Choosing Dip Powder For Acrylic Results: The Ultimate Guide

Key Takeaways
  • Dip powder nails are not the same as traditional liquid-and-powder acrylic nails, although they can have a similar appearance.
  • The application of dip powder involves using a bonding agent, a base coat, dipping the nails into colored powder, and sealing with a top coat, creating a hard, durable finish.
  • Unlike acrylic nails, dip powder nails don’t require the use of liquid monomers, which can have a strong odor and can be irritating to some people.
  • Dip powder nails are sometimes called “acrylic dip” or “acrylic dip powder,” which can lead to confusion, but the processes and ingredients are distinct.

With so many different nail products available at the moment, it is difficult to know what you can pair with which different product.

Using Dip Powder as Acrylic: The Ultimate Guide

But don’t worry! We have put together this quick guide to take you through the basics of using dip powder as acrylics, as well as some hot tips to keep your nails healthy and cute.

Before You Get Started

  • Product Quality: Ensure you use high-quality dip powder products. Quality affects the appearance and longevity of your nails.
  • Sanitation: Maintain proper hygiene and sanitation during the application process to prevent infection.
  • Nail Health: Ensure your natural nails are in good condition. If they are damaged, brittle, or infected, it’s best to let them recover before using dip powder.
  • Filing and Shaping: The shaping and filing of your nails are essential for the desired outcome. Pay attention to this step for a neat appearance.
  • Hydration:  Moisturize your cuticles and nails regularly to prevent dryness and cracking.

Can Dip Nails Be Acrylic?

The short answer? Yes. You can absolutely use dip powders as acrylic.

Dip powder is finely ground, and high-quality acrylic powder that already has the most important chemical compositions and formulas to act as regular acrylic powder.

The two powder types actually have so many overlapping properties and such similar physical strengths that they can be used interchangeably.

Using Dip Powder With Monomers

You can use dip powders with monomers as it is made of acrylics and monomer is the liquid vehicle in an acrylic nail.

Using Dip Powder as Acrylic: The Ultimate Guide

You can use either a monomer or an acrylic liquid with dip powders to create beautiful acrylic nails. Using a monomer with dip powders will not give you any issues.

Using Dip Powder With Acrylic Liquid

Using a dip powder with an acrylic liquid is mostly the same as using dip powder with a monomer.

It works great and should not cause any issues – but bear in mind that the application process is different depending on the application purpose.

If you are someone with a large collection of dip powders that are fast approaching their expiration date, why not use this opportunity to experiment with powders and monomers or acrylic liquids to create gorgeous 3D nail designs. 

Using Dip Powder as Acrylic

Creating acrylic nail designs is easy with dip powder. 

The two powders are wholly interchangeable and will not cause any issues. This is because dip powders are a type of acrylic powder.

Using Dip Powder as Acrylic: The Ultimate Guide

While they are interchangeable, it is a good idea to be aware of any price differences between dip powder and acrylic powder.

Generally, dip powders are far more expensive than acrylic powders so the cost of a set of nails will be higher using dips.

You also need to bear in mind that dip powders come in much smaller jars. It is rare for a jar to contain over 2 oz (ca. 76 g) of product. Even on a gram to gram comparison, dip powder nails are more expensive.

You can of course use dip powders in place of acrylic powders but remember that they will only last a few nail sets.

Quick Guide to The Perks of Choosing Dip Powder

  • Durability: Dip powder nails are known for their durability. They resist chipping, cracking, and fading, providing a long-lasting and robust nail enhancement.
  • Versatility: You can achieve a wide range of nail shapes, lengths, and designs with dip powder, allowing for customization to match your style and preferences.
  • Ease of Removal: Removing dip powder nails is often simpler and gentler on natural nails compared to some acrylic removal methods.
  • Lightweight: Dip powder nails tend to be lighter than traditional acrylic nails, making them more comfortable to wear.
  • Low Maintenance: Dip powder nails often require less maintenance than other nail enhancements.

Using Acrylic Powder As Dip Powder

Alternatively, you can use acrylic powder as dip powder for a cheaper nail set.

