What is a Dip Activator- Best Brands & Alternatives to Use

What is a Dip Activator & Best Brands to Use & Alternatives
What is a Dip Activator & Best Brands to Use & Alternatives

Dip Powder is quickly becoming more and more popular. This is because of how easy it is to apply and how durable it is.

But to use any brand of dip powder you need to use a dip powder activator. So in this article, we are going to cover:

  1. What is a Dip Powder Activator,
  2. How to use and its purpose
  3. Best Brands to Get
  4. And How to Substitute Activator if you are in a pinch.

What is a Dip Powder Activator

A Dip Powder activator is used to cure and set the dip powder, it is what blends the powder together to give it a smooth polish-like look. It is the coat that is applied just before you apply the top coat.

Some brands also refer to the Dip Powder Activator as seal protect but they are the same thing just a different name.

Now if you don’t use a dip activator and just apply a top coat, then your dip manicure will have a very grainy look, will not last very long, and will quickly start to fall apart.

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How to Use Dip Powder Activator

Dip Powder Activator is applied in thin coats over your dip powder you can use 1 or 2 coats. I usually get the best results when I apply the activator in 2 coats.

  • First, apply the first coat of the activator, and let it dry
  • Then apply another coat to ensure that it cures completely.

Also, ensure you wait around 1 minute for the activator to dry before applying the top coat. The drying time for the activator will vary with each brand so ensure you read the instructions before using.

A simple tip to know if it’s dry is to; tap the nails to see if they are solid.

Dip Powder application usually goes like this:

  1. Firstly the Bonder or dehydrator
  2. Base coat,
  3. Dip Powder,
  4. The Activator,
  5. And then lastly the Top Coat.

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Video of How to Apply Dip Powder

Do you Buff Dip before or after Activator

If your dip powder is too thick or bumpy and uneven you will need to buff or file them after the Activator has been applied and dried.

To reduce the need to buff the dip powder, try to apply the base in thin even layers. And ensure you brush off excess dip powder before applying another coat on top of it.

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Can you use any brand of dip powder Activator

Yes, any brand of dip powder activator will work with any brand of dipping powder.

All brands of dipping powder are basically the same thing which is finely milled acrylic powder and all activators work to cure and set it.

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Best Brands of Dip Powder Activator

If you are out of Activator these are from my experience some of the best ones you can buy that will work with any brand of dip powder.

1- Azure Beauty Dip Powder

Azure Beauty is a great budget-friendly brand that makes some good-quality dip powder products.

And their Dip Powder Activator is really good. It dries and works quickly with a low odor profile. I have tried it with a few different brands and it works smoothly.

You can click here to see the price for Azure Beauty’s Dip Powder Activator & Base-Top Coat on Amazon. Their kit comes with a base coat that can work as a top coat.

2- Karlash Dip Powder Activator Refill

If you are looking to just refill your old Dip Activator bottle, then I recommend getting a refill.

Karlash has a nice large 2-ounce bottle that can be used to refill your activator bottle. It requires a bit of work to refill the bottle but it will be cheaper and last you much longer.

You can click here to see the price for a Karlash Dip Powder Activator Refill on Amazon.

3- Beetles Dip Powder Set

Beetles is another great and trustworthy brand in the nail industry. They are well known not only for their dip powder but also for their gel polish and polygel products.

Now what I love about Beetles are their budget-friendly prices. They have an affordable Dip Powder Kit which contains

  • A Base
  • Dip Powder Activator
  • Top coat
  • And a brush saver which is used to clean the other brushes in case it hardens or gets dip powder on them.

You can click here to see the price for The Beetles Dip Powder Kit on Amazon.

4- Kiara Sky Pro Dipping Liquid Set

Kiara Sky is my favorite dipping powder brand and is the brand that I use the most. But they are a premium brand and tend to be more expensive than others.

Now Kiara Sky’s Activator has a very low odor and they dry evenly and quickly allowing your dip manicure to set quickly.

All of their dipping powder products are great and I highly recommend them if you can afford them.

Kiara Sky has a nice combo kit that includes a bonder, base coat, activator (which they call Seal Protect), and a top coat.

You can click here to see the price for the Kiara Sky Pro Dip Powder combo set on Amazon.

Can You Substitute Dip Activator

Yes, you can substitute Dip Activator. But it’s important to note that Dip Powder works best when applied with an Activator. This is because an Activator is specially formulated to seal and set the powder.

But if you don’t have any activator you can apply a light coat of acrylic liquid monomer over the dip powder instead of the activator to set and cure it in place. Citation.

Monomer will work but it won’t be as effective and won’t give you the same long-lasting effect as a Dip Activator.

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Why Monomer Can Work With Dip Powder

Liquid Monomer can be used with Dip Powder because the powder used in Dip Systems is basically the same powder used to make acrylic nails except dip powder is finer and smaller.

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Ingredients used in Dip Activator

Typically Dip Powder Activator will contain:

  • Ethyl Acetate
  • Pentanone
  • Methyl Isobutyl ketone
  • N, N-Dimethyl-p-Toluidine. Citation.

Can you use Acetone as a Dip Activator

You cannot use acetone or any form of nail polish remover as a dip activator. Acetone will break down and dissolve the dip powder and make your dip manicure weaker.

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