Nail dip manicures are acrylic powder on natural nails.

The biggest selling point of dip powder manicures is that—unlike gels—they don’t need to be cured or sealed with a UV lamp. Instead, your nails are treated with a pigmented and durable powder that can last for three-ish weeks (which, yep, is a lot longer than the standard two weeks with gels and acrylics). The technique varies a little from salon to salon, but here’s what you can generally expect:

The nails are first cleaned and filed, making sure any excess oils and/or polish are completely removed.

A base coat is applied to each nail, and while they’re still wet, the nails are coated one by one in the colored powder of your choice. This process is repeated until you’ve reached the desired pigment (usually two coats), tapping off any excess powder in between each coat.

The nails are finished off with a couple layers of topcoat and an activator/sealant (this depends on the exact formula you use).

Once dry, you’ll lock it all in with a final layer of topcoat (think: something glossy and shiny to really bring out your powder mani).

There’s a good chance you’ve seen a spike in dip powder manicures on your Insta feed in recent months (I mean…they’re really satisfying to watch if you’re into ASMR), but the technique has actually been around for years. So why hasn’t it exploded in popularity? Because not every salon offers dip powder (more on that later), although luckily, it’s a technique you can recreate at home.

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