Liquids, gels, and acrylics, meet the newest addition to the nail beauty family: dip powder nails.

If you haven’t heard of dip powder manicures yet, or have just been intimidated by this trailblazing newcomer to the salon world, don’t be shy! In this guide, we’ll make the introductions, skip the small talk, and cut right to the chase — our very favorite 10 dip powder nail looks ready for you to try this trending manicure on for size.

Before we turn to page one of our lookbook, let’s mill out the details of dip powder manicures and find out how this new salon favorite can take your nail game to the next level.

What Is a Dip Powder Manicure?

Dip powder manicures — otherwise known as “SNS” — are the beauty industry’s latest hard-hitter for getting polished nails with unmatched longevity. Nail salons and qualified beauty professionals across the globe have hopped on this new innovation considering the many benefits of SNS.

The main difference between dip powders and their predecessors is that dip nail formulas don’t require UV light to seal the deal. That means no loitering in the salon, flipping idly through tabloids while you literally wait for the paint to dry beneath those violet floodlights — and no accidental smears as you reach for your car keys if you don’t have the extra time to spend twiddling your varnished thumbs.

So, what exactly is involved in the dip manicure process? Let’s review.

Dip Powder Manicures 101

Different salons have their own procedures for dip powder manicures, but the process typically goes a little something like this:

  • Step 1: Your nails and cuticles will be trimmed, cleaned, and dried to get the cleanest foundation possible for your natural nail. At this step, the nail technician will shape your nails depending on your personal preference. There are many types of nail shapes that your nail tech can help you achieve, so be sure to express the shape and length you prefer before they start the dip process.
  • Step 2: Next comes the base coat. Before this layer has dried, your nail technician will “dip” (hence the name) the nail into acrylic in powdered form. Depending on the kind of look you’re going for, this may be done repeatedly, typically three to four dips per nail. When comparing dip vs acrylic, this is the one of the biggest differences in the overall manicure process.
  • Step 3: To help the powder finish of your nails cure, your nail technician will add a sealant — the toner that will help your dip powder manicure stay impeccable for up to three weeks.
  • Step 4: Last of all, the top coat, the layer that gives your nails a shine to rival their gel nail polish counterparts.

The total process of a dip powder manicure is brisk, but keep in mind that removing them can be a nuisance. Because of its tenacity, dip powder has to be removed by a long soak wrap that generally lasts a half-hour, and may leave your nails a little worse for wear.

To give your fingers the royal treatment fresh off their first dip powder manicure experience, make a point of moisturizing liberally with cuticle oil and let them rest for a week or two before they go in for a double-dip.

10 Dip Powder Designs to Treat Your Nails

If you’re sold on a durable, tough-as-nails manicure that will last you a month, you have one key challenge ahead of you: choosing a nail look that can ride the waves of your wardrobe choices and social calendar right along with you.

Here, we’ve assembled our favorite dip powder nails ideas to give you standout fingers for any outfit, occasion, or hum-drum to-dos you have on the agenda for the month.

#1: Ombré French

A French manicure never goes out of style. For an updated version of this classic nail design, try an ombré French look that trades a clean white hem for an ivory gradient.

#2: ‘80s-Inspired

Whatever era you spent your childhood in, you’re probably familiar with that late ‘80s/early ‘90s aesthetic that embraces colorful geometric shapes and squiggly lines in bold color — you know, the one that calls sitcoms like the “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” or “Full House.”

Ring any bells? Let these “Saved by the Bell-esque” nails inspire you and add some irony to your next dip manicure.

#3: Opposing Colors

As you may remember from high school art class, there are three complementary color sets on the wheel:

  • Yellow and violet
  • Red to green
  • Blue to orange

For a bold nail look, choose a pair of opposites and work from thumb to pinky to transition between the two. You can choose a gradient that moves horizontally along the nail or vertically. Either way, this is a statement look that’s sure to catch the eye.

#4: Grey Out

Shadowy greys are having a moment in the sun and are one of the top trending nail colors to have on your radar. From dove greys to duskier hues, shades of grey are versatile enough to pair with any ensemble, and reminiscent of everything from fine cashmere to a coming storm.

