How to Safely Remove Dip Powder Nails At-Home

Dip powder manicures are great for so many reasons, not least of which is their durability. Did you know that if they are cared for properly, they can last up to a few weeks, maybe longer? Yes, this is true.

This amazingly long-lasting power is due to the multi-layered application process of dip nails, which usually involves a few rounds of dipping into colored acrylic powder followed by a clear coat of polish to achieve a thick, lacquered look.

However, because the lacquer is bonded on the nail itself, it can also be difficult (re: potentially damaging) to remove. In a perfect world, you’d be able to book an appointment with your favorite manicurist who could help remove your dip powder manicure safely and effectively, sans any damage to your nail bed. But alas, we do not live in a perfect world, and many of us are now left to figure out the ins and outs of DIY dip powder manis at home.

There is good news, though; if you take the time and follow the below steps, removing dip powder polish can be a gentle and non-damaging process. As celebrity manicurist, Chelsea King explains, “the best way to ensure an easy removal process is focusing on the prep.” So, consider this your step-by-step guide.

What you’ll need:

  • Nail file
  • Nail clippers/scissors
  • Pure acetone
  • Cotton balls
  • Aluminum foil
  • Nail buffer
  • Cuticle oil

Step 1: Rough file the topcoat

“There’s typically a gel topcoat over your dip nails,” King says. “If it’s shiny, it makes it harder for the acetone to soak through the product to remove it, therefore slowing down the removal process.”

This is precisely why you’ll want to start the removal process by gently filing down the top, shiny coat—essentially roughening up the surface of the nail polish in order to allow the acetone to seep down deeper. To do so, use a rough grit nail fil (King recommends around 100 grit) to buff down the topcoat—the thinner you buff it, the easier it will be to remove.

Step 2: Cut your nails

If your dip powder manicure has lasted so long that your nail beds have grown out, it might also be time for a trim. Grab your scissors and clip your nails down to your desired length. You want to do this before you soak off the polish because, again, the less polish you have to soak off (if your nails are trimmed down), the easier and quicker the process.

Step 3: Soak your nails in acetone

There are a couple different methods of doing this. King recommends ripping a cotton ball in half, soaking it in acetone until its fully saturated, and pressing it on top of each nail. Then, wrap a small piece of aluminum foil around each cotton-topped nail, and wait. “I set a timer for 10 minutes, then check the nail,” King explains. “If it still has a long way to go, I reapply the cotton and foil and soak for an additional five minutes.”

Read more  What Exactly is Acrylic Powder For Nails?

The length of time you’ll need to leave the foil on depends on how many layers of polish you have painted on, as well as the type of dip powder used (glitter generally takes longer to dissolve). “When you remove the cotton after soaking, the dip powder should just wipe off,” King explains. “Gels will have chunks of polish that come off, with acrylics you have to scrape with a cuticle pusher, but dip powder typically just dissolves.”

The second removal method is to literally soak your nails in a chemical bath of sorts, using a small bowl filled with acetone. The time frame is similar for this approach—between ten and twenty minutes—after which your nail color should be able to dissolve or flake off easily (if it doesn’t, soak it for a bit longer).

Step 4: Buff and push

Next, buff any remnants of color off of each nail using a fine-gritted, gentle nail buffer. If you need or want to, this is also the time to grab a cuticle pusher and gently push back any skin that’s crept up too far above your nail bed.

Step 5: Wash and moisturize

“Always wash your hands right afterward, and then apply a good cuticle oil and lotion,” King advises. This is super necessary because acetone seriously dries out your skin. Once your polish is fully removed and buffed away, wash your hands with gentle soap, then apply a dollop of cuticle oil or cream onto each nail bed. A few of our favorite cuticle-nourishing products: L’Occitane Shea Nail And Cuticle Oil, Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream, tenoverten The Rose Oil Nourishing Cuticle Oil, and Olive & June Cuticle Serum.

Read more  How To Remove a Dip Powder Manicure At Home When You Can't Make It to the Salon

Finish everything off with a smothering of quality hand cream, and you’re all set! As King explains, “After applying cuticle oil, I like to apply a lotion on top to really seal it in.”


Recommended For You

About the Author: Tung Chi