Everything You Need for the Perfect Home Manicure

2020 has been a weird year. Obviously. But it’s not all bad. One thing we learned was how to do a full dip manicure (with fake tips!) ourselves. Below are the tools we use to both apply and remove the dip powder. We actually bought most of these products pre-quarantine so we could remove our polish in between salon visits, but with recent salon closures, we had to up our game. Lastly, we didn’t watch any tutorials and just went off of what we’ve seen them do at the salon, so we probably shouldn’t give a tutorial… but we’ll list the way we did it. We recommend googling it if you’re unsure! P.S. We also have a home gel nail kit, which is way easier but doesn’t last as long. We’ll do a post on that some other time. 🙂

How to Apply Dip Powder Nail Polish + Fake Tips

AGAIN…. this is just how we did it and we are no experts… BUT IT WORKED!!! And it honestly was not very hard. We aren’t claiming salon quality, but it’s certainly passable. OH, AND WEAR A MASK!

  1. Soak hands in warm water for 5-10 mins to soften cuticles.
  2. Clean up cuticles and natural nails, then very lightly file the top of your nails so there’s something to adhere to.
  3. If using tips, apply now by gluing on the appropriate sized tips. If not using tips, skip to step 6!
  4. Once applied, cut the tips to roughly the desired length and file them to shape them appropriately.
  5. Buff/file the top of the artificial tip so it more seamlessly blends into your real nail (they should basically be flush). Be careful not to file your natural nail. (Note: this step is key, otherwise you’ll have a bump in the middle of your nail or will need to build up the bottom half of your nail with product, which is not ideal).
  6. Brush off any extra debris and wash hands if need be.
  7. Paint on layer of base coat (being careful to leave a small space before your cuticle) and slowly dip nail in dip powder at 45 degree angle. You’ll need to move quickly so the base coat doesn’t dry before you dip. Tap/brush off excess powder. Do this to each nail. (Note: some people use a base coat of powder here… but we didn’t have one and it still worked fine).
  8. Repeat step 7 two more times, so you’ll have done 3 coats total.
  9. Paint activator on each nail and wait a few minutes until 100% dry (3 mins should be long enough).
  10. Buff/file nails all over to achieve a smooth finish and finish your shaping. This would be the time to really check your cuticle work and use the dremel to clean up those edges. (Note: if your filing starts to pull up parts of your polish making little divots, you probably didn’t wait long enough after using the activator – you can fill in holes by re-doing just that little spot, but it’s annoying.)
  11. Ensure nails are totally clean, wiping them down with alcohol if you have any.
  12. Apply activator again, and wait until dry. (Note: use the brush saver after you use your activator so the brush doesn’t harden).
  13. Apply top coat once… and then twice.
  14. Apply cuticle oil

And here are a few little tips we’ve learned so far:

  1. Filing is key to a successful manicure – don’t skimp on this!!!
  2. Ensure the activator is 100% dry before shaping/filing down the surface of your nails. This was where we went wrong the first two times. You’ll know it’s hardened when you tap it with something hard (like another nail) and it makes a clicking sound.
  3. The dip powders linked below come in pretty small jars. We used a paper plate to catch the excess product, and then poured the excess back into the jar after we were done.
  4. If you bite your nails like a few of us do, cuticle work may be the hardest, but it’s extremely important. One tip to help ensure your mani stays intact is to be sure not to take the base coat all the way to the cuticle. There should be a teeny gap between your cuticle and where the polish begins.
  5. A dremel isn’t 100% necessary for the manicure itself, but it is absolutely key to both dip and gel product removal.

So, what do you think? Will you give it a try?

The Products we Used for our Dip Powder Manicures at Home

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2 thoughts on “Everything You Need for the Perfect Home Manicure

  1. Hi- Doesn’t the dip powder kit come with the base coat, activator and top coat? Why did you link the extra? Does it run out?

    1. Hi Laura! The dip powder kit I bought doesn’t come with the base/activator/etc. Many do, so you may not need to buy them separately! I haven’t found that they run out very quickly, I still have plenty. 🙂 -Anna

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