Worth It? The Dip Powder Manicure

Sad news - I have notoriously thin nails. It's one of my most tragic features. I don't mean thin like "dang I broke my nail again, waa" - I mean transparent, constantly peeling, basically just one layer of nail, nails. They're sensitive, they're dry, and they pretty much always look atrocious. I can't grow them out, and if I do, they bend like a rickety bridge in an earthquake.

I've been nail shamed by technicians, offered serums and treatments. I've tried nail hardener, taken biotin and collagen supplements, and have even considered asking my doctor to take a second look at my thyroid just to be sure. But nothing seems to help my flimsy, sad nails. Keeping them short and avoiding anything except regular polish was my only refuge in this harsh sad world of crappy nails. Until I heard about the Dip Manicure.

I was immediately skeptical. A nail technician dips your finger into a small bowl of powder and viola, flawless hard-as-acrylic nails? No way. I couldn't see how it would be any better than gel - which I'd had my own horror stories with - lifting, peeling, absolutely destroying my poor fragile natural nails. Gel was a particularly offensive practice for me as it lead me to pick off the polish as soon as there was a crack or a chip, and once the picking begins - it's all over for the rest of the hand.

Sitting down to get my dip manicure was pleasant. I chose a flattering pale nude pink - a la Meghan Markle's wedding polish - and gave it to the technician. He applied a thin layer of bonding polish, dipped my nail in clear powder, and then began with the pink.

After the second coat I started to get concerned. My nails, particularly my right pinkie nail looked like round pastel bubbles. The powder also had kind of a lumpy texture, but I trusted the process since this was my first time, and the salon had great reviews.

Thankfully, after the dipping was done and I was instructed to wash my hands, my technician began to file down my bubble nails. I did get a little nick during cuticle removal and bled a tiny bit, but that's fairly common with any manicure so I didn't blame him, or the dip technique. After filing and a top coat, I was ready to go. There was virtually no drying time, which was awesome, as I'm the kind of person that can muck up my manicure before I've even left the building.

By the time I left the salon I was excited for my new strong nails, loved the color, and was looking forward to seeing if they grew out without breaking - as my nails usually do. One thing about dip - it is virtually impossible to pick off - which means one will need to return to the salon to have it removed. For me, that's a big plus. Being unable to destroy my own manicure gives it definite "worth it" points.

30 days in - The Verdict

I just got the dip taken off yesterday, and overall I was very impressed. My nails grew longer than they ever had before in my life - and there was little to no damage left behind after they soaked them in acetone, save for a little dryness.

As much as I would've loved to keep my new talons, my natural nails are much too thin to maintain length (I really don't know how to remedy this, I've tried everything) so I got them clipped and regular polish applied, but it was nice to have long nails while it lasted.

30 days with dip polish nails and there were no cracks or chips, one of my nails did begin to lift but a little nail glue saved the day.

Although I wouldn't do dip every month since it's best to let even the strongest nails breathe between treatments, I would definitely give it another go if I was going on vacation or headed to a wedding or special occasion.

If done correctly, I see dip nails as a much better alternative to gel - less risk of peeling and no UV light, longer lasting than traditional polish, and they do let us short nail gals dream a little. If you're on the fence, I'd say find a high rated salon and give it a go!

Have you done dip nails? What was your experience?
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