I haven’t done a lot of nail art lately. With a newborn, it was completely impossible and I rocked bare nails for ages. Now that he’s older I find that there is more time – but not that much time. I wore gel polish for quite a while, but I found that I can’t ever really get two weeks of wear time. Early in July, I saw The Daily Nail post about a dip powder system from Red Carpet Nails (that was ON SALE) and I immediately rushed out to buy it. I didn’t learn how to do dipped nails in nail school. Although they’re not at all new, they’re really popular these days and I wanted to try it out. With the claim that they wear for THREE WEEKS, this seemed like the perfect nail solution for me.
Dip powder is acrylic powder. I hated doing acrylics in nail school. For one, the fumes were so damn strong. Also, people generally want length when they get acrylics, and I found the process of sculpting acrylics to be beyond frustrating. Dip powder systems are a different way of applying acrylic as an overlay (on top of your natural nail length – though you could also glue on a tip and dip over that). As the name suggests, you dip your nails into a little tub of acrylic powder and brush on base coat, activator, and top coat.
Does it really last for three weeks?
Hell yes it does. This is my second application. Even though I pretty much messed up the first time around, it still lasted for three weeks. I am rough on my hands, and I was amazed. I ended up removing them after slightly more than three weeks because the edges started to lift a bit and I kept getting hair caught under the edges!
How to apply
There is a little bit of a learning curve to this. My first application was pretty thick and uneven. You also have to be quick and precise at the same time, which can be difficult! That said, this second time was a breeze. They are still on the thick side, but it’s way better and not really noticeable in real life.
Step One: Clean and prep nails, by pushing cuticle back and shaping nails. Wipe nail clean with an alcohol based cleanser. This step is pretty cut and dry.
Step Two: Apply a thin coat of Color Dip base coat and quickly dip into color dip powder. Tap off excess. Repeat on all nails. Reapply base coat and repeat color dip steps until you get desired depth of color. The instructions say to apply a thin, coat, and at first I applied too thin a coat, which resulted in patchiness.
Step Three: Apply activator to all nails. Follow with a thin layer of Color Dip base coat. When you apply the activator, you’ll feel the acrylic harden on your nails.
Step Four: Shape and buff top of nail with Red Carpet Manicure’s Groom Buffer. Wipe with a lint free wipe. This step is super important; at first I was afraid that I was going to remove all the color, so I didn’t file so much and ended up with lumps. File away – you’ll still get great color!
Step Five: Apply activator to all nails and wait 20 seconds. Remove excess activator with a dry lint free wipe.
Step Six: Apply 2 thin coats of Color Dip top coat and let air dry.
You can see that it’s kind of a lot of steps – but for three weeks, it’s worth it!
Removal is a lot like removing gel polish. I soaked a cotton ball in acetone and wrapped my nails with foil. I had to let it sit for quite some time. Then I used an orange stick to gently scrape the acrylic off. It gets kind of goopy, whereas a gel would flake off. It’s important to take your time with removal, because you can definitely damage your nails if you scrape too hard or **heaven forbid** try to pick these off. DO NOT PICK THESE OFF.
Art with Dip Powder
You can still do art with this type of system. I started off easy (also because I only have a few colors!) with a gradient. To get a gradient, I sprinkled the powder on my nails with a fan brush. After applying the base coat, I simply sprinkled light pink on the bottom of the nail and a pretty glitter color on top, making sure to get enough powder on the nail. Super easy.
Red Carpet Manicure Color Dip Starter KitRed Carpet Manicure sells all of the components I used individually or as a starter kit, which I recommend. It includes the base coat, activator, top coat, brush cleaner (which you will need because acrylic clumps get stuck on the brush), extra brushes, the color Contract Please, lint free nail wipes, a buffer, orange sticks, and foils for removal. I bought mine at Ulta when it was on sale. The current price is $34.99 at Ulta.
Love it. For where I am in my life, this is a perfect solution. I still like to have well manicured and interesting nails, but I don’t have a ton of time to apply and reapply regular polish (or even gel, to be honest). It really lasts.
There is a bit of an odor, but nothing as strong or foul as traditional acrylic. I can deal with this!
There are some pretty colors, and I’m excited to try more types of nail art with these powders. I have an idea for a pretty marble look.[I bought this]