How To Remove Dip Nails

SNS nails, also known as ip powder nails, are a popular choice for beautiful, long-lasting nail color that doesn’t compromise your nails’ health. Unfortunately, the removal at home can be quite difficult (read: dangerous) and is what has caused some controversy.

Lauren Dunne says that dips can cause problems in nail health and hygiene. The first is that the dip is meant to stay on the nails for between 2-4 weeks. This can lead to issues such as keratin granulation and color pigments spotting. The second is that moisture can build up if the dip starts to lift. This can lead to bacterial infections.

Although it sounds scary, this buzzworthy technique also has many benefits–even when it is used to remove it at home.

Joy Terrell explained that dip powder is not painted on with harsh primers. She points out that primers with methacrylic acid are used for acrylic and gel to promote adhesion. These chemicals can be harmful, toxic, and long-term very bad for your nails, and body.

The dip powder technique has another advantage: there are no ultraviolet lights. Terrell states that UVA radiations can damage DNA and collagen and lead to premature aging. This could increase the risk of skin cancer. “Plus, many clients have felt the burning sensation caused by too much heat.”

Finally, powder removal is one of the easiest processes to do, when compared to long-lasting colors. Terrell explains that dip powder removal has the advantage of not causing damage to the nail bed. “Unlike gel, there is no scraping, so it’s certainly gentler.”

Problem is that dip powder clients aren’t always aware of how to remove it. This means that dip powder polish can be pulled out as soon as it cracks.

Dunne warns that peeling it off can cause layers to be ripped off and leave you with weak, fragile nails that can take several months to fully heal.

We don’t want to see anyone with a bad nail, so Terrell and Dunne walked us through how to remove it. Also, how to make sure your nails are healthy after a powder session. Below are their tips.

How To Remove Dip Powder Nails at Your Home


Nail file


Cotton balls

Optional small bowl

Foil (optional).

First, remove the shiny topcoat.

Terrell states that filing or buffing off the top layer of dip is the best way to get rid of it at home. This will allow the acetone penetrate. Use a fine emeryboard in a back-and-forth, side-to side motion until your top layer is dullened and covered with fine powdered white dust. This is a sign that the powder layer has been removed.

2nd Step: Wrap nails in foil and cotton acetone-soaked.

Acetone is required for any nail polish. You don’t have to sand your nails with a plain cotton ball. Dip powder will not come off in one stroke. Instead, place a cotton ball soaked in water on your buffed nail. Wrap it in foil. For each nail, repeat the process. This will allow the acetone to sink into the powder and dissolve its bond with the nail.

You can soak your nails for about 10-15 minutes in acetone if you don’t own foil. You can speed up the process by placing a steaming towel on top of the bowl.

Step 3 – Finish the edges.

Terrell advises that you rub the powder right away once you have removed the foil. She explains that Dip powder is made from cyanoacrylate. This nail glue is less sensitive to solvents and so takes off much quicker than gel manicures. She says that if you have excess glue, you can remove it with a quick swipe of the cotton ball.

Evelyn Lim, nail expert, says that if you apply the powder thickly, you might need to repeat step 2. She warns that depending on the formulation of the dip powder it might break down into a gummy consistency which can be rubbed off or crumbled.

Foil Method

First, apply the topcoat

“Fill down the shiny topcoat layer on your dip to begin the process. Terrell says this will allow the Acetone to penetrate.

2nd Step: Apply petroleum jelly on the cuticle

Acetone can quickly damage your skin, plus it can dry out. Apply petroleum jelly to the areas where acetone will be applied to protect your skin. Terrell says that this will keep the skin around nail beds moisturized during the removal process.

3: Soak each finger with acetone

To keep everything in place, soak a cottonball in acetone and place it on each nail. Wrap each nail with aluminum foil. Terrell says that placing hot towels or plastic bags on each hand will speed the process.

4: Take off the foil wraps and clean up any powder

Allow the nails to soak for about 10-15 minutes before removing the wraps. The powder should be easily removed. Terrell suggests that if there is any powder left, it should be removed with just a few drops of acetone-soaked cotton balls.

The Bowl Soaking Technique

Terrell says that if you find foil application to be too difficult, you can soak your nails with acetone after filing. To create friction, place a folded towel on the bottom of the bowl. This will make the dip dissolve faster. After about 10-15 minutes, take the nails out of the bowl. Then use an acetone-soaked cotton ball to wipe off the dip powder. Terrell says, “I also like placing a steaming hot towel on top of the bowl to speed it up.” Remember to apply petroleum jelly to your fingertips and cuticles if you are using this method. This will ensure that more skin is exposed to the acetone.

After removing a powder manicure, how to care for your nails.

Even though manicures can last for a long time, neglecting to care for your nails properly will cause damage. Terrell shares some quick tips on keeping your nails strong after applying dip powder.

1. Between manicures, take a break

Terrell recommends taking a break every two to three weeks from your dip powder manicures so that your nails don’t become dry and brittle.

2. Use a nail treatment

Apply a deep strengthening and moisturizing treatment while you take a break. Terrell says that it’s like a deep conditioner or mask for your hair. It’s also good for your nails. Terrell loves the Nail Repair Treatments by IBX, Rejuvacote and Keratin. This latter uses calcium and keratin to repair weak and brittle nails.

3. Make sure to use cuticle oil frequently.

Terrell states that clients should apply cuticle oil daily to their nails to keep them hydrated. Cuticles not only protect nails but can also prolong the life of manicures. Powder uses pure sweet almond oil. It is full of vitamins and non-greasy.


After you have removed any traces of dip powder manicure, it’s possible to get on with your next Insta-worthy nail look. But be careful. Terrell recommends taking a break depending on how often you use dip powder. Terrell suggests that you skip the popular mani every three to four weeks if it is a frequent part of your beauty routine.

She explains that a great strengthening treatment is important during this time. IBX is the most effective nail strengthening treatment on the market. The difference in your nails is immediate and noticeable after just one treatment. This treatment is offered by Powder Beauty Co., and many of our clients love it.

You don’t need to go to a salon to get the treatment. Instead, you can do a DIY manicure with Dr. Dana Stern’s Dr. Dana Nail Renew System ($33). This 3-step process includes a series exfoliation and hydration which promises to smoothen, strengthen, moisturize, and give your nails a healthy, glossy shine. Dunne suggests that you also consider sub-in a nail strengthener. We like the Ella + Mila Nail Strengthener Second Aid Kiss ($10) for our next manicure.

By Michael Caine

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