Dip powder nails can be daunting if you don’t know where to start (or how to finish). A manicure that’ll last you an entire month sounds great, but how do you get there? Or, if you’re a pro at applying dip powder, how do you protect it? Keep reading to find out more.
What are dip powder nails?
Dip powder nails are exactly what they sound like; nails dipped into powder! Acrylic powder, to be exact. Dip powder is the same thing as acrylic powder without the overpowering smell or complicated application process and saves you a lot more time; with enough practice, a dip powder manicure could take you less than 10 minutes.
The thing that makes people want to keep coming back for more is the longevity of dip nails. We’ve had customer testimonials say they’ve had their dip nails last for six weeks! Of course, we like to switch our manicures up every week, but for busy, on-the-go women, dip powder makes all the difference.
If you’ve tried dip powder before but didn’t have lasting results, your issue might’ve been the top coat or nail prep. Read our dip powder nail prep guide to make sure you’ve got all the steps down.
What is a dip top coat?
Top coat is the final layer of any good manicure, whether you have gel, acrylics, dip, or even regular nail polish on your nails. It seals the polish/acrylic in and keeps stains, dirt, and pokey things out, making your mani last longer and look better. There are two kinds of top coats: matte and glossy. A matte top coat will take away any light reflection from your nails for a smooth, refined look, while a glossy top coat adds tons of shine. We like both!
From there, there are two other subsets of top coat: gel vs. air-dry. An air-dry top coat is used for standard nail polish and shouldn’t be used over gel, acrylic, or dip powder because the chemical formulas aren’t meant to mix. A gel top coat is the way to go.
What is a gel top coat?
A gel top coat is a sealant to your gel, acrylic, or dip manicure. It requires a UV light to be cured (generally 30 to 120 seconds depending on the brand and UV lamp). There are matte and glossy top coats, but both yield the same result; a beautiful, long-lasting mani. A gel top coat comes in a small nail polish bottle and is painted over your nails in a thin layer to be cured by UV light.
We recommend our Fairy Glamor gel top coat for best results with our artisan dip powders.
Can you use a gel top coat over dip nails?
Yes! A gel top coat is perfect for dip nails. In fact, we recommend making this specialized top coat a part of your dip powder routine, because it's glossier and faster to apply than the normal dip top coat method.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Stunning dip powder manicure that you want to preserve
- Gel top coat
- UV lamp
- Complete your dip manicure. If you’ve never done this before, read our guide to dip powder nails at home.
- Take our Fairy Glamor gel top coat and paint a thin layer over each of your nails.
- Stick your hand under your UV lamp and cure. If you’re using our top coat, you’ll only need 30 seconds under a high-quality lamp. Other brands may differ.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 for a second layer of top coat; this adds maximum shine (if using a glossy top coat) and protection.
- That’s all there is to it! Now you can use your hands freely without worrying about damaging your dip nails.
How to prevent your gel top coat from peeling.
Gel top coats can start to peel from a variety of reasons. Dip nail surfaces are very smooth--and while this looks great from a cosmetic standpoint, the smooth surface can actually prevent your gel top coat from sticking properly. So how do we fix this?
First, make sure your dip nails have dried all the way. When you use activator or cure, or your dip base, it can cause moisture on the nail. If you try and put the gel top coat over a moist surface, it won't hold and will peel off. To help with this, you can use a drying agent, like isopropyl alcohol, over your nails before applying the gel coat. Just make sure to wait until it dries all the way before applying the gel.
Another method that will help your gel stick is to lightly buff the surface of your nail before applying your gel coat. This will increase the friction between the surface of your nail and the gel, which will improve its hold.
Last but not least, make sure you have a good UV lamp for dip nails, and that you're curing the gel for long enough. If you don't cure it well, the gel will peel within a few days.
Can you cure gel without a UV lamp?
If your lamp suddenly died on you or you just don’t have one, you might be wondering how to cure your gel top coat without a UV light. Unfortunately, there is no tried and true alternative to a UV lamp. Theoretically, you could put your hands in the sunlight and wait for it to cure, but this could take a really long time. We don’t currently have a UV light in our store, but there are great ones online for cheap.