Dip Nails or SNS, is the newest nail technique to surface in recent years. People love it because of it’s various color options, durability, no need for UV light and how it strengthens your natural nails. Dip powder is easy to use, and lasts upwards of 3 weeks. You can get this done at almost any nail salon now, but why pay $50+ every couple weeks, when you can get a whole starter kit for less than $35? The process is fairly simple and takes about 1-1.5 hours.


What you’ll need:

  • DIP NAILS STARTER KIT– I use Revel Nail. The kit comes with Step 1 Pro Base, Step 2 Activator & Step 3 Finishing Gel, gel thinner and a .5 oz color of your choice.
  • CLEAR DIP POWDER– optional, but helps with creating a more uniform color when used as a base.
  • NAIL FILES– I use both 180 and 120/140
  • NAIL DRILL– optional, but helpful when fixing edges and when removing dip powder later on.
  • POWDER BRUSH– any fluffy brush will do, helps brush away excess powder to prevent build up.
  • ACETONE– needed to remove dip powder.
  • PAPER TOWEL- makes for easy clean up and protects your work surface.
First layer of dip powder applied to 3/4 of nail bed in Revel Nail D75- Vivien (clear)

1.PREP YOUR NAILS- Push back cuticles, then using a 180 grit file, shape nails and then file nail surface gently until there is no shine. Apply acetone to a small piece of paper towel and rub each nail (this helps to dehydrate your nail and help the dip powder stick).

2. FIRST LAYER- Using Step 1 Pro Base, apply a thin layer to 3/4 of nail, avoiding the cuticle area and dip in clear powder (do this one at a time as the Pro Base dries quickly). Tap finger to remove excess powder. After about 30 seconds, gently use powder brush to remove any additional powder from nail. This helps to avoid build up around the cuticle area.

**If you don’t have clear you can do this with the colored powder as well. But I find that doing the first layer with clear helps to keep a more uniform color across the nail)

After activator has been applied to dip nails, before shaping.

3. SECOND & THIRD LAYER- This time using Step 1 Pro Base, apply a thin layer all over the nail, and dip in colored powder. Tap away excess and after about 30 seconds use powder brush to remove any additional powder. To keep your Pro Base from getting thick and polluted with powder, be sure to wipe the brush off on a lint-free paper towel between every application. Repeat for a second layer of color.

**Wipe away any Pro Base that gets on your cuticles or skin before dipping, as the powder will stick to anywhere you applied the Pro Base. If you find that there is a build up of powder on the sides of your nails, I like to use a nail brush (pictured above) to remove the build up between layers in addition to the powder brush, Just be sure you give the Pro Base & powder ample time to set before using, about 1 minute.

4. ACTIVATOR- Using Step 2 Activator, apply generously to each nail and cap off the ends. Let dry 1 minute.

5. SHAPE- Using 180 grit nail file, file sides and edges of nails to push away from cuticles. Using nail drill, smooth out cuticle edges and any major bumps (if you don’t have a drill or don’t have any major imperfections you can use the 180 grit nail file instead). Then using 120 or 140 grit continue to smooth out nail. Apply Step 2 Activator again to each nail and let dry 2 minutes.

**There is no need to buff the nail to a perfect shine, you just want the overall shape to be cleaned up.

Finished product! (Revel Nail’s DP241- Desire)

6. FINISHING GEL- Wipe nails with a lint free paper towel to remove any excess Activator. Then, apply your first layer of Step 3 Finishing Gel in 2-3 quick strokes, avoiding the cuticle area and wiping the brush on a paper towel before re-inserting into the bottle. Let dry 15 seconds. Then apply a more detailed thin layer, getting close to, but not touching the cuticle. Repeat on all fingers. Let dry 2 minutes. Apply favorite cuticle oil to all fingers and rub all over nail.

And there you have it! Your own dip powder manicure that you can do over and over for the fraction of the cost at any nail salon.