The 10 Best Nail Dipping Powder Kits

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This wiki has been updated 27 times since it was first published in November of 2018. For gorgeous nails that won't fade or chip for up to two weeks, powder dipping is the way to go. The application process is surprisingly easy to master and gives you complete control over your results. The kits on this list make it possible to achieve a salon-quality manicure from the comfort of your home, and there are plenty of trendy colors and finishes to choose from. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Kiara Sky Essentials

2. GH Dip Professional

3. DipWell Starter System

Editor's Notes

October 06, 2020:

You've probably heard about nail dipping powder, and you might be wondering about safety. Fortunately, it's unlikely that this type of manicure can do any permanent harm to the nail bed, but if you pick or chip at the polish, you could damage your nails. Choose an acetone nail polish remover when it's time for a change, and be sure to soak your nails thoroughly. You may want to let your nails take a breather from time to time by going for a week without any polish — as scary as that may sound.

We've kept a range of kits to suit all manner of styles, from simple to splashy, so there are plenty of options when it's time for a fresh look. If you gravitate toward dark, bold colors, consider the GH Dip Professional or the Nugenesis Now That's Black. You'll receive six powders with the former, each with a shimmery look; the latter has black only, so it's perfect for getting in touch with your goth side. For a more classic appearance, look instead to the perennially popular Kiara Sky Essentials, the TP Nails Care Value, or the DipWell Starter System. The DipWell is especially useful for creating a French manicure, although this may be a little bit more than many beginners can handle.

November 27, 2018:

Made sure to include a mix of items for people who seek a basic, introductory set, and others who want more color options. Chose collections that are intended for everyone from beginners to experts, in addition to options that can be used in a professional setting.

Special Honors

OPI Dipping Powders Although not a kit, OPI Dipping Powders are a top-notch choice. They're designed for, and usually reserved for sale to, professionals; you'll find an extensive line of colors with fun names like "My Dogsled is a Hybrid" and "Amore at the Grand Canal." There are also several finishes to select from, including a shimmer that is sure to draw admiring glances.

4. TP Nails Care Value

5. Azure Beauty Glitter

6. Nugenesis Now That's Black

7. Cuccio Pro

8. Joya Mia Beautiful

9. Gelish Hand & Nail Harmony

10. Lavender Violets Home Salon

Mani Like You Mean It

They'll be labeled, so you'll never forget when to use what.

A nail dipping powder kit provides an excellent way to give yourself a chip-free manicure that looks professionally done at a fraction of the price. However, if you're a complete beginner, it's natural to feel intimidated by the process. Before you choose the best kit for yourself, it's helpful to know what to expect from one. Once you're familiar with the ins and outs, you'll be on your way to stunning results.

Starter kits usually come with one or two colors, clear powder, and dedicated formulas meant for each stage of the manicure. They'll be labeled, so you'll never forget when to use what. Expect a solution for prepping your nails, a base coat, an activator, and a top coat. Most kits should also have a cleaning solution to keep the brushes from becoming stiff with buildup. Higher-end sets will include extras like a nail surface cleaning tool, wipes, replacement brushes, and cuticle nourishing oil.

Unlike gel manicures, powder dipping doesn't require the use of an LED or UV lamp for curing, so you won't have to worry about purchasing one separately. And if you're looking to strengthen your natural nails, bear in mind that there are plenty of kits that use nontoxic powders and solutions that are fortified with vitamins. This is helpful if you're sensitive to strong odors, as they're usually less pungent than other types of polishes.

Before you start, prepare your nails by pushing back your cuticles and removing dead tissue with a pair of nippers. Then, use a file to buff the surface of your nails and shape them to your preference. After that, you're ready to apply the bond solution, which dehydrates the nail and removes excess oils that can cause lifting.

