also only dipped mine twice and filed them down really well.

  23. Sheri says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I liked the look of the dip nails and lasting color however my nail bed was in terrible shape and brittle and actually little tender afterwards . I’m scared to have them dipped again 😳

  24. Alison Maynor says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I do my dip nails at home. I love them! It adds strength to my nails. My natural nails are in good shape. Never peel or scrap the “dip” off. I always soak it until it wipes off on its own.
    I like doing them at home because I can control how thick or thin I apply the product.

    • Rachel says
      Posted February 19, 2019

      What kit did you get?

  25. Emily says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I’ve never had a dip manicure before, but it sounds great for long trips! I do my own gel nails at home, and whilst sometimes the process can seem bothersome, if I pop something on Netflix it makes it a whole lot more enjoyable.

    Emily | Snippets of Emily’s Life xx

  26. Posted February 19, 2019

    Yes, I had the same thoughts as you – too thick! But I loved the lasting color. My other concern is that upon removal, my nails were very damaged and even almost two months later still crack and peel much more than they naturally do. I think that I wouldn’t do it again unless I really needed flawless nails for a week, then perhaps ask for only two “dips.”

  27. Allie says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I’ve been so curious about dip ever since hearing about it on Souther Charm (Cameron Eubanks talks about how great it is). Thank you for this helpful description! I’m always hesitant to try new things out at the salon, but now I’m excited to try dip!

  28. Angie M says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    You can ask the nail tech to go thinner on the dip. I tend to go a little thicker because I travel a lot for work and don’t like snapping my nails off on a suitcase. When I am just home I go much thinner. If the nail tech can’t do it, find a new tech. I love that it doesn’t peel off as it ages like gel can. Enjoy!

  29. Mary Anna says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I love the dip nails! My poor nails are so thin and weak that even gel doesn’t strengthen them enough for me, so I tried the dip a few years ago and haven’t gone back! I tend to opt for colors that are very close to my natural nail color so I can stretch them out as they grow. I usually only go about every 3-4 weeks now, which has saved my nails and my wallet! I find these to be thick enough to protect my natural nails, but they aren’t quite as thick as acrylic, or near as damaging as acrylic.

  30. Kacie M. says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I’ve been debating dip for awhile. I get my gels done every 3 weeks, and sometimes by 2.5 weeks I should get them re-done because then I start picking at them due to the growth. The gel still stays on fine, however. A few nails have broke pretty bad lately, so I am going to wait until they’re all a decent length before trying dip. I see some people with thicker dipped nails, and that’s not the look I’m going for. However, from other comments… seems to be the technician and you could request a thinner dip. I do like my nails short, so hopefully the dip still would look good! Appreciate the post!

  31. Alison says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I recently got a gift certificate to T Nail Spa near Triangle Town Center and it is the BEST gel manicure I have ever had. So if you want to try another local place I would recommend them!

  32. Bailey says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I have gotten the dip twice – once for a week-long vacation in November and again for the end of December when I had Christmas, New Years, and was in a wedding. I LOVED it. It does not come off, and I was able to keep it on for 3-4 weeks no problem! The only thing that I had issues with was that my nails grow very fast, so I probably should have had it removed sooner to avoid the grown out look. I’m with you, though, that it’s not a regular thing to get. You posted about Essie’s TLC line right when I got the December gel removed and that did help my nails significantly!

  33. Kathy Quichocho says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    Most recently I tried something new, they called it UV nails. I didn’t like the time or the process of gel and dip manicures because of the soaking in acetate and the scraping, some had hurt me. The UVnail is under the light and similar to the process to maintain acrylic. The product only needs a fill and not total removal each time, and they tell me this product is better on your nails than acrylic. The product was called Brisa Gel, I love it!

  34. Lindsay says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I’ve been doing my own dip manicures for about a month. I love that it holds up with my lifestyle (SAHM constantly doing dishes, cleaning and washing my hands.)
    One thing I do is only two rounds of dip powder so it doesn’t come out as thick. I first tried ASP from Sally’s, but a friend turned me onto the nugenesis system and that seems easier on my nails.

  35. Meghan says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    You can ask for them to be dipped only 1 time or 2 times but unless you just sit on the couch all day long you run the risk of them breaking or the dip cracking. Things we do in real life requires them to be dipped they way they do it. Maybe they could smooth them out a bit more for your liking.

