at-home dip manicure | meg talks beauty

hair did, nails did, or something like that. | blogmas day 7 (a day late. again.)

Back in Gainesville when I had a full-time job, I was that person who paid to get my nails done every two weeks. It became my regular self-care activity. If I don’t have anything on my nails, it feels weird, my hands feel bare. When we moved to Lakeland in August, I decided that I wouldn’t go looking for another job since I was so close to giving birth to Theo. Without a steady income, I had to cut things out of my spending habits, and one of those was getting my nails done on a regular basis.


The last time I got my nails done in a salon was at the beginning of October as a last self-care splurge before Theo was born. I have a lot of nail polish at home but my favorite manicure is with dip powder because it makes my nails feel strong and last for a long time without chipping. I never knew there were kits to do it yourself at home until I came across some videos on YouTube. The week before Thanksgiving (picture on the right shows how much my nails grew in a month and a half) I bought a kit from Target and tried to do it on my own at home.

My first time trying it was okay. All I did was a clear dip powder base to have structure with regular nail polish on top, but I didn’t record myself doing it. This time, I use only dip powder and a gel top coat. Here’s a step-by-step of what I did, including how I removed the previous dip powder manicure! It’s a little messy, it was my first time!!

Part 1: Removing Dip Manicure

img_0031-1Step 1: 

Since it was regular polish on top, remove with acetone. With the 100 grit side of a nail file, file away the top layer of dip powder. If a gel top coat was used, file away the gel and top layer of dip powder. Cut and file to the desired length and shape.

img_0033-1Step 2:

Soak cotton balls in 100% acetone, cover nail completely and hold in place with nail clips (or aluminum foil). Let soak for 15-20 minutes. Remove and wipe away soaked powder, scrape with a cuticle pusher if necessary. Do not force it. Repeat process if necessary until all dip powder is removed.

img_0034Step 3:

Apply instant cuticle remover to cuticles, wait 15 seconds, then use a cuticle pusher to push back cuticles. Wash excess with soapy water.



Part 2: The Dip Powder Manicure

img_0038-2Step 1: Build Structure

With clear or natural powder (I used the one from this Kiss kit) begin to build the structure of the nail. Apply a thin coat of base gel to the nail before each dip. First, apply powder to 3/4 of the nail. Brush away excess powder. Second, apply powder to the whole nail. Brush away excess powder.

img_0037-1Step 2: Choose Colors & Pattern

Choose what colors you want to use whether it be just one solid color or multiple to make a pattern. I chose 3 different colors also by Kiss (Song Bird, Shock Value, and All Hail) to make a kind of chevron pattern. Go big or go home the first try, right?

img_0040Step 3: Apply Color

Apply a thin coat of base gel to the nail before each dip. One coat will be used for all three colors. For this pattern, dip into the first color diagonally long each nail (I chose Shock Value, the glittery silver). Tap away excess powder as best you can with the nail pointed down. Do not brush away yet. Next, dip into the second color diagonally but in the opposite direction (I chose Song Bird, the light blue). Again, tap away excess powder with the nail pointed down. Do not brush away yet. Last, using a cuticle pusher as a scoop, cover the rest of the nail with the third color (All Hail, a plain white). Tap and brush away excess powder. This is what one coat looks like. Repeat until the desired opacity is reached, I just repeated it once.

img_0042Step 7: Cure Powder

Apply activator to each nail. This cures the powders, hardening them to let them be filed to the desired shape. I either didn’t apply enough activator or didn’t wait long enough for it to drive because when I went to smooth out the surface, I accidentally picked up some product on my pointer finger.

img_0046Step 8: Top Coat & Done

Apply any top coat. I used a gel top coat and cured under an LED lamp for 30 seconds. Apply cuticle oil to cuticles and massage into the nail/surrounding areas, and this is what the final product looks like!

Another reason I like to use dip powder so much is because once you’re done, you’re done. There’s no waiting for anything to dry (unless you used regular top coat instead of gel) which especially comes in handy when you have to immediately change a diaper or feed a baby afterwards. I can’t wait to practice more and improve my techniques. Much like everything DIY, this is so much more cost efficient than going to a salon. I will definitely share when I do something new!!

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