Dip Powder vs Gel: Which is Better, Safer & Less Damaging

Dip Powder Vs Gel - Which one is Right For You
Dip Powder Vs Gel – Which one is Right For You

Dip Powder and Gel Polish are two of the best types of manicure systems available. They both are durable, long-lasting, and easy to apply.

But there are clear differences between the two systems which make them suited for some people but not for others.

So in this article, I am gonna be going through the pros and cons of both dip powder and gel polish to help you decide which one is the right one for you.

Comparing Dip Powder & Gel Polish

Less Harsh
To Nails
Looks NicerSaferEasier to Apply & RemoveDurable & Lasts LongerAffordable & Available
Dip Nailsxx
Gel Polishxxxxx

Which is Less Damaging for Your Nails – Dip Powder Vs Gel

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.

Related Article – Pros and Cons of Gel Manicures

Which Looks Nicer – Dip Powder or Gel

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:

  1. There are a wider variety of colors, shades, and types of gel polishes to choose from – which allows you to be more creative.
  2. 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.
  3. Gel Polish has a natural glossy look – whilst Dip Powder needs a top coat to give it a sheen.

Related Article – Pros and Cons of Dip Nails

Which is Safer – Dip Powder or Gel

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.

Now there hasn’t been any research to show that the short exposure to UV radiation from nail lamps would lead to skin ailments like skin cancer. Citation.

But 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.

You can click here to see the price for a good manicure glove on Amazon.

Health Risk Of Dip Powder

Dip Powder comes with two main health risks either:

  1. An allergic reaction to the base or
  2. 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.

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 onto 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.

You can check out 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.

You can click here to read my top tips on how to make Dip Powder last longer.

And I also have an article with tips on how to make your gel polish last longer too, you can click here to read it.

Which is more Durable – Dip Powder or Gel

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, chemicals such as dyes and alcohol then I recommend that you go for a dip powder manicure.

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 manicure 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.

You can click here to read some tips on How to Easily Remove Dip Powder Nails.

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.

You can click here to read my top tips on how to remove gel polish.

Which is more Affordable & Available – Gel 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.

Related Articles:

What is the Cost for a Gel Manicure.

How Much Dip Nails Costs & Price to Fill & Remove Them

Dip Powder Vs Gel Extensions

In this section, I am gonna compare Dip Powder and Gel Extensions. You see Gel Extensions are different from gel polish with different properties and functions.

And because of their differences, I needed a separate section to compare these two manicure systems.

Gel extensions come in the form of a very thick and clear gel that 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 more similar to acrylic nails and are used as an alternative for acrylic application.

Whilst Dip Powder is best used as an alternative to gel polish or regular polish. And they also can be used with a nail extension made from a tip, gel or, acrylic.

There are two kinds of Gel Extensions Hard Gel and Soft Gel. Now Hard Gel is the most common type used by nail salons.

And when you compare a manicure made from a dip powder vs a hard gel extension:

A Hard Gel Extension tends to be more durable, long-lasting, and better at building out the length of your nails.

But they tend to be more expensive, difficult to apply, and harder to remove.

Citation and References

Dip powder manicure

Dip Powder and Infections.

Are Gel Manicures Safe?

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