Dip powders are just extremely finely ground acrylic powders any acrylic you like will work well to dip with on natural nails.

Remember that acrylic powders are not milled as finely as dip powders.

This additional coarseness may affect the design of the nails, but you can easily combat any issues by refining or reshaping the nails and buffing for a little longer than you otherwise would.

This will eventually create the lovely smoothness associated with dip powder manicures.

Advantages of Using Acrylic Powder

Image by @angel_4809 via Pinterest

Using acrylic powders as dip powders has a few definite advantages:

  • Acrylic powders are easier and much quicker to work with than dip powders as there is far less filling and shaping involved.
  • Taking off dip nails with an acrylic powder is exactly the same as using a dip powder and works quickly, plus is super safe and gentle to your natural nails.
  • The smell! Acrylic powders do not have the same pungent odor that dip powders have so the manicure process is more pleasant.

Doing Dip Nails with Acrylic Powder

Image by @angel_4809 via Pinterest

The easiest way to do dip nails with acrylic powder? Rename your acrylic powder ‘dip powder’ and continue as you normally would. It’s that easy!

Remember that using just the acrylic powder may not give the nails strong opacity, depending on what you use.

It may be a good idea to go over the nails with polish in a color of your choosing to create the desired finish.

Filling Dip Nails

Sure, technically you can fill dip nails but it is so challenging that it is not really recommended.

Filling nails is the process of filling in the gap left between the painted nail and nail bed, usually a few weeks after the design has been applied.

Image by @shapemagazine via Pinterest

Covering up this strip of grown-out, the natural nail will make your manicure last for a bit longer.

Filling for dip nails poses two main problems:

  • It is difficult to prep the small fill gap and the only way to prep is with an electric nail drill which can significantly damage the natural nail.
  • The correct application process is difficult as the space is so narrow. Too much activator and the powder will stick too easily which causes bumpy nails and transition lines, too little and the color will not be uniform.

These difficulties are too time-consuming to correct for professional nail salons and too difficult to compensate for if you are doing your nails at home.

This is why few people recommend fills for dip nails – just treat yourself to a new set!

Dip Powder vs Acrylic

If you are wondering if dip powder or acrylic nails are best, you need to think about their purposes and application processes to find the right style for you.

Short nails will benefit from dip powder work at home as the application process is far less damaging than acrylic nails.

It is also super quick and easy to remove and lasts on average two weeks longer than an acrylic set.

Long nails are more suited to acrylics than to dip powders. The ability to thicken and strengthen the nail – while making them beautiful in the process – is a big plus for those who prefer long claws.

Using Dip Powder as Acrylic: The Ultimate Guide

This additional strength cannot be achieved through dip powders and, even if you manage to get the thickness to where you want it to be, you will need lots of layers.

Dip Powder and Nail Health

If you use it correctly, dip powders will not harm the health of your nails in any way.

In some instances, using dip powders may even be good for your natural nails as it creates an extra layer of strength to prevent breakages.

Dip powder is also super easy to remove and does not require an electric drill. Even the most minor of errors when using a drill will significantly damage your natural nail.

Dip Powder Removal

Taking off your dip powder manicure is super simple and quick to do.

The method that most nail technicians prefer is the acetone and soak method. All you need to do is soak or wrap your dip powder nails in acetone for 15 to 20 minutes.

This will dissolve the polish and powder, making removal easy.

Keep in Mind

  • Professional Application: If you’re new to dip powder, consider having it done by a professional nail technician.
  • Thin Coats: Apply thin and even coats of dip powder for better adhesion and a more natural appearance.
  • Tap off Excess Powder: After dipping your nail, tap off excess powder to avoid a bulky or uneven finish.
  • Top Coat: Apply a thin layer of the top coat for protection and a glossy finish. Repeat for added shine and durability.
  • Aftercare: Moisturize your cuticles and the skin around your nails with cuticle oil regularly to prevent dryness and cracking.

Using Acetone to Remove Dip Powder Nails

The first thing you need to do is take off any nail tips if you have them.

The easiest way to do this is with a nail clipper but be sure to look at the underside of your nail to avoid catching your natural growth. 

