Anyone who regularly gets manicures knows how maddening it is to smudge a nail minutes after you've paid a professional to paint them. That's why dip powder manicures are so impressive.
The long-wear powder polishes can go up to four weeks chip-free and don't need to be set with a UV light. Even though dip powder nails last longer than gels, and no lights are involved during the service, they do have one thing in common: Removing a dip powder manicure requires making another trip to the salon.
The good news is that there's a second similarity between dip powder and gel manicures: It is possible to do a DIY removal at home for both.
"The fastest and most hassle-free way to remove dip powder at home is to soak your nails in a small bowl of acetone," says Joy Terrell, the owner of Powder Beauty Co., a luxury L.A. salon that specializes in the service. "Another option is a steam off removal machine. However, I've both experienced and heard mixed reviews when it comes to removing dip powder this way."
To take off dip powder using acetone, start by filing the shiny top coat layer off the nail to break the seal. Next, Terrell says to soak your nails in a bowl of acetone for 10-15 minutes.
"I like to place a steaming hot towel over the bowl to speed up the process," she says.
Once all of your fingers have soaked, take an acetone-soaked cotton ball and wipe any remaining powder off of your nails. Unlike gel polish, you won't have to scrape any remaining bits off, so typically the chance of damaging your nails is minimal.
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What you shouldn't do is try to peel off a powder manicure.
"There's a general misconception that if chipping or lifting occurs, it's [dip powder polish] is ready to come off, but even if this happens you still have to soak," explains Terrell. "When you peel or pull it off, the top layer (or sometimes layers) of your nail plate comes off with it."
After your dip powder manicure is completely wiped away and your nails are clean, Terrell recommends taking a 7-10 day break every 2-3 months if you're regularly getting long-wear manicures.
In the meantime, keep your nails healthy with a nourishing, strengthening treatment, plus daily cuticle oil. "Cuticle oil should be applied to the nails daily to keep the nails and cuticles hydrated," says Terrell. "Our cuticles protect our nails and should be healthy. Also, cuticle oil can extend the life of your manicure."