  36. Kathy Quichocho says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    Most recently I tried something new, they called it UV nails. I didn’t like the time or the process of gel and dip manicures because of the soaking in acetate and the scraping, some had hurt me. The UVnail is under the light and similar to the process to maintain acrylic. The product only needs a fill and not total removal each time, and they tell me this product is better on your nails than acrylic. The product was called Brisa Gel, I love it! Love your tips.

  37. Bethany says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I was getting regular dip manicures because I was told they were better for my nails . I loved how long the mani lasted, but I did not like the cost! 😉 After a few months, I decided to take a break, and I was surprised at how bad of shape my nails were in! They were so thin and would just peel apart. I’ve been trying to baby them with strengthening products and the Essie TLC colors. They still haven’t fully recovered. If I had known this would be the result, I would have saved the dips for special occasions!

  38. Kathy says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I do my own dip manicure at home and I love it. You could ask them to only do 2 coats? I do 2 or 3 depending on when I think I might be able to do them again. Three lasts longer, but 2 does a pretty decent job as well, usually at least 2 weeks our of them before I may chip a corner or something. I haven’t had a problem with my natural nails cracking or being too damaged like they would be if I did real acrylic. Just to note, I use revel nail products.

  39. Emily says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I’m with Lori G. Technicians wildly vary and you can ask for what you want! If you want it thin just say so! 🙂

    Be sure to ask your technician to let them soak for a long time before removing. When I’ve done that the product just slides off and there was very little damage to my nail. I would agree, though, that doing them back to back can be a bit harsh so I tend to take breaks between to keep my nails strong.

  40. Tina says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    The salon I go to, the thickness seems to differ depending on who does them. I have had some that are no thicker than a gel manicure then I have some that are way too thick. Also, they add more layers depending on the color, making sure the color is completely covering The nail. My dip manicure lasts me a month, gel would last me maybe 5 days. I tried different manicurists with gel and they all told me I had oily nails and that is why gel doesn’t last on me.

  41. Shelise says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I’ve had acrylics for years, I’ve never tried a dip manicure but I really like the sound of it as it sounds like its better for your nails/cuticles compared to acrylics!

  42. Angie Bullins says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    Personally I love the dip process and I have mine nails done every 4 to 6 weeks. I feel like it’s more healthy for your nails than regular acrylics because they do not drill down in to my nail. I also think hey are more healthy than gel because curing under the UV light is not good for the skin on your hands. To me that’s basically like a mini tanning bed for your hands. I’ve never had any complaints about them being to thick. I love how long the SNS (dip) lasts and the color payoff. Highly recommend 😊😊😊

  43. Pam B says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    i LOVE dip nails!!! everytime I would get gels done at a salon, they would never last and would be lifting/peeling within one week, most times after roughly 5 days. That is a lot of money for something to only last 5 days! I only get my nails done at a salon for special occassions (vacations/holidays) and I actually PREFER them to be thick. One time I went to a different salon out of convenience and the tech did them much thinner and they cracked and looked awful only a week later. If its a good dip, it’ll last me 3 weeks easy! (yes, obviously they grow out). I am very rough on my hands, I wash dishes and cook and clean all the time. So the thick dip really works for me, and the thickness does not bother me! When I don’t have them dipped, I DIY my gels and have found a routine that makes them last a bit over a week.

  44. Anna Ginnity says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    You can tell them you want them thin and they will only do 2 dips and will buff them down thinner as well. Mine look no different than gel when I ask them to do it thin.

  45. Teri says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    Hi Kate,
    I get the dip mani every 3weeks and I love it. I too was bothered by the thickness but I asked the gal to dip me only twice and that helped a lot.

  46. Mona says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    They don’t have to be thick. They are also easy to do yourself. I only do 2 dips not 3 unless it is needed. You can also do clear and put polish on and that way you can fill them and not have to take them off every time. I use OPI polish (the one with the silver top, can’t remember the name) it dries very fast. You can also put it over tips if you needed some length.

  47. Lindsay says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    Awesome blog post. Personally I hated everything to do with getting my nails done from in home to in salon options. Then 4 years ago I found an incredible 1 step DIY system that as someone who’s never had training can do. They look like I went to the salon. Last up to 2 weeks (sometimes more) and cost a fraction of other options it solved all my complaints and my nails are long healthy and beautiful!! #GelMoment #HawleywoodNails for the win

  48. KC says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I recently had my first dip manicure for my wedding and LOVED the result. I will tell you though- I have never had such damaged nails after a nail experience. Thank you for commenting on great products to help afterwards- that helps me a lot!

