How to Remove Dip Powder Nails at Home, According to Nail Pros

How to Remove Dip Powder Nails at Home, According to Nail Pros

removing dip powder nailsLightFieldStudios//Getty Images

Dip powder nails are a go-to choice for mani lovers thanks to their chip-resistant shine and longer wear time than a natural manicure and even gel polish manicures. Also known as SNS nails (a brand of dip powder created by CND), dip powder combines a type of nail glue and colored acrylic powder to develop a durable manicure without requiring UV light to cure the polish.

However, since dip powder nails are applied by layering resin and powder, it creates a thicker manicure that can be more difficult to remove on your own without risking damage to your natural nails — even more so than removing gel nail polish. "A con to using dip powder is that it is a process to remove, and the fact you must remove it all in order to do a new set," says Lexi Suga, nail expert and owner of Notox Nails in Beverly Hills, CA.

Like removing acrylics, it’s generally recommended to have your dip powder nails removed by a professional, but with patience and a lot of care you can safely remove the dip powder formula at home and keep your nails healthy and happy. Here’s how to remove dip powder nails at home safely and effectively, according to Suga:

Tools you’ll need:

  • Nail file
  • Nail clipper
  • Acetone
  • Small bowl
  • Wooden cuticle pusher

Step 1: Cut the extensions and file down the color.

Using the nail clipper, trim off any false tips until the length matches that of your natural nails beneath. Next, it’s time to deal with the nail color: Remember, you have layers of the resin and powder mix on your nails, so you will want to file down the color to make the removal process more manageable.

"In order to remove dip nails, it’s important to file the color down as much as possible," Suga says, which will help facilitate the removal process using acetone. "Make it very thin so that the acetone can soak through quickly," she advises. "If you are familiar with using an e-file, it’s an even better option to speed up the process."

Note: E-files or nail drills, often used by professionals, can damage your natural nails. If you aren’t versed in the process, opt for a traditional nail file instead.

Step 2: Soak your nails in a bowl of acetone.

Soaking your nails in acetone will remove the polish — but don’t be alarmed if this takes some time. "I recommend submerging them for 10 minutes, then gently scraping off as much of the excess as you can," Suga says. If the polish doesn’t budge when it’s nudged, even after 10 minutes, it’s a sign you need to soak for longer.

Step 3: Gently scrape off the remaining polish.

For the scraping process, utilize the wooden cuticle pusher and scrape away from your cuticle bed toward the top of your nail. "If there is still dip powder on your nails, repeat this process again until it is fully removed," Suga says. And be patient: "Don’t rush the removal process because you can damage your nail beds," she warns. "Also, don’t ever rip the dip powder nails off, as you can cause severe trauma to your nails."

Step 4: Give your natural nails some TLC.

After you remove the dip powder formula from your nails, you will want to take good care of your natural nails. File your nails to your preferred shape and buff your nails. "Apply cuticle oil to the cuticles and a strengthening polish on the nails after you are finished if you do not intend on reapplying," Suga recommends.

Can you remove dip powder without acetone?

As for the more "natural" dip powder nail removal techniques some online, nail pros say steer clear. "There are hacks that suggest soaking nails in acetone substitutions like white vinegar and alcohol or using baking soda and toothpaste mix, but I do not recommend these options," she explains. "If you want to fully remove the dip powder safely and effectively, I strongly suggest utilizing acetone."


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