5 Simple Steps to Remove Your Dip Powder Manicure at Home
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Treating yourself to a dip powder manicure is *always* a great way to prioritise self-care.
Not only does it help you feel good, but as a long-lasting (and pretty hardy) it’s the perfect way to accessorise your day-to-day look.
That said, before you get a dip powder manicure, it’s important to understand the removal process. Because unfortunately, when it’s not done right, it can be time-consuming or even damage nails.
To save you time (and money), we’ve asked BIPOC pro nail artist and LeChat nail educator Syreeta Aaron for her step-by-step guide on the best way to remove your dip powder manicure at home.
What are dip powder nails?
First up though, what actually are powder dip nails?
When it comes to manicures, we all know there are plenty of options from traditional manis to acrylics manicures and gels.
Dip powder nails (or SNS nails as some people call them) are essentially a hybrid manicure, because they’re the result of a mix between gel and acrylic manicures. A nail technician will literally “dip” a client’s natural nail into coloured powder before sealing the colour with a clear top coat to ensure the manicure is long-lasting.
Thanks to its long-lasting finish, a dip powder mani is a favourite with those who prefer their nails on the neat but lowkey maintenance side.
And similar to gel manicures and acrylic nails, you can still have French tips, nail art and other nail enhancements with a powder dip mani. In fact, because no UV light is used to cure powder dip nails, the process of applying them is actually quicker than gels or acrylics- and they still last up to one month.
Can you remove dip powder nails at home?
There are two main ways to remove a durable manicure: in a salon or at home.
Generally, it’s always a better idea to have any type of nail treatment removed in a salon as the process can be pretty brutal on nail health in experienced hands.
If you’re really determined to take off your dip nails yourself though, the steps below should help you do it safely, with or without acetone.
Tools you’ll need
For the at-home manicure removal process, you’ll need to have your tools ready. For the most part, you’re likely to have these tools in your home, but alternatively, you can find them at your local pharmacy.
- Coarse nail file
- Cotton balls
- Aluminium foil
- Nail clippers
- A small bowl
- Cuticle pusher
- Nail buffer
Keep in mind that these tools can also be repurposed or slightly adjusted. For example, instead of cotton balls, you could use mini, round cotton pads and, in place of a small bowl, you could use a larger container.
On to the fun part!
How to remove your dip powder manicure at home
First, file off the top coat layer of your nail (in salon, your nail care professional would likely use an electric file for this bit), being careful not to go too deep into your nail beds. Do not overuse the nail file or cuticle pushers.
Syreeta explains, “removing dip nails is very similar to removals of any artificial nail enhancement. It’s always best to file off the top layer of the artificial nail (the dip nail).”
The expert adds, “when filing your nails, it’s important to remember not to file too deeply into your natural nail.”
This one is *really* important; nail damage can not only look pretty unsightly but can also actually slow nail growth.
Next, soak your fingernails in a bowl of acetone for approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Note that the length of time depends on the strength of the acetone. This is similar to removing other types of manicure like press-on nails.
Syreeta explains, “the amount of acetone should only cover your finger nails. It’s best to try to use the acetone only on the nails and try avoiding fingers as much as possible.
“Keep in mind that acetone is a solvent and is used to break down materials like polish, acrylic, varnish or even grease.”
To ensure the acetone doesn’t irritate your surrounding skin though, you can opt to use acetone-soaked cotton balls placed on your nails before wrapping them in foil. Syreeta recommends using, “a square sheet of aluminium foil just large enough to wrap each finger.”
Finally, you can also place a small amount of acetone in clear plastic bags and place your fingers inside them if you’d rather not use a kitchen bowl and you don’t have any cotton wool to hand.
Regardless, it’s important to proceed cautiously because acetone is solvent, so you don’t want it touching your surrounding skin and you need to pick your work area wisely.
“When soaking nails off always remember to choose a safe place to do so. Acetone may eat away on surfaces so it’s always best to use a glass surface that can easily be wiped.
“If a glass surface is not available choose a surface that acetone cannot penetrate through. Avoid wood surfaces,” explains Syreeta.
In the next step, dry your nails with a paper towel, file off any remaining polish, and soak or cover your nails with cotton balls again as necessary until all varnish has come off.
If you’re struggling to remove any remaining polish even after repeating the process, use an orange stick to gently help push it off.
Take care though. As Syreeta explains, “make sure you properly handle the tools to remove the polish carefully. If you are using a cuticle pusher, for example, don’t push too deeply into the cuticles.”
Lastly, rinse our nails in a bowl of water and treat yourself to a mini, at-home manicure with a hydrating hand soak and cuticle oil (or coconut oil or olive oil if you don’t have one) to replenish the health of your nails.
You can apply your favourite hand cream to effectively prep your nails for future manicures. Taking proper care of your nails now will keep them healthy for any future manis you have planned.
As Syreeta explains, “this process is needed to replenish oil and nutrients back into your natural nails.”
Can you remove powder dip nails without acetone?
The above 5-step process suggests using acetone for at-home manicure removal. But, if you don’t have acetone- or just don’t want to use it- there is an alternative (that doesn’t involve picking your manicure off- ouch).
For example, you can use Isopropyl alcohol to soften the polish like you would with acetone before filing again and repeating the process until it’s all removed. Just know that using acetone is a much quicker process.
Removing dip powder (SNS nails) manicures at home with these 5 steps is an affordable alternative to salon removal if you’re in a bind but you’re always better off going to a nail professional when it comes to protecting the health of your nails.
Meet the expert
BIPOC pro nail artist Syreeta Aaron is a brand educator for globally-famous polish brand LeChat and has had a nail tech career spanning 17 years.