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FAQ: Dipping Systems Debunked

FAQ: Dipping Systems Debunked

A manicure that lasts upwards of two weeks: in the past, this meant a trip to the salon and swanky set of traditional acrylics. However, over the past few years, beauty lovers have brought a variety of acrylic alternatives to the at-home market. Shellac and gel nails have become a DIY staple to create long-lasting salon-quality nails. If you've tried either of these systems, you know how well they outperform traditional polish.

Did you know, there's a third acrylic alternative that you can dive into at home? We're talking about acrylic dipping powders aka dipping systems! This mani has an even longer life than gel nails and doesn't require any LED or UV light to cure! Sounds dreamy right??

Although dip has a long list of advantages, some of our customers have had a few questions arise while doing the dip. We've put together a list of FAQ to help you pull off the perfect powder manicure!

Q: What’s the difference between traditional acrylic and acrylic powder?

A: Dip systems are perfect for those that do not have access to lamps or salon tools but still want to achieve a gorgeous durable acrylic manicure. Acrylic dip systems allow you to create professional acrylic results with less experience and technical logic. Dip technology also feels lighter on the nail, for those who've felt that acrylic was too thick or heavy on their natural nail. Acrylic dip is superior to traditional nail polish in its ability to provide durable strong wear for 2+ weeks. It's a great alternative for those who prefer to avoid the LED or UV lamps that are required to cure gel polish and shellac. Powdered acrylic is designed to create a protective overlay on the natural nail while providing a shiny colour coat. The hard surface created is similar to acrylics but cannot be used to add significant length to the natural nail.

Q: Are there strong odours associated with dipping liquids? How do I prevent eye irritation? 

A: When you first open your dipping liquids you may notice an odour. This will lessen in time, as you continue to use the product. In regards to eye sensitivity, a lot of people are in the habit of holding their bottle while they work; this can result in the warmth of the hand warming the product and increasing the product vapor, this also means that the product is very close to their eyes. During training we always advise for technicians to work with the bottle on the table to their right, as hovering directly above the bottle can cause discomfort from inhaling the fumes or stinging to the eyes.


Q: Could you tell me the order of application for dipping liquids and powders?

A: There are three sections to dip applications: prep, colour and finishing. Prepare the Nail Plate.
Prior to any product application, the nails need to be correctly prepped to clean the nail area. This ensures a strong bond of the product and avoid product lifting.
To do this:
1) Shape the natural nail using a nail file (180 - 240 grit) to desired shape square, oval, almond squoval round etc.
2) Gently push the cuticles back using a wooden or metal cuticle pusher, and using a cuticle nipper trim the non-living tissue surrounding the area if necessary
3) Remove the shine from the natural nail plate using a nail buffer, focusing on the cuticle area and side walls
4) Thoroughly remove excess dust with a manicure dust brush.
Once the natural nail is prepared correctly you are ready to apply the dipping system.
To do this:
1) Apply prep sparingly to all ten fingers, this prepares the nails for optimum product adhesion
2) Apply the dipping system base coat evenly ¾ of the nail away from the cuticle then dip into natural set/ light pink or simple sheer, tap off excess powder, repeat on all ten fingers.
3) Apply the dipping system base coat to the entire nail leaving a 1mm gap around the cuticle area to avoid product flooding the cuticle and dip into colour powder, tap off excess powder and repeat on other ten fingers
4) Repeat step 3 for a second coat and even colour application
5) Apply the base coat to entire nail leaving 1mm gap around the cuticle area to avoid product flooding the cuticle and dip into clear powder, tap off excess powder and repeat on other ten fingers
6) Apply activator to all ten fingers
7) File the nail to the desired shape using a 100 - 180 grit file
8) Buff the nail using a coarse buffer to smooth out any lumps and bumps on the surface
9) Remove dust from nail area

Shop our huge selection of over 300 shades of coloured nail dipping powder!

After you have applied the dipping products the finishing steps will give you the ultimate shine.
To do this:
1) Ensure the finished nail surface as free of dust and product
2) Apply dipping system activator to all 10 fingernails
3) Remove excess activator using a lint-free wipe or paper towel, ensure the surface is matte (make sure there is no activator/sealer dry product pooled in the cuticle area and sidewalls)
4) Apply a thin even coat of dipping system top coat with the brush sitting parallel to the nail in a gliding motion to all 10 fingers (wipe brush onto a paper towel (prior to putting back in the bottle after each finger)
5) When nails turn matte reapply the topcoat to the same 10 fingers for a high shine.
6) Leave for at least 2 minutes for the topcoat to polymerize and set hard to the touch.
7) Apply hydrating cuticle oil to the cuticle area to rehydrate and nourish

Q: Can I apply nail tips before using acrylic dip?

A: You certainly can! You can glue on a nail tip and use clear acrylic dipping powder to balance out the tip and the natural nail.

Q: Why won't my sealer dry / activator or top gel coat set? Does it matter how long I’ve had the product?

A: Sealer dry/ activator and top coat do not work independently of one another. For the top coat to work it needs to react with the sealer dry/ activator to set evenly and create a smooth shiny finish. If your sealer dry/ activator bottle is half full or less, it could be contaminated with dipping powders getting on the brush and into the bottle. This could affect the setting properties of the sealer dry/ activator needed to react with the top coat. You may need to apply a third top coat application for it to set, or purchase a new sealer dry/ activator with your new top coat.

Q: What consistency should my top coat be?

A: With a brand-new bottle of top coat, you will find the consistency quite runny, which means it will apply quite thin. We would recommend to even out the ratio to apply a third thin coat, if the Top Coat is new for a super high shine.

Q: What is the best removal process for dipping powders?

A: There are two options for removal of dipping manicures

1) File the top layer of each nail with a nail buffer
2) Apply cuticle oil to protect natural nails
3) Fill a soak bowl with 100% pure acetone and let nails soak for 10-15 minutes until product becomes soft.
4) Wipe off the remaining powder residue.
1) File the top layer of each nail with a nail buffer
2) Apply cuticle oil to protect natural nails
4) Wrap each fingernail in a soaked cotton pad and wrap again in aluminium foil (this will hold the cotton in place and target just the nail, as opposed to the soak-off method which covers more of the finger than necessary). To speed up the process you can hold a heat pack to help the dissolving process.
5) Wait 10-15 minutes for the acetone to soak off nail colour. Unwrap the foil and cotton pads, filing any leftover residue.

Q: How long will my dipping system manicure last?

A: With the correct application you can expect 2-3 weeks of durable wear.

Q: Why are my brushes drying out / hardening so quickly?

A: Brushes in dipping liquids may experience hardening when dipping powders come in contact with brushes and end up stiffening the bristles. In order to prevent this, it's important to use a brush cleaner to keep bristles clear of any powder residue. Before putting the brush in brush cleaner, soak just the bristles in acetone first to dissolve the hard excess product, then put in brush cleaner for 5-10 mins. Gently clean off excess brush cleaner, do not pull bristles.

Q: Are dipping powders sanitary?

A: Dipping powders are sanitary. They do not provide an environment that bacteria can survive in. In order for bacteria to survive and spread it must be in a moist environment. If there is any moisture on your nail when dipped into the powder, it will attract the powder to it, not the other way around. The powder will not retain moisture in the jar and therefore does not create an unsanitary environment. Dipping system pots are built for continuous safe use. We hope this clears a few things up and gives you the inspo you need to take the plunge!

Looking for tips to nail your application? Check out our recent blog post to perfectly apply dipping powder!

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