  49. Linda F. says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I have had dip manicures where the dip was thick like you describe, and then some where the tech polished down enough that they were super thin. The feel of the thin was my favorite, but they didn’t last as long.

  50. Terri Lane Oglesby says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I love to get the dip nails. I am a truck driver, so I like to keep myself looking as “normal” as possible. Since I am never in the same place to get my nails done, there have been a couple of times where the powder was too thick. That was largely in part to the color. Lighter colors require more dips to make the color bright or visible. Darker colors require less dips. I have been wearing dipped powder for 2 .5 years now. They always look nice, last long and look way more natural than acrylics and gel.

  51. Sue Hanes says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I’ve been getting dip manicures for almost a year and I love them! My nails have never felt thick and the manicure lasts almost a month without chipping or peeling.

  52. Carrie says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I get dip manicures regularly. I have found that if you go to a salon that is not experienced with the product it is thinker and doesn’t last as long. I actually drive about 30 mins away to get a good dip manicure. I love it because I don’t have to worry about chipping or breaking a week in like with the shellac.

    • Terri Lane-Oglesby Lane-Oglesby says
      Posted February 19, 2019

      I agree 100%. For me, it feels it’s nothing there. My natural nails are really long.

  53. Nan says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    First of all, for the record, I could not find your mistake that people are pointing out to you I thought it was great. Also I am confused. I have “paper“ nails that will not grow out to any lengths without splitting, peeling, you get the picture. I have done acrylic nails in the past and have loved it but they wreak havoc on my nails so I am always interested in something new.
    My question is: Is the dipping process similar enough to acrylic that you can add length to your nails or is it just for the appearance of your own nails? Thank you and I enjoyed your article immensely.

  54. Melanie Watt says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I’ve gotten regular dip manicures for the last year and a half and I’ll never go back! It’s very technician-dependent as to how thick it is, and mine can last up to 3 1/2 weeks before needing to come off. Even then, the color is still flawless, my nails have just grown out too much. My nails have never looked healthier than when the dip comes off, but that may be related to the fact that I tend to bite my nails when I don’t have a manicure. Give it another shot!

  55. Michelle says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    You need to try other techs. Mine does a fabulous job making sure they are not thick. I insist on it and she listens. And my nails are healthier than ever. Gel ruined my nails. It took about 6 months, but dip has made them break less and grow long. My manicures last for up to a month. I usually get the polish change every 3 weeks because I’m bored with the color. There is never any chipping or peeling as long you you have a tech who properly prepares the cuticles and nails. It took me a while to find the right gal. It’s worth it to have worry free, non breaking nails for 3 to 4 weeks. Saves me so much time. I will never do gel again. It destroyed my nails.

    • Kate says
      Posted February 20, 2019

      Interesting! I’ll try another technician!

  56. Mandy Maple says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    So glad you shared your thoughts on the dip manicure. I have been wondering what you thought. I am going on a trip this summer for 11 days and thought about getting a dip manicure but didn’t know that much about them. I really appreciate you sharing your experience! Love all the tips and info you share!

  57. Kate says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I have never gotten dip or acrylic nails. My main go to is always gel! I find that they look great, and don’t damage my nails! Great post!

    -Kate Christine

  58. Posted February 19, 2019

    As a licensed nail tech this was a good read but I was bothered by your nails being damaged after the removal. It doesn’t matter what service you receive your natural nails should have little to no damage at all. I also noticed people in general do not ask questions. You said she applied a liquid but you never said what the liquid is. The dip system is mostly a system in steps which is primer, glue, acrylic powder and a gel top coat for the most part. It doesn’t matter which service you receive ask questions if you are curious. The liquid in acrylic nails can be illegal MMA liquid or legal EMA liquid. The smell of the liquid and the soak off process is the quickest way to find out which one is used. Outside of the damage of your natural nails I could see myself adding this to my service.

  59. Amber says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I’ve tried the dip a few times because it’s seems it’s all the rage. However for my nails each time within a few days the polish begins to crack. I don’t notice this with gel but with the dip they crack and don’t last as long. Did you notice cracking at all?

  60. Mary Hull says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    Yes I get powder dip manicures and found a salon that does them thinner than the other salons I have been to. They last longer and look great.

