Your days of inhaling fumes from toxic smells, constant nail chipping, and sitting through numerous acrylic brushstrokes could be coming to an end! There's a popular manicure technique that's sweeping across nail salons: dip powders. If you frequent nail salons, you may have noticed the technique referred to as an SNS (Signature Nail Systems) manicure, which is one brand of the popular powders.
"It's just a natural powder that you dip your fingernails in, and then it will come out whatever color you choose," said Steve Van, nail technician at JQ Nail Spa, an SNS-authorized salon. "The dipping powder is more healthy because it has vitamins and calcium."
When using SNS or another dip powder, the nail technician will first brush a gel-like base onto the nail, then dip each nail in a powder, followed by a topcoat. The stainless and odorless powder dries instantly, without the use of UV light, and can last for 24 days or more.
For the removal process, SNS recommends sanding off the gel-top shine, then using a foil with acetone or soaking the nails in acetone for 10 minutes, and finally wiping it off with a paper towel. (It's a similar removal process to a regular gel manicure.)
There are other dip-powder brands in the market — OPI even has its own line now — but SNS has a range of over 400 colors and is highly sought after at nail salons. As Van said, the dip powders are popular at the moment because everyone has already tried acrylics and gel.
"It's like a hybrid between the gel polish and the acrylic powder," he told us. "It has the strength of acrylic, but the natural feeling of the gel polish. You get the best of both worlds."
Of course, there are some things to consider before dipping in the powder. Van, who's been doing this technique for about four years, said that some pros are that it's natural, healthier, lighter, doesn't live like normal acrylic manicures, and doesn't lift off your real nails. On the downside, an SNS mani is generally a bit pricier than a regular mani. Dip-powder manicures start at $35 at JQ Nail Spa.
Make sure your nail technician puts the powder in a separate bowl (rather than dipping your nail into the pot), for hygienic purposes. Certain brands (like Revel) do contain ingredients like cyanoacrylate, which is similar to crazy glue. But to each her own in the name of nart (nail art)!