I have been using Dip Powder, Gel Polish, and Gel Extensions for many years now and I can tell you they are some of the best types of manicure systems available. They are durable, long-lasting, and can create amazing manicures.
But there are clear differences between these systems which make them suited for some people but not for others.
Now, this article will be divided up into 2 sections:
- In the first part, I will compare Dip Powder with Gel Extensions and Polygel
- Whilst in the second part, I will compare Dip Powder with Gel Polish.
Dip Powder Vs Gel Extensions
The major difference between Gel Extensions and Dip Powder is that Gel extensions are meant to build out your nails to make them longer and thicker.
Whilst dip powder is more in line with gel polish and regular polishes meaning they are used to add color. An important note is dip powder will make your nails harder and help to protect them, unlike polishes which just add color.
Gel extensions come in the form of a very thick and clear gel that needs a UV-Led lamp to cure. It is used to build out and extend the length of your natural nails. And then the gel extensions are coated with gel polish, regular polish, or dip powder.
Gel Extensions are harder to apply and require some amount of practice and skill. They are more similar to acrylic nails and are used as an alternative to acrylic nails.
Whilst Dip Powder is easier to apply. It is a Powder that is either applied by dipping your nails into a jar or by having it sprinkled on. It is best used as an alternative to gel polish or regular polish. And they also can be used on top of your nail extensions made from a tip, gel, or, acrylic.
Differences in Durability
There are two kinds of Gel Extensions Hard Gel and Soft Gel. Now Hard Gel is the most common type used by nail salons.
A Hard Gel Extension tends to be more durable, long-lasting, and better at building out the length of your nails.
But they are more expensive, difficult to apply, and harder to remove. Hard Gels require filing usually an E-File to be removed and cannot be removed using acetone.
Whilst Dip Powder manicures are not as durable as Hard Gel Manicures and won’t last as long. But it is much easier to remove. You can remove Dip Powder by either filing, soaking in acetone, or a combination of both.
Now Soft gels like BIAB gels are used as overlays for nails meaning they are used to make nails stronger and thicker and are usually not used for extending them. I think Dip Powder is better than Soft gels since dip powder can make nails stronger whilst at the same time adding color.
Related Article – Hard Gel Extensions: How to Apply, Benefits & Risks
Dip Powder Vs Polygel
Polygel is a type of gel extension meaning it is used to build out the length and thickness of your nails. Whilst Dip Powder is used to just add color and strength to your nails.
A good way to describe this is; Polygel will add length, strength, and color whilst Dip Powder focuses mostly on color and strength.
But Dip Powder is easier to apply at home when compared to Polygel. Now, durability wise both Polygel and Dip Powder will last you 3-4 weeks.
Dip Powder can be used to make extensions though it’s a bit more tedious, click here to learn How to Make Dip Extensions.
Comparing Dip Powder & Gel Polish
|Dip Nails||Gel Polish|
|Effect on Nails||Dip Powder will require more filing and acetone during removal which can damage nails||Gel Polish is easier to remove & will be less damaging to nails|
|Looks nicer||Dip Powder has less variety of colors to choose from. But with a good top coat it can have a nice glossy effect too.||Gel Polish has more colors to choose from & has a natural glossy look.|
|Safer||If the same dip powder jar is shared without precaution it can lead to nail infections.||Gel Polish requires a UV lamp to cure and if no protection is used it can increase the risks of skin cancer.|
|Ease of Removal & Application||Dip Powder is harder to remove and has more application steps||Gel polish tends to be both easier to apply and remove.|
|Durability & Long-lasting||Dip Nails will last longer than gel polish giving almost 3-4 weeks of wear.||Gel Polish can give you 2-3 weeks of wear.|
|Affordable & Available||Dip Powder currently isn’t so popular and widely available.||Most salons will have gel polish available, and they will be at a lower price than dip powder.|
Which is Less Damaging for Your Nails – Dip Powder Vs Gel Polish
Both Dip Powder and Gel Nails are not inherently damaging to the health of your nails. But instead, your nails are more likely to be damaged when your manicure is improperly removed or applied.
Now Dip Powder Nails are harder to take off when compared to gel polish. And because of this, they are more likely to be damaging to your natural nails
You see Dip Powder manicures usually require a lot of filing and the use of more acetone which means that your natural nails are more at risk of being damaged.
It’s important to note that your nails are rarely damaged by the manicure system but instead from:
- Using strong chemicals like acid-based nail primers.
- Over-filing your nails before application.
- Not correctly removing the manicure which can seriously damage the nail plate.
Personally, with years of experience removing different forms of manicures, I can easily remove manicures without damaging the nail plate. But not everyone has this skill, so if you have weak and brittle nails always avoid manicures that are tough to remove.
Related Articles –
Which Looks Nicer – Dip Powder or Gel Polish
Once applied correctly both Gel Polish and Dip Powder can look amazing.
But I think a gel polish manicure tends to look better than a dip powder manicure. This is because:
- There are a wider variety of colors, shades, and types of gel polishes to choose from – which allows you to be more creative.