  61. Kiley says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    Loved it but it ruined my nails when I took it off and it was very hard to take off. I soaked them in acetone for a long time and they still didn’t want to come off. They lasted 3 weeks and were beautiful.

  62. Kara says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I’ve been getting SNS dipped nails for about 6 months now, and I have found they aren’t thick at all. However, my technician only dips them twice not three times. Mine easily last three weeks, but I do have to take care of the cuticles after two weeks.

    • Terri Lane-Oglesby Lane-Oglesby says
      Posted February 19, 2019

      That is the more common aspect of it, caring for the cuticle while the powder is adhered.

  63. Shelly says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    I have had dip done twice and I have to say, just like any nail service, the technician makes a huge difference. My first time I experienced what you did with the thick nails but my second time even though she dipped my nails 3 times they were so much thinner. The dip has lasted so much better for me than shellac.

  64. Posted February 19, 2019

    I enjoy dipping especially when traveling but I don’t have it done thick just enough to give my nails a bit extra strength.

  65. Becky Casey says
    Posted February 19, 2019

    You can ask to only have 2 coats of powder so they won’t be so thick. I have found they don’t chip. I keep them 3 weeks. I am at day 19. The only thing that happens is the bottom of the polish comes loose and if it gets caught on clothing etc. The polish will lift off in on sheet, the whole nail will be bare.

  66. Donna says
    Posted February 20, 2019

    I had my first “dip” this past week. Like you, I love the smooth finish and how durable it seems. The nail tech said it won’t chip like the gel finish so I’m hopeful as that’s an issue I hated about gel. I also like that my hands aren’t exposed to a UV light. My tech only dipped in the powder twice and my finish is much thinner than I get with the gel. All in all, I would do it again.

  67. Audra says
    Posted February 20, 2019

    What color did you get your second dip in? Did you ask them to dip only twice? I’ve had the same experience you’ve had! Too think and often I can’t find that right shade of pink, but I like yours!

    • Kate says
      Posted February 20, 2019

      The same color as the first time, OPI Lisbon wants moor! And he dipped 3 times and then buffed it down at the end!

  68. Janet says
    Posted February 20, 2019

    My dip was not pleasant to get on and there was no way I was getting that off on my own. It wrecked my nails- I will likely never do again.

  69. Kate says
    Posted February 20, 2019

    I’ve done the dip “thing” several times. I noticed many people commented that their nails grew very fast. I prefer my nails short, and so I file my nails down about once a week. My nail color didn’t chip or split. I am able to keep my dip on for 3-4 weeks when I do this, with no trouble.

  70. Devin says
    Posted February 20, 2019

    I get the SNS (dip powder) and you can request that they not make it so thick! It also depends on the technician as well. But, I found that just by mentioning that I prefer it to not be thick, I LOVE it and it doesn’t bother me at all. I was able to keep them on for about 2.5 weeks before taking them off. I could have gone longer, but I really do not like long nails and they were starting to get too long for my taste. Also, if you let the salon take them off for you, it doesn’t damage your nails at all. At least at the place I went to anyways. My nails were in just as good condition as they were before I started SNS…not damaged at all. Just a few tips that I have found helpful after having them done a few times!

  71. Katie says
    Posted February 20, 2019

    I prefer dip for light nail colors and gel for dark. My gel nails always become so stained if a light color (probably from my denim) but dip doesn’t seem to stain as easily. Anyone else seem to have that issue?

  72. Tara says
    Posted February 22, 2019

    I got dip manicures for about three months. My nails grew like crazy and they always looked great. However, when I took them off the last time, my nails cracked and peeled worse than I’d ever seen! They were worse than when I used to get silk wraps years and years ago. It took months to build them back up to normal healthy nails again. I was ultimately very disappointed.

  73. Nina says
    Posted February 23, 2019

    I am now so picky on nail salons must be clean with nice people. I hate going to a “cheap” place that has the smell of acrylic so thick and outdated dirty decor 😝. Thank goodness they opened a chain of natural nail salon (that does gel nails 🙌) called The W Nailbar they are so beautifuly designed and offer great nail art. I love everything about them and it’s totally worth the extra 5-10 dollars!!