#5: ‘60s Mod

Classic black and white combos call to mind the Twiggy aesthetic of the 1960s. For an updated take, work with your nail artist to sketch geometric shapes across a clean bone varnish.

#6: Anime-Inspired

You don’t have to be an anime fan to appreciate the incredible creativity exhibited by this Japanese style of illustration. Maybe you’re only familiar with Pokémon, grew up watching Sailor Moon, or are a huge Miyazaki fan — whatever your exposure to this art form is, let anime nails inspire you to get creative with your next dip powder manicure.

#7: Marble

If you’ve come across this kaleidoscopic nail style while prowling down your Instagram feed, you were probably as hypnotized as we were! Choose any two colors and take them for a spin with marbled nails — for a subtler feel, select two hues in the same family, and pick out two opposing shades for a more daring look.

#8: French Lace

One of our favorite dip powder nail designs is another take on the French manicure. Feeling feminine? Use a muted pink or beige dip to cover the nail bed, then ask your technician for lace-inspired details at the tips of your fingers. 

#9: Midnight Matte

A matte look is another wearable way to cop a dip powder manicure that can work with whatever outfits you have on the docket for your three weeks of on-point nails. Matte looks particularly sleek in deep, dark colors:

  • Navy
  • Aubergine
  • Chocolate
  • Emerald
  • Merlot

If you really want to lean into the witching hour vibe, ask your nail artist for starry accents to make your nails resemble a clear night sky.

#10: Earthy Nudes

Nude nails haven’t always been in vogue, but their meteoric popularity in the past decade has made them one of the classic manicures. For an updated version of this salon favorite, choose a dip powder that takes your own skin tone a shade or two deeper to give your fingers some definition.

Pros and Cons of Dip Powder Nails

So, should you take the plunge and plunge your fingers into a canister of dip powder? Let’s review a few advantages and disadvantages of this method:

  • Pro: Dip powder manis age well. The main advantage of dip nails is their lasting power, due to the powerful adhesives used to bond pigment to nail. Typically lifespans hover around three weeks but an expertly executed manicure can linger in excellent condition for a full month, especially if you choose better nail polish brands for your manicure. 
  • Con: Removing dip powder can be a drag. Nail enthusiasts beware: do not try to remove your dip powder manicures with nail polish remover at home. The key to lifting dip powder off of your nails is a long soak — but you’ll need the expertise of your nail tech to know when the removal has been effective without stripping the natural nail plate. Removing dip powder takes around 30 minutes, so be sure to schedule a follow-up session to ensure it’s done right.
  • Pro: Insta-model nails for an affordable price. Due to their elasticity, dip powder nails are in it for the long-haul. Not only does that mean you’ll spare yourself the dreaded chip or smudge — you’ll also be saving in the long run. Dip powder manicures typically cost from $30-$50 per application, which can really add up if you’re a mani-a-week kind of person.
  • Con: Sanitation can be a gamble. Salon-goers’ main concern for dip powder manicures is hygiene. Like chips at a superbowl party or spoons in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, double-dipping between clients at a nail salon isn’t the most sanitary way of getting rock hard nails.

If you’re at all concerned about the cleanliness of dip powder manis, do your due diligence ahead of time and check with your local nail bar to see how they handle their sanitation protocol.

At the end of the day, every trip to the nail salon has a degree of attendant risks for catching an infection. In the end, the endurance of your dip powder manicure may actually save you some extra trips to the salon and keep you out of harm’s way.

Find Your New Favorite Mani-Pedi Master with StyleSeat

Whatever style calls to you, manicures make a difference in anyone’s overall style. But how do you find the right stylist to make your mani dreams come true? Enter StyleSeat, your one-stop shop for all things beauty. Whether you are searching for a qualified nail technician in Philadelphia or highly ranked nail salons in Dallas, look no further than StyleSeat to help bring your manicure vision to life.


Allure. The Major Differences Between Gel and Dip Powder Nails.

Elle. Everything You Should Know Before Getting A Dip Powder Manicure.