Dip powders have been available since the early 1980’s, but in the last few years they’ve experienced a massive boom in exposure and attention, especially as an alternative to gel manicures.
Dip powders are applied in a multi-step process beginning with the application of an adhesive to the nail, followed by dipping into a chosen color powder, and then finished with a sealing polish. The dip powder process is somewhat involved, but preferable to gel polish for a few reasons. First and foremost, the process doesn’t require the use of potentially harmful UV lamps. Dip powder lasts at least 2 weeks maintaining a full shine, but depending on the manufacturer and situation, users report it can last up to four weeks, longer than typically recommended gel polish lifespan. The colors are richer and more vibrant with a dip powder manicure, because the color is applied in the powder, not in the polish. Depending on which product you’re using, dip powder manicures can even improve, or at least maintain, the health of your nails.
The popularity of dip powder has driven an increase in the quantity of dip powder products on the market today; unknown brands are popping up and advertising heavily. However, the quality remains a challenge. For the best quality and value, these four brands are your go-to dip powder suppliers in 2021.
For the all-around best ingredient quality, durability, breathability, and color selection, SNS Gelous Color is your best bet. SNS is synonymous with dip powder; most salons are using SNS products for their dip manicures. As a matter of fact, you’ll hear a dip powder manicure called an ‘SNS manicure’, similar to the way people refer to Bandaids instead of bandages. SNS is one of the earliest innovators of dip powders, since the early 1990s, and have only gotten better at it with time.
One of the core values at SNS as a company is a commitment to health. The sealers and base adhesive used with Gelous Color have calcium and four vitamins, more than any other line. The application of these vitamins directly strengthens nails and prevents damage to the nail bed. Users report that after removal of an SNS dip manicure, their nail beds are actually stronger and healthier, a complete departure from acrylic and gel manicures. SNS dip powders are non-allergenic, never tested on animals, and never contain MMA, toluene, or formaldehyde.
Health tip: if you have sensitive eyes or skin, ask your salon to use the SenShine line of bases and sealers with the Gelous Color dips.
When it comes to color, you’ll find SNS sits at the very top. Gelous Color powders are vibrant and luxurious, with a richness that’s hard to explain– you have to see it to understand. Over 400 colors available, with a new collection of themed colors released about four times a year. Everything from sparkling, crystalline coats to subdued nudes to rich purples and moody reds are represented in the Gelous Color line, with matching gel or polish colors to coordinate with a pedicure. Because of the sheer size of their color selection, SNS powders are especially suited for nail art.
Unlike with other dip powder products, the SNS process doesn’t require that a separate primer is applied to the nail. There’s also no need for thorough filing before applying the initial adhesive layer. SNS’ odorless powder is finely milled compared to other brands’ powders.
OPI Powder Perfection
OPI’s dip powders have a lot to live up to. The company, originally a dental supplier, was the first to produce acrylic powder for use on nails in the early 1980s. OPI products in general have a well-earned reputation for quality. The most popular salon brand for years for traditional nail polish, OPI introduced gel and dip powder products to their line as well.
OPI dipping kits use resin as a base coat, along with an activating agent to cure the resin, allowing for quick adhesion to the nail. They’re not slouching on the color selection either; OPI offers hundreds of options to professional nail technicians, all available in gel and polish coordinating colors. The at-home products offer a more limited assortment for their dip-at-home products. While OPI powders lean a little toward the expensive side, they are exceptionally durable due to the coarseness of the powder grains and the types of adhesive and sealer used.
Kiara Sky powders mix relatively high quality with comparably low cost, with an added focus on at-home application. If you’re looking for an at-home dip kit, Kiara Sky is the perfect place to start. Their kits include products for all steps complete necessary to complete a dip powder application at home. It takes a certain level of patience and practice to master the dip application at home, but Kiara Sky offers some helpful videos and instruction. Though the color offerings at home are limited, cost conscious customers enjoy the savings over salon services. Kiara Sky powders are available to technicians in an expansive array of expressive color options, though they are harder to find stocked in your salons.
The acrylic powders themselves are odorless — though it should be clarified that the included adhesive and sealer are not — and the product is marketed as being MMA- and cruelty-free, which should make ethics-conscious technicians and DIY enthusiasts happy. And even better, Kiara Sky powders are made in the USA, a fact the company enthusiastically shares.
Nugenesis has grown to become a strong contender as a quality and health-conscious dip powder. The final results are comparable to other top-of-the-line dip powder brands, but Nugenesis touts an acrylic powder manufactured using “organic processing”. Their formula also includes calcium and vitamin E, with users reporting strengthened, smoothed-out nails free of concerning ridges after the application of Nugenesis’ dip powder system. They offer both pro level and at-home product lines.
While it may be one of the pricier options both for professional and at-home application, Nugenesis products will satisfy in terms of quality and durability. In addition, all of their products are manufactured in the USA and Canada.