Is Dip Powder Bad For Your Nails? Here Are the Pros and Cons

Within the last two decades, gel manicures and acrylic manicures have been rising in popularity because they can last up to two weeks. But there is another type of manicure worth knowing about before going to the salon: dip-powder manicures. The technique has been around since the 1980s.

The process of getting a dip manicure — or DYIng it at home — is different than other manicures you've experienced. Unlike gel, which requires UV rays to cement the polish or acrylic, dipped manicures use pigmented powder. First, a base coat and a sealant are applied from a small container of the color you've selected. A nail technician will then paint on both coats, shaping it to the contours of your nail. Some brands claim the products are "healthy" for the nail, as there are vitamins within the formulas. The manicure can sometimes last up to a month, but is dip powder bad for your nails?

Here, we're answering your biggest questions, including the side effects of dip-powder nails, so you can be prepared before trying them.

Is Dip Powder Bad For Your Nails?

If you're wondering is dip bad for your nails, the answer to this question boils down to how your manicure is done. The first thing to watch out for is the method by which the powder is applied. Some nail technicians will dip your nails directly into the container — this is how the manicure earned its name — versus painting the pigment on with a brush. This is unsanitary because of germs that can be picked up on the nail from dipping it into the bottle. If you choose to get this manicure done, make sure your technician is actually painting on the base, pigment, and sealant coats, not dipping.

Rita Pinto, founder of the popular luxury nail salon Vanity Projects, refuses to do dip-powder manicures because of these sanitation risks.

Pros and Cons of Dip Nails

Again, the sanitation part of the manicure process is a con for many nail artists and experts, but there are a few other things to keep in mind. "Dip powders are temporarily damaging to the nails as the seal layer of your nails is broken in the process of this type of manicure," says Josephine Allen, a nail technician at Samuel Shriqui Salon, which also boasts being Essie's flagship store. "Dip powders also tend to temporally dehydrate the nails."

If you're already addicted to dip manicures, don't fret: there are no long-term effects. While Allen says that dip powders aren't necessarily healthier than other types of manicures, the products are not permanently damaging. "The root of the nails will not be damaged in the process and a new layer of nail will continue to grow," she says.

If you do choose to get one, Allen recommends using paper wraps. "A manicure involving paper wrapping the free edge of the nails can last up to two weeks," she says. "This manicure is healthier for the nails and it won't be roughened in the process."

Another thing to keep in mind is that dip powders are not that far off from acrylic and gel. Because dip powders are made up of grains of pigment, they have more intense colors. This is different from acrylic nails which involve a liquid and a powder that bond to form a gel. Like acrylics, gel manicures are also a liquid that hardens when it comes into contact with a UV light. And with dip powders, a manicurist will use a glue that contains cyanoacrylate (think Krazy Glue, but for your nails) to get it to stick on the nail.

Side Effects of Dip-Powder Nails

If not done properly, some people may experience thinning nails or nail discoloration with frequent dip powder. As with gel and acrylic manicures, the removal process is essential to avoiding long-term damage and is what will help you eliminate most chances of side effects in the long run. Generally, all three types of manicures will require that you soak off the product, which can sometimes be time consuming, but don't rush it. Patience is key so you don't damage the top layer of your nails.