Gel Manicures Vs. Dip Powder

Gel Manicures Vs. Dip Powder: Which One Should You Choose?


Nothing can be more annoying than a chipped nail or smudged nail polish right before a party or an office event. Your manicure may not last long enough to survive your daily schedule and may crack away before you get to flaunt it.  

Luckily, new varieties of chip-resistant manicures show a lot of promise for busy bees like you. The popular ones being the gel manicure and dip powders. They are both great options for lustrous, eye-catching nails. But what are they exactly and which one should one choose?

What is Gel Manicure?

A gel manicure involves applying a gel-based polish to your nails and curing them with a UV or LED light. If you have natural nails (long or short) or want tips glued on first, it can create magic on your hands.

Gels last longer, feels better and shine more than regular manicures. The polishes contain more potent ingredients that grip the nail more tightly than conventional lacquers and are durable enough to withstand normal wear and tear without chipping.

Because gel manicures cure in seconds, you won’t have to worry about smudging your manicure when you leave the salon. 

What is Dip Powder Manicure?

Dip powder lies somewhere in the middle of real and fake acrylic nails. The procedure uses a dipping technique that progressively coats the natural nail with another layer of resin. The pigmented powder is used to cement these nails. 

In the previous year, dip powder was a huge success on Instagram, and a vast number of nail salons have begun to sell the service in recent years. You may have heard it referred to as an SNS manicure; that’s because SNS Nails is the leading brand in nearly all salons, and one of the early innovators. 


If you want long-lasting and strong nails, dipping powder is the way to go. Not only will you get bright, chip-free nail polish, but the formula will also make your nails feel extra powerful.

How Do They Differ?

Gel and dip powder have their differences even though both are almost equally long-lasting and bright. Here are a few:

Application Process

For a dip powder manicure, the nail is first painted with a base coat, then dusted with powder and coated with a topcoat. A gel is applied like regular polish but requires curing under UV light. The light exposure activates photo-initiated polymers in the gel manicure, whereas dip manicures contain colored acrylic powder combined with a glue-based resin. It is applied in layers by dipping into a small pot. 


A gel manicure could last for two weeks and longer with the right care. Dip powder manicures last for up to a month. The glue-type resin called cyanoacrylate in dip powder works as a strong adhesive that hardens after activator is applied. 

Removal Process

To remove gels, you should soak your fingers in nail polish remover for five to ten minutes. Dip powder nails can be soaked for ten to fifteen minutes. The best way to remove all styles of manicures is to return to your salon and leave it to the professionals.

Damage to the Nails

The formulas themselves are rarely harmful. Improper application can cause harm. With both gel polish and dip powder, impatience during the removal process can also result in nail and skin damage. Over-filing can also ruin the nails and is indicated by a burning sensation when filing the nails. You need to dissolve the polish in acetone and follow it up with cuticle hydration to prevent any collateral damage to your nails. 

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Costs and Time 

Costs for manicures can vary wildly. Of course, a set of wedding nails for your special day will likely cost a little extra compared to a routine return to your favorite nail salon, for example. Gel nails start at around $35 to $40. If you go to a high-end salon, it might cost you $100. Dip manicures are around $5 to $10 more expensive than gel nails. Both nail manicures take approximately 40 minutes to an hour, depending on the professional’s expertise and other factors. Gel nails usually take a bit longer because of cure time.

Understand Your Requirements

There are few things to consider when someone comes to you asking for a specific nail manicure. Firstly, it is essential to understand your routine. Does it involve lots of manual work with hands? Or are they constantly exposed to moisture or water?

Also, make sure to analyze your nails for breakage, brittleness, or infections. A manicure might worsen their condition. When choosing a design or nail shape, listen to what the salon advises and make decisions based on that. 

The Aftercare

Gel and dip powder manicures are pretty sturdy. But, you still need to be a little bit careful to guard against overexposure to water and strong detergents. Make sure you wear protective gloves when doing the dishes, cleaning, or gardening. Always moisturize your nails with cuticle oil or a high-quality moisturizer. Lastly, have a healthy diet and stay hydrated. 

No matter what nail manicure you choose, both offer significant benefits. Your preference depends on budget, nail condition, purpose, and other factors. Gel or dip, get your nails done by a professional who knows the science behind the formulas and nail care. Happy manicuring! 

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