If you do not have a colored polish over the top of your nails, you need to file off the topcoat which acts as a sealant. You can do this with a nail file.

Remember that the more of the topcoat you file off the easier the dip powder will come off your nails.

If you do have a colored polish over the top of your nails, you need to remove this before filing as this color will seep into the acetone during the soak and stain your skin.

Once you have taken off the colored polish, you can move on to filing off the topcoat.

If you have a gel polish over your dip nails, you need to remove it before attempting to take off the dip powder.

Gel polish is super strong and will stop the acetone from coming into contact with the dip nails.

You can file off gel top coat polish with a coarse file – think 100 to 120 grit nail files for the best results. Now you soak the nails in acetone for 5 to 10 minutes to remove the gel color polish.

If there is any gel polish left, file or peel off as much as you can to expose all of the dip powder.

Now you are ready to soak your nails to take off the dip powder. There are a couple of ways to do this so experiment and find out what works best for you.

Pro Tip

A Pro tip for achieving acrylic-like results with dip powder is to apply the dip powder in thin, even layers. It ensures that the finished look is smooth, natural, and long-lasting.

Using foil

One option is to soak cotton pads in acetone, wrap this soaked pad around your fingernail, then wrap it again in aluminum foil.

Image by @KristyAnnKerr via Pinterest

Wrapping in foil is important as it will keep all the acetone in place, so it doesn’t drip everywhere, prevents the pad from drying out, and will have slight insulation properties to speed up the dissolving process.

Using finger cots

If you choose to use specialist finger cots then the process is exactly the same as aluminum foil, and just makes it a little easier to do other things while you are soaking.

Saturate a pad, wrap it around your finger, and secure it in place with a cot. Be sure to find the right size for your fingertip, so they don’t fall off.


Soaking is perhaps the easiest option for this step. Simply pour some acetone into a bowl and submerge all of your fingernails for the requisite amount of time.

How Long Does Dip Powder as Acrylic Does Manicures Last?

Dip powder manicures, when done correctly and with good-quality products, can last anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks.

Several factors influence the longevity of a dip powder manicure, including the quality of the products used, your nail care routine, and your daily activities.

High-quality products, proper application techniques, and careful maintenance can extend the life of your dip powder manicure.

However, as your natural nails grow, a small gap may develop near the cuticle, necessitating a touch-up or complete removal and reapplication.

With regular care and attention, dip powder manicures offer a durable, long-lasting option for beautiful nails.

Do All Salons Offer Dip Powder as Acrylic?

No, not all salons offer dip powder manicures.

While dip powder manicures have become increasingly popular, especially in recent years, only some salons are equipped or trained to provide this service.

The availability of dip powder manicures can vary depending on the salon’s specialization, the products they use, and the expertise of their nail technicians.

If you’re specifically looking for a dip powder manicure, it’s a good idea to ask whether the salon offers this service.

Additionally, you can read online reviews or ask for recommendations to find salons in your area that are known for providing quality dip powder manicures.

Always choose a reputable salon that prioritizes hygiene and uses high-quality products for the best results.

Fun Fact

Some dip powder enthusiasts have coined a term for the impressive, satisfying sound that often occurs when you tap or snap your dip powder nails together – they call it the “dip snap.”

How Should You Take Care of  Dip Powder as an Acrylic Manicure?

Image by @tipsandtoesjo via Instagram

To care for dip powder acrylic manicures effectively, practice good nail hygiene by avoiding excessive water exposure, using nail-friendly products, moisturizing cuticles and nails, preventing chipping and damage, avoiding biting or picking at the manicure, and considering professional maintenance or removal when needed.

Apply an additional top coat for extended shine and UV protection, and keep your nails clean and free from debris to preserve the manicure’s appearance and promote nail health.


Whichever method you choose, after 15 to 20 minutes the dip powder should have softened enough that it can easily be peeled or scraped off.

Clean up any residual polish or dip powder with a clean cotton pad and some more acetone, then thoroughly wash your hands.

All of the old design has now been removed and you are free to get creative and do another one!

Ariel Coleman

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