I had a dip powder manicure and it didn't chip for a whole month — then it wreaked havoc on my nails

Nails after manicure

  • I got a dip-powder manicure and my nails didn’t chip for a month, but they were weak and brittle.
  • INSIDER consulted Dr. Dana Stern, a New York City dermatologist and nail specialist, along with nail technician Elaine Ling Lee who works at Valley — a quality salon in New York City that does not offer the dip-powder manicure service.
  • Lee said that a dip-powder manicure uses colored powder with a resin-type glue to create a long-lasting manicure.
  • According to Dr. Stern, this type of nail enhancement has been around for a long time.
  • The process involves dipping each nail into a jar of powder, which poses sanitation concerns.

It’s not often that I leave the house without my fingernails painted. From classic French manicures to foiled metallic gels, I thought I’d experimented with everything — until I discovered long-lasting, chip-free dip-powder manicures. 

As it turns out, dip-powder manicures are not actually that new.

Dr. Dana Stern, MD, a dermatologist and nail specialist in New York City, told INSIDER that powder nails have been around for a long time, but have risen in popularity lately — „most likely due to their ‚Instagramability‘ coupled with their new name: ‚dip mani.'“ Stern noted that they used to be called „glue manicures.“

At first, I was sold on the concept of longevity, but the manicure actually wreaked havoc on my fragile nails.

The service started with clear base polish that the nail technician applied to my nails before dunking each finger into a small container of powder

Nails before manicure

When my nail resurfaced from the jar, the technician gently tapped away any excess powder while what remained on my nail was sealed with a special polish. This process was repeated a few times per nail with the powder in my selected shade.

By the end, my nails looked glossy, but I wondered how sanitary the process was as I considered how many other fingers were dipped in that same jar.

Nails after manicure

After three weeks passed, my manicure seemed invincible

Despite cleaning, taking a boxing class, and coming into contact with other daily elements, my nails were perfectly intact. I was impressed.

powder manicure   after 2.5 weeks

One week later, the polish started to lift at the base of one nail in the same way that gel manicures do when the polish begins to loosen

I couldn’t immediately get to a nail salon to have it properly removed, so I decided to pull the residue off in the same way that I occasionally do with gels. This was a mistake. 

nails_chipping

Unlike gels, the layer of powder did not peel off in sections. It was so solid that it remained intact and came off in one piece that retained the curved shape of my nail, almost like a shell. Left behind was a thin nail that can only be described as flimsy, brittle, and weak.

Valley, a New York City-based nail salon that specializes in nail art, intentionally does not offer dip-powder services

Valley nail technician Elaine Ling Lee provided INSIDER with more insight about the manicure.

Lee said that „a dip-powder manicure is when colored powder is used with a resin-type glue to create a long-lasting manicure.“

It’s designed to last for up to eight weeks, but Lee cautioned that it’s never healthy to keep anything on your nails for an extended period of time without removing and replacing it. She said that this is one of the reasons Valley does not offer the powder service. 

Dr. Stern echoed Lee’s concern for keeping the nails covered. And it’s not because your nails need to „breathe,“ she said.  

„The nail is a window into our health and so covering the nail hinders the potential ability to see if there is an issue going on,“ Dr. Stern said. „Sometimes people intentionally cover an ugly nail abnormality in order to cosmetically camouflage it.“ Recalling a memory from earlier in her career, Dr. Stern said a young woman in her 20s came into the clinic with „advanced nail melanoma“ that she had been covering with an acrylic.  

If salons don’t take precautions, dip-powder treatments can be unhygienic

„Sanitation is absolutely a concern — if handled improperly and product is reused from client to client, bacteria can certainly develop,“ Lee told us.

Fortunately, Dr. Stern said that many salons take precaution by „either pouring the powder onto the nail, painting the powder on, or dipping the nail into individual disposable containers of powder.“ 

Getting the polish properly removed is just as important as the application

foil nails

One of the reasons that Dr. Stern does not consider powder manicures to be healthy is because of the removal proccess, which she said can damage the underlying nail plate. 

„If a 10 to 15 min acetone soak is not doing the trick then the nail will likely become thin and damaged from scraping or filing,“ she said. „Many salons are using an electric file before soaking and this can definitely damage the nail.“

Thankfully, I had the rest of my polish professionally taken off at the time, and although the removal was not as scary as it was when I peeled some of the polish off by myself, it felt like the powder had taken its toll on my fingers.

When nails feel damaged from nail enhancements, it’s best to give manicures a break

If you want to keep your nails healthy, Dr. Stern first advises nail-enhancement users to lay off the manicures once a month.

She also recommends tending to nails with her three-product Nail Renewal System for Nu Skin, comprised of a glycolic acid, a priming wand, and a hydrating gel-oil.

Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.

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Source: Business insider

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