Posted on October 11 2019
For the longest time, we ladies only had liquid nail polish as an option if we wanted to glam up our nails. And while nail polish has certainly evolved over the years, its basic formula – a polymer base usually made of nitrocellulose dissolved in a volatile organic solvent – has remained relatively unchanged over the years. Nowadays we can enjoy an ever expanding variety of colors and effects all of which make for more nail-decorating choices.
Still since nail polish has remained essentially the same, we still have to deal with a chipped and cracked finish, sometimes with doing something as simple as fishing our keys from our purse! And good luck if we can make it through the week with our nails intact. Thankfully, we now have other, stronger manicure options: dip powder and gel polish.
New Kids On The Block
Both gel polish and dip powders were developed roughly during the 1980s. Also, both of these new manicure polish techniques offer the same look as traditional polishes. The difference between these two manicure options and traditional nail polishes is durability.
Even if you’re being careful, traditional nail polish will last a maximum ten days. As previously mentioned, even something as simple as rummaging through your purse can a chip nail polish. Dip powders and gel polish on the other hand can last for up to 3 to 4 weeks without taking on significant damage. That being said, gels, and dips have key differences between them that you should be aware of.
Dips vs. Gels
Gels have the closest look and feel to traditional nail polish. For one thing, gels come in liquid form. Also, gels are also applied much like regular nail polish. Unlike traditional nail polishes however, gels need to be “cured” under a light source (which can be either UV or LED) in order for them to harden. What this means is, you have a bit more time to get the look you’re going for, as there’s no way the finish will harden before you’re done.
Ironically, this non-hardening property is probably its biggest disadvantage since the polish can potentially get smudged or even drip off your nails. You’ll also need to invest in a proper curing light, if you want to do your nails at home. This is why it’s more practical to get gel nails done by a professional.
Dip powders (also called sns manicures) are radically different from both gels and regular polish. Unlike those two, nail dips get their color from powders that are chemically “activated” using a liquid activator that usually comes with the kit. Powders are also applied in layers after applying a base liquid, rather than in one go. While this obviously takes more time than simply painting on the finish, you can actually better control the final look of your nails. This layered application allows dips to be more durable than gels.
This layered application is also dip powders’ biggest drawback; this technique is just more time and labor-intensive when compared to gels and regular polish. Another drawback is cost. Getting your nails dipped by a pro can set you back about $40 dollars or so, which is more expensive than both gels and regular polish. If you want to go the DIY route and get a home dip kit, doing so can potentially set you back close to a hundred dollars.
Yes, it’s true that a dip powder manicure is more labor-intensive than regular or even gel manicures. However, once you get used to the process you’ll soon discover application is really not that cumbersome. You can even discover ways to mix and match different powder colors to create a look all your own. As for price, there are a number of affordable yet high-quality kits on the market, such as the dip powder trial kit offered by Rossi Nails.
Dip powders and gel polishes are both far superior to traditional nail polish in terms of durability. What to choose for your own nails really depends on your needs. If you prefer having your nails done by a pro then a gel manicure is probably more up your alley. If you have more of a DIY mindset and you want to take control of glamming-up your nails, then you can’t go wrong with dip powders. Moreover, nail dips’ slight edge in durability over gels makes this nail manicure polish a sensible beauty investment.