  74. Yolanda Henry says
    Posted February 24, 2019

    I buy my own dips Revel or Kiara Sky and bring it with me to the nail salon. There are so many colors and I change with the season or if I’m going to something special and want more glitter. My technicians are clean and friendly. I do NOT have thick nails. They are so natural looking. Better than the Gel was for me. They never chip or discolor. I have them done every 3 or 4 weeks. The cost is more than the Gel, but worth it. I love the results.

  75. Melanie says
    Posted February 24, 2019

    Thanks for letting us know about the Essie Polish. I’ve ordered a bottle for me, mom and daughter. look forward to using it!

  76. Sheila Bambacus says
    Posted February 25, 2019

    I’ve had my nails dipped several times, and I didn’t like the thinkne. They didn’t look natural. I like the durability and wear of gel polish, but I also don’t like the damage it causes to my nails. I think I’ll do my own mani/pedi sessions this summer and use the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel polish. It’s so much easier to remove and redo without UV light.

  77. Roxie says
    Posted March 4, 2019

    You have me hooked on the Essie TLC polish! I bought some on your recommendation and wowza. I like the darker color and can actually build up like 5-6 coats of polish before I feel the need to take it off. My actual nails seem to be in much better shape. Thanks for the recommendation!

  78. Bri says
    Posted March 4, 2019

    Could you share the nail places you have found that you were happy with for your local girls? It’s hard to find a good one and you seem to have found a place you were happy with. I know I’d love to check it out.

  79. Dana says
    Posted March 4, 2019

    I love how they turned out. Do you know if they were using opi products or something different? I have bought the opi dip system at the beauty supply and I know I just need to practice more to get it right.

    • Kate says
      Posted March 6, 2019

      OPI, yep!

  80. Laura says
    Posted March 8, 2019

    It’s interesting to hear that others have had a good experience with dipped nails. Here’s my pros and cons based on my experience:

    🙄After all the application it seemed strange to then have to drill so much off to shape the nail. Reminded me of having acrylics back in the 80’s and kinda looked like them when they were done.
    😜More expensive than gel (at least at this salon).
    😳Very Thick…I couldn’t pick up a dime!
    😱Grew out with humps.
    😞Removal seemed to take double the time as normal gels.
    😢I don’t recall the nail technician over roughing up the nail bed (?) but my nails were quite damaged afterwards. The nail technician said it was healthier for the nail. Really?!

    👍Long lasting and strong.
    A little over 3 weeks although, as it grew out, the humps were quite noticeable.

    I recently purchased all the products (lamp, gel polish, etc) and started doing my own gel nails. I’ve been happy with the results and cost savings. My nails are healthier too because I only buff the new nail bed.

    I enjoy your blog.

  81. Mary says
    Posted March 21, 2019

    My daughter has been having dip manicures for a few months and hers are gorgeous. They aren’t thick at all – her technician does a beautiful job. I stick to to regular polish for my nails…don’t like the damage from long-wear options.

  82. Dina says
    Posted March 21, 2019

    Yes, but I found the thickness to bother me also, I have wondered if one less dip in the powder would make a difference in the thickness? Other than that I felt it was pretty similar to the gel.

  83. Sophi says
    Posted March 21, 2019

    Ask them to do it thinner next time! I didn’t like the thickness the first time I did it and then I was told they could just do 2 layers instead of three. I tried that the next time and really liked it. I’m on day 17 and I’ve had to file a couple because the color has peeled a little bit around the tips of my nails but overall it’s lasted really well – much better than gel nails ever did for me.

  84. Shelby says
    Posted March 21, 2019

    I get my nails “dipped” all the time. I really think the thickness depends on the nail tech. My nail lady makes them pretty thin, MUCH thinner than others I’ve seen. So, you may want to shop around for a tech who does great dips. (Who would have thought it would vary so much? It really does though)

  85. Jcash says
    Posted March 21, 2019

    It doesn’t have to be that thick. Another person I follow asked for a thinner coat and she loved it. So maybe 2 coats or filing down a bit btw coats.

  86. Shay says
    Posted March 21, 2019

    I know in my area dip nails are a newer thing so depending on where you go you get different quality. I’ve had them done thick and thin but they seem to last about the same. I ended up learning how to do my own dip and I love it. I learned from this site
    It’s WAY cheaper and it’s fun. Plus if your nails mess up you know how to fix them and you don’t feel as bad cause you didn’t spend $50 in the salon. How much do they charge you guys for dip in your area? It’s about $35 – $40 without tip here in Michigan.

