Hey everyone! I’m going to try to get back into the habit of blogging. Lately, I’ve hardly been wearing makeup, haven’t been buying any new products and haven’t been doing any nail art, so what’s left to blog? I’ve actually been waiting FOREVER for some nail polish orders (one which was shipped April 24th, hellloooo where are youuuu), and when those come in I’m super excited to get back into nail art. But for now, I’m saving myself.
While certainly a minor problem, I think a lot of people’s nails really went downhill the last couple of months. I have had acrylic nails for the last year and a half now, ever since I started a hard labour job, to give them strength. I just get a clear set, which I can then paint on top of with regular polish and still do whatever nail art I want. However, I’ve never truly been happy with the sets I have gotten at the nail salons here and have wanted to start doing my own for a while. They’re too thin, too thick or not shaped properly, etc. There’s always a problem. So this was my chance to actually force myself to learn how to do my own, and guess what? It’s easy!
Dip Powder at home
Dip powder is an acrylic powder that is applied with a variety of liquids that act as adhesives or activators for the powder. It does not require UV light to set, and hardens in minutes. Once applied, it is pretty resistant to acetone, so like I said, there’s no problem applying regular polish on top and removing it multiple times through the life of the set, if that is something you want to do. However, you can of course use a combination of layers of clear powder and a coloured powder if you want to have the same nail colour for weeks.
If you do a cursory browse for dip powder kits, you’ll see a lot of variety in the steps and liquids that are included. There are some dip powder systems that require 4-5 liquids, and I’m just not into all those steps. A lot of beginner kits are also huge, and may include coloured powders that you aren’t interested in. Plus, these larger kits require a pretty expensive initial purchase. The brand that I settled on was Tomicca, which offers a variety of starter kits, but also smaller kits and individual items, which I think is the way to go. Purchase what you need and what you really want, rather than a big kit that isn’t really necessary when you are just first getting into something. Here’s what I purchased from Tomicca:
- Base coat/top coat and activator: The two liquids you absolutely need for dip.
- Clear dip powder: Necessary for whether you are doing a colour dip or not.
How to do dip
All kits and brands come with their own instructions, but they look something like this (with my added tips):
- Make sure you prep your nails properly by removing any excess cuticles and shaping the free edge. It also helps to lightly buff the nail surface, as the dip will cling better to a textured surface than a smooth one. As a last step, remove any oils from the nail surface with 100% acetone.
- Apply a thin coat of base coat to one nail only. You only want to do one nail at a time, because the base coat will dry quickly. It is essentially a quick-dry glue. Be careful to apply accurately, as anywhere you apply the base coat, powder will stick. I find the base coat is on the liquidy side, so you want to use as little product as possible to avoid flooding your cuticles etc.
- Immediately dip your nail into clear dip powder, hold for a second or two, tap off/brush off the excess.
- Apply another thin layer of base coat on the same nail and again dip in the clear powder, tap off the excess.
- At this point you can choose whether to repeat the same steps but with a coloured powder for 1-2 more layers. Like I said, because I use dip only to strengthen my nails, I only use 2-3 coats of clear powder.
- If you did apply a coloured powder, end with another layer of clear powder.
- Once you have applied all layers to all nails, apply activator and let set for around 5 minutes. At this point you will want to file the surface of the nail and the free edge. As you may have guessed, applying all of these layers can make the nail on the bulky side, so you will definitely want to at least smooth the surface. This can be done with a buffing block or a simple file. Because it can be a little tricky to get just the right 3D shape and not tear up your cuticles with a typical file, I actually splurged and got an e-file. This is the one I got, and it had been great so far. If you aren’t picky, it probably isn’t necessary.
- The last step is applying the base/top coat again! You can choose to do 1 or two layers, letting it dry in between. If you want the super glossy look, two is the way to go.
Overall, this may sound like a lot of steps and/or work, but as you get used to it it goes quickly. Also, when you add up all the time and money you spend at salons, I think this at home regimen is far superior. Based on what I spent to get started, this method is going to pay itself off in 4 months of not going to the salon. And I wouldn’t be surprised if these dip products lasted more than a year, plus my e-file will hopefully last multiple years.
The only thing that is a little strange is when you use only the clear powder, like I do, the end result isn’t entirely clear. It looks a little bubbly here and there, but it obviously does not matter when under opaque nail polish, and you can hardly notice it under sheer polish. Here’s the result!
What have you been wearing on your nails lately? Are salons starting to open up in your area? I’m glad to not be going back, but I know a lot of people look forward to treating themselves at the salon and I don’t blame them!