Anyone who gets their nails done regularly knows that picking a color can be only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to manicure decisions. There are so many choices involved, not least of them deciding what kind of manicure to get.
One can choose a traditional manicure, or upgrade to gel nail polish, dip powder, acrylic nails, and more. With traditional manicures and acrylic nails existing at the extreme ends of the spectrum, gel polish and dip powder are very appealing options for most people. But what exactly are the differences between the two?
If you are one of 20 million Americans who frequent the nail salon each year, chances are you have already established a nail routine. But if you are looking to change things up at your next salon appointment, and are curious about the differences between gel and dip powder, continue reading this guide so that you can make an informed decision about your next and future manicures.
Dip powder is widely regarded as a cross of gel and acrylic nails. It involves a pigmented powder and sealant, and the final result is thicker than regular polish, but not nearly as built up as acrylic nails.
First, your nail technician will prep your nails by removing any old manicure, filing the nails, buffing the nails, cutting or pushing back the cuticles, and cleaning the nails. Before your technician “dips” your nails into a lightly colored powder, an adhesive base coat is applied to ensure that the powder sticks.
Several layers of powder may be needed to achieve the desired shade. After dipping, a sealant is applied over the nail to fix the powder in place. Once a clear top coat is applied, the process is finished. From prep to final top coat, the process takes anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour.
One of the top benefits of having a dip powder manicure, rather than a gel polish manicure, is that dip powder does not require UV light, and the coats dry almost instantly, so you do not have to wait.
Like any beauty-related service, the cost can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the job, and the particular salon or technician. However, as a general rule of thumb (no pun intended), a dip powder manicure will run around $40 to $50.
Maintenance and Lastability
This type of manicure is easy to maintain. With nail growth, a fresh dip powder manicure will be necessary in 3 weeks or so. Dip powder manicures are highly durable, but it is still important to protect the nail as much as possible to prevent damage to the manicure. As recommended by the nail gurus behind SNS Nails, keeping your nails out of the sun, avoiding hot water exposure, and applying cuticle oil to the nail regularly will greatly lengthen the lifespan of your manicure.
The removal process for a dip powder manicure can be damaging to the nail if it is not done properly. To remove the manicure, soak your nails in nail polish remover for ten to fifteen minutes. If the polish does not come off after soaking, filing the polish away may be necessary. To protect your natural nail as much as possible during the removal process, it is always best to have a professional nail technician assist you.
Dip powder manicures can make anyone’s nails look strong, healthy, and attractive since it adds some thickness and gloss to the nail. The manicure will also look very natural, as it does not require the addition of a false nail.
However, if too many layers of powder are applied, the manicure can end up looking a bit bulky. This is all about preference, but the manicure will more than likely look best if it is done with as few layers of powder as possible.
Gel polish is a polish that starts off as a liquid when applied to the nail, and is then “cured” using a UV light, which hardens the liquid into a tough coating that is more resistant to wear than typical nail polish.
The application process for a gel manicure is generally similar to that of dip powder. Your nail technician will prep your nails by removing any old manicure, filing and buffing the nail, pushing back the cuticle, and making sure the nail is clean, dry, and ready for a fresh coat.
Gel polish looks a lot like traditional polish. Before painting the nail with colored polish, the nail technician will apply the base coat. To “cure” the base coat, your nails will be placed under a UV light for at least 30 seconds. Like traditional nail polish, the gel-colored polish will just need to be applied in two coats or more in order to achieve an even and rich color, and each coat will have to be cured under UV light before the next coat.
Finally, the nail technician will apply the top coat, which will also need to be cured, this time for at least a minute, to make sure the entire manicure is good and dry. Even though the UV light shouldn’t add more than 10 minutes to the total manicure time (up to 45 minutes), it can be tedious, and some people do not like exposure to UV radiation.
Once again, the cost will vary, but a typical gel manicure should run from around $35 to $40.
Maintenance and Lastability
A gel manicure should last 2 weeks but could last even longer with proper care. As mentioned above, avoid exposing your nails to harsh light and temperatures, and keep them moisturized, to protect the manicure for as long as possible.
The removal process for a gel manicure is similar to that of the dip powder manicure, but the nails should only need to soak in the nail polish remover for 5 to 10 minutes. Again, to make sure your nails are not damaged while removing the gel polish, it is best to have the help of professionals.
The finished look of a gel manicure will look a lot like a finished dip powder manicure– smooth, sleek, and made to last.