  87. Kathy Moore says
    Posted March 22, 2019

    I love the dip! They do not have to do so many layers, just ask them. Also it’s suppose to make your nails healthy! Maybe try a different place?? My nails are super healthy after I found the right place! Thank you for all you do!

  88. Helen says
    Posted April 12, 2019

    I’ve worn them for a long time. They should not be thick if done correctly. My nail person uses the SNS powder and it lasts for about 3 weeks.

  89. J says
    Posted May 13, 2019

    If your dip powder manicure is thick, try another salon. Your nails shouldn’t feel thick or heavy-that’s one reason why I opt for dip powder over gel or acrylic. I’ve always found dip to be lighter, but still very strong, and IMO a dip manicure looks far more natural.

  90. Cindy Shriver says
    Posted June 1, 2019

    Thank you for the review. It was helpful.

  91. Jes says
    Posted June 2, 2019

    I’ve had gel manicures just twice, and can’t stand the condition they leave my natural nails in when removed. I was hoping the powder dip would not be the same situation, but sounds like it is. Thank you for your information.

  92. Janie says
    Posted October 18, 2019

    I just got dip nails this week. Wish I had read this before I did! I’m having a hard time getting used to the thickness. Not sure I’ll do it again. But for now I’ll enjoy the pretty pink and when I see my 3 yr old granddaughter tomorrow I think she will really like it. Which is why I did it in the first place. 🥰

  93. Janie says
    Posted October 20, 2019

    I just got dip nails this past week and wish I had this information first! I really didn’t expect my nails to feel so thick. Don’t think I’ll do it again. But for now I’ll enjoy the pretty pink and wait for my 3yr old granddaughter’s response to them. Which is the reason why I got them In the first place. ☺️

  94. Jennifer says
    Posted October 22, 2019

    I get a dip manicure every 2 1/2 – 3 weeks. Mine are so thin no one knows they’re anything but polish. I switched from gel because I use my nails as “tools” and the gel was only lasting a week. I am a mom of 2 and a realtor so I need to look my best with very little time and the gel helps me accomplish that.
    Love your blog – it’s always so fun!

  95. Kim says
    Posted October 24, 2019

    I only let the nail technician put 2 coats. Looks very thin. Love dip and its stronger than gel. I can pick off gel but not the dip.

  96. Jackie says
    Posted October 30, 2019

    I’ve not bee a fan of the thickness either, but this time my nail tech applied the dip powder very much like the acrylic powder and they were nowhere near as thick.

  97. lana says
    Posted November 4, 2019

    I really have been meaning to move away from certain drugstore products but I was never ever sure which items were worth splurging on. Reading this now, it does make a lot of sense to invest in brushes and exfoliants. I’m glad to hear that I can keep my cleanser though (I use neutrogena as well)!

  98. Laura says
    Posted November 6, 2019

    I love neutral colors and love the color shown here. Do you happen to remember the name or brand of the dip shown in your picture?

  99. Kay says
    Posted April 21, 2020

    I’m a nail tech. Just fyi, all dip powders are made with acrylic. There aren’t any brands of dip powders without acrylic. . .because that it what dip is made of. It would be like saying there is a brand of cement with no cement in it, doesn’t make sense. 😉

  100. Sue says
    Posted November 22, 2020

    I have to agree with you 100%. After the powder is removed, I think my nails are in really bad shape. At the salon I go to, they use the electric file bit and it seems as though there is nothing left of my natural nails! I’m going back to gel.

  101. Vanja says
    Posted December 7, 2020

    I’ve been doing dip for almost 2 years now and let me tell you it’s life changing. The only thing is you have to find someone who k own how to apply it and that takes care of your nails. My nail tech is amazing so I commute 45 mins to get my nails done. My nails stay on 3-4 weeks.

  102. Linda says
    Posted March 13, 2021

    Just had my first dip manicure yesterday. I think my nails look odd. They are so thick! The girl put on 4 coats (dips). I’ve been told 2 is the right number of dips to make your nails look great. Will try another Salon when my nails start to grow. If they still look odd, no more dip for me.

  103. Tracy says
    Posted July 10, 2021

    Would you try doing dip nails at home? I’m looking to start doing my own nails at home and curious which would be easier to learn to do on myself: dip or gel? What do you think?

    • Kate says
      Posted July 12, 2021

      dip is a MESS, I would do Gel if I were you!