- Gel Polish only cures when exposed to UV light – this allows you to take your time and be more creative to make and design amazing nail art.
- Gel Polish has a natural glossy look – whilst Dip Powder needs a top coat to give it a sheen.
But I can easily make Dip Nails look nice and glossy by using a top coat, click here to read Best Top Coats for Dip Powder Nails.
Which is Safer – Dip Powder or Gel Polish
Both Gel and Dip Powder come with some amount of health risks.
Health Risks of Gel Polish.
Gel Polish’s main health risk comes from the use of UV light which is used to cure and harden the gel polish.
It’s important to note that your nails won’t be damaged by the UV light since they are too thick to allow the light to pierce through them. But your fingers and hand would still be exposed to the UV light.
And you see prolonged or constant exposure to strong UV light can potentially lead to skin cancer. Citation.
So you may want to avoid gel polishes if :
- you are extra sensitive to UV light
- your family has a history of skin cancer
- or maybe you are just trying to avoid too much UV exposure
Or alternatively, you can protect your skin by applying sunscreen on your hands or wearing manicure gloves. Both sunscreen or manicure gloves cover and protect your fingers and hands from the UV light allowing only the gel polish to get hit by the UV light.
Also, check out my article on 6 Ways to Protect Hands from UV Lamps- Safer Gel Manicures
Health Risk Of Dip Powder
Dip Powder comes with two main health risks either:
- An allergic reaction to the base or
- Getting an infection from reusing and sharing the same dipping jars with others.
1- The Dip Powder Base is a monomer called cyanoacrylate which is prone to causing allergic reactions. Citation.
If you have an allergic reaction to the dip base the skin around your nails will have swelling and show signs of irritation.
Also, another potential reaction is something called Dip Flu, you can click here to learn more.
2- If you get a dip powder manicure at a salon it is important they don’t use the same jars or reuse the powder for all of their clients
This is because bacteria, fungi, and other germs tend to be left inside the container which can then be easily passed on to the next person dipping their fingers into the powder. Citation.
Instead, the salon should apply the dip powder by sprinkling it onto your nails and then disposing of any powder that didn’t stick onto your nails and not reusing it.
If your salon reuses the powder or allows everyone to dip their nails into the same container they are putting you at risk for an infection.
Once used correctly and precautions are taken both Gel Polish and Dipping Powder won’t pose any major health risk and shouldn’t be a factor when deciding on your manicure.
Which is Easier to Apply – Dip Powder Vs Gel Polish
If you are a nail novice Gel Polish tends to be easier to apply when compared to Dip Powder.
You see Gel Polish is applied just like regular nail polish except it’s cured using a UV Led lamp.
And because gel polish cures only when you are ready means that you can take your time and apply it. This also means that if you make a mistake you can easily wipe off the gel polish with rubbing alcohol and start over.
Now Dip Powder on the other hand uses a completely different system when compared to other conventional manicures.
I have been using dip powder for many years now and for me, applying it is a breeze with practice you can definitely get there too.
Related Article – How to Apply Dip Powder on Short Nails at Home
You can watch the video below to see how to apply Dip Powder.
Which Will Last Longer – Gel Polish Vs Dip Powder
Dip Powder once applied correctly can last for 3-4 weeks which is longer than gel polish which usually lasts for 2-3 weeks on average.
You see the glue or base that holds down the dip powder is made of cyanoacrylate. And cyanoacrylate is the same chemical used to make super glue which is why dip powder won’t peel or lift easily.
There are some simple things that I do to make my Dip Manicures last even longer, You can click here to read my top tips on how to make Dip Powder last longer.
Which is more Durable – Dip Powder or Gel Polish
Dip powder is more durable when compared to gel polish which makes it ideal if your nails are constantly being exposed to harsh conditions.
You see dip powder can withstand harsher conditions before starting to show signs of wear and tear.
So if your nails are constantly exposed to detergents, heat, and chemicals such as dyes and alcohol then I recommend that you go for a dip powder manicure.
Related Article – Dip Powder vs Acrylic Nails: Difference & Which is Better
Which is Easier to Remove – Dip Powder Vs Gel Polish
Gel Polish is easier to remove when compared to Dip Powder.
The removal process for both Dip Powder and Gel Polish is the same. Both types of manicures need the top layer to be filed off and then soaked in acetone.
Now the difference is that Dip Powder since it is more durable requires more filing and needs to be soaked directly in acetone for 15-20 minutes.
Whilst gel polish you can soak off by using cotton balls soaked in acetone and then wrapped to your gel nails and left for 10-15 minutes before being scraped off.
By being able to use cotton balls allows only the gel polish to be exposed to the acetone which keeps your skin from getting affected by the acetone.
Which is more Affordable & Available – Gel Polish Vs Dip
Gel polish manicures are more widely available meaning that you can get a gel manicure in most nail salons. And they tend to be more affordable when compared to Dip Powder.
But since Dip Powder manicures tend to last longer they can potentially be of better value.
A Dip Powder manicure tends to cost $10-$15 more than a gel manicure, the price will vary with each salon.
Citation and References
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