A composite image showing two different nail beauty treatments side by side; on the left, a hand receives dip powder treatment with a nude color being applied, and on the right, a hand under a UV lamp showcases shiny pink gel nails adorned with white heart patterns.

If you love getting your nails done, you might have wondered which type of manicure is better for your nails: dip powder or gel polish. Both options can give you beautiful, long-lasting results, but they also have some pros and cons that you should know before you book your next appointment. In this article, I will compare Dip Powder vs. Gel Nails in terms of durability, safety, cost, removal, and nail art possibilities.

01 | What is dip powder?

Dip powder is a type of manicure that uses acrylic powder to create a durable and shiny layer on your natural nails. The process involves applying a bonding liquid and a base coat on your nails, then dipping them into a jar of colored powder. This step is repeated one or two more times to achieve the desired opacity and thickness. Then, a liquid sealant is applied to harden and seal the powder, followed by a top coat to add shine.

02 | What is gel polish?

Gel polish is a type of manicure that uses a resin-like liquid that hardens under UV or LED light. The process involves applying a base coat, a color coat, and a top coat on your nails, curing each layer under a light for 30 to 60 seconds. Gel polish creates a glossy and smooth finish that lasts for up to three weeks without chipping.

03 | Durability

One of the main advantages of dip powder manicures is that they last longer than gel polish manicures. Dip powder can last for up to four or five weeks without cracking or lifting, while gel polish usually starts to peel or chip after two or three weeks. Dip powder also adds strength to your natural nails, making them less prone to breaking or splitting.

However, dip powder manicures can also be damaging to your nails in the long run, especially if you don’t give them a break between appointments. Dip powder can make your nails dry, brittle, and thin, and increase the risk of infection or fungus if not applied or removed properly.

04 | Safety

Another benefit of dip powder manicures is that they don’t require UV or LED light to dry, unlike gel polish manicures. UV or LED light can expose your hands to harmful radiation that can cause skin aging, sun damage, and even skin cancer over time. However, some nail technicians may use a clear gel top coat over the dip powder and cure it with a light to make it dry faster.

On the other hand, dip powder manicures can also pose some sanitary issues if not done hygienically. If multiple clients dip their nails into the same jar of powder, there is a potential for cross-contamination and bacterial infection if there are any cuts or scrapes on the fingers. To avoid this, you should ask your nail technician to sprinkle the powder onto your nails instead of dipping them directly into the jar.

05 | Cost

The cost of dip powder and gel polish manicures can vary depending on the salon, the city, and the nail technician’s experience. On average, you can expect to pay $35 to $50 for either option. However, dip powder manicures may be more expensive than gel polish manicures in some places because they require more product and time to apply.

06 | Removal

Both dip powder and gel polish manicures require professional removal to avoid damaging your natural nails. The removal process involves soaking your nails in acetone for 10 to 15 minutes, then gently scraping off the product with a metal or wooden tool. However, some nail technicians may use an electric file or drill to remove the product faster, which can cause more harm than good.

The removal process can be harsh on your nails and skin, so you should moisturize them well after each session. You should also wait at least a week before getting another manicure to let your nails breathe and recover.

07 | Nail art

If you like to express your creativity with nail art, you may prefer gel polish manicures over dip powder manicures. Gel polish offers more flexibility and variety when it comes to colors, designs, shapes, and embellishments. You can mix and match different shades of gel polish, use stickers, stamps, decals, gems, glitter, foil, and more to create unique looks.

Dip powder manicures are more limited in terms of nail art possibilities because they use pre-mixed colors that cannot be blended or customized easily. You can still add some simple accents like French tips, ombre effects, or dots with dip powder, but they may not look as smooth or precise as with gel polish.

A hand flaunting long almond-shaped nails finished with a glittery lavender-colored gel polish, exemplifying a chic and trendy nail fashion choice with a touch of sparkle. Dip Powder vs. Gel Nails

08 | Conclusion

Dip powder and gel polish manicures are both popular options for getting your nails done professionally. They have their own pros and cons that you should consider before choosing one over the other. Dip powder manicures are more durable and don’t require UV or LED light, but they can also be more damaging and less sanitary than gel polish manicures. Gel polish manicures are more versatile and offer more nail art options, but they also require UV or LED light and don’t last as long as dip powder manicures.

Ultimately, the best type of manicure for you depends on your personal preference, lifestyle, budget, and nail health. You should also consult with your nail technician and ask for their advice and recommendations based on their experience and expertise.

Related Articles:

Dip Powder Nails 101: Everything You Need to Know

Pros and Cons of Dip Powder Nails: According to the Dermatologist


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