When you apply your base coat, use thin, even layers to cover three-fourths of the nail. The next step is to immerse them in clear powder. You'll want to have a soft, fluffy brush on hand to dust off any excess. Once you've added another layer of base you can dip your nails into the colored powder of your choice, but be sure to do so at a 45-degree angle for the best results. After that, brush on a few layers of activating solution and follow up with a finishing gel.

Since kits vary, you'll have slightly different components to contend with, and may have to repeat a few steps to get the look you want. As long as you follow the directions that come with your set, everything should turn out just fine.

Tips For Seamless Removal

Most dip powders, when applied properly, will last from two to four weeks before they start to degrade. Whether you reach that point or just want to switch things up sooner, the removal process is relatively quick and straightforward. The best part? You can do it at home, and it won’t wreck your nails, either. You just need a bowl, a file, a few cotton balls, and a bottle of pure acetone.

But without soaking thoroughly before removal, you risk taking the top layer of your nail plate off along with your manicure.

Begin by buffing the shiny top coat from your nails with the file. This breaks the seal and is crucial to the rest of the removal process, so be sure to do an even, thorough job. Once that’s done, soak your fingertips in a shallow container of acetone for 10 to 15 minutes. If you’d prefer to use nail polish remover instead, be prepared to soak for longer. To speed up the process, you can place a steaming hot towel over the bowl. At the 10 minute mark, check one of your nails to see if the coating feels sticky and soft. If so, it’s ready to come off with an acetone-soaked cotton ball or lint-free wipe.

It’s important to resist the urge to peel or scrape your manicure. When your powder starts to lift or chip, it may seem like a good time to help it along. But without soaking thoroughly before removal, you risk taking the top layer of your nail plate off along with your manicure.

Once your nails are free and clear of powder, try to give them a little time to breathe before your next mani. Technicians recommend taking a week-long break every few months if you’re regularly getting extended-wear manicures. It’s also important to nourish your nails with a strengthening treatment and daily applications of cuticle oil.

Nail Care In The Ancient World

Modern-day manicure mavens have endless options when it comes to how they care for their nails. Whether at home or with the help of a technician, you can achieve everything from ultra long acrylics adorned with gems to subtle french tips by way of a few tools, some know-how, and a variety of polishes and solutions. Having time and money to devote to your nails may seem like a recent luxury, but the fact is, nail care actually dates back thousands of years. In the ancient world, how you took care of your hands said a lot about you.

The Romans, Babylonians, and Chinese all used nail polish to denote social status. In China, the upper crust sported concoctions of beeswax, arabic gum, and egg whites, while the ruling dynasty flaunted highly-pigmented colors like red. For the lower classes, it was pale, muted colors or nothing at all, depending on how the people in charge felt about it. This wasn't some unenforced, errant rule either — if a peasant wore a color reserved for royalty, he could be executed.

They had their hair lacquered and curled and their nails manicured and painted.

In Rome, military commanders often painted their nails black before heading into battle. Babylonian warriors took things further. They had their hair lacquered and curled and their nails manicured and painted. Black was the color of choice for the upper class, while the common man made do with green. They'd even stain their lips to match.

Length was important, too. If you had short nails during China's Ming Dynasty, it signified that you did hard labor, whereas long ones meant you were wealthy enough not to work. Ancient Romans pared their digits with penknives or went to the local barbershop to have it done for them. Just like today, having clean hands with manicured nails was a priority for many in cultures across the globe.

Melissa Harr
Last updated by Melissa Harr

Melissa Harr is a language-obsessed writer from Chicagoland who holds both a bachelor of arts and master of arts in English. Although she began as a TEFL teacher, earning several teaching certificates and working in both Russia and Vietnam, she moved into freelance writing to satisfy her passion for the written word. She has published full-length courses and books in the realm of arts & crafts and DIY; in fact, most of her non-working time is spent knitting, cleaning, or committing acts of home improvement. Along with an extensive knowledge of tools, home goods, and crafts and organizational supplies, she has ample experience (okay, an obsession) with travel gear, luggage, and the electronics that make modern life more convenient.

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