How to Do Dip Nails at Home Like a Lady Boss

Yes, Queen, you can do your own dip nails at home! So, are you ready to learn how to do dip nails at home

Creative nails are a must-have accessory in any season. I could be wearing sweatpants and a baggy t-shirt but with my nails done, I’d still feel like a boss. 

Dip nails can also be a healthier and more affordable alternative to acrylic nails, especially since you can do them at home.

I will walk you through my simple six-step process so you can get fabulous dip nails from the comfort of your couch.

Can I do my own dip nails at home?

Yes! You can do your own dip nails. And no, you don’t need to be a nail tech to learn how. 🙂

There are several benefits to doing your own dip nails. First, you will save tons of money each month by not having to visit the salon for manicures. 

Second, doing your own dip nails is more sanitary. Unclean salon conditions can lead to nail damage and infection. 

Finally, dip nails are an easy way to get a durable manicure that can last up to five weeks! And companies like NailBoo and Modelones are making it easier than ever before. You can read our in-depth reviews of our favorite nail dip powder kit.

Dip powder vs acrylic has several benefits. It is non-toxic, easy to work with, affordable, and durable.

Ditch the salon and stay looking fabulous by doing your own dip nails. I’ll cover the tools you need, describe the steps in detail, and give you all the tips and tricks for your dream at-home manicure. 

How To Do Dip Nails at Home
Source @rosediy13

What do you need for dip nails at home?

The following tools and materials are everything you need to do fabulous powder nails at home.

Cuticle tool

You’ll use this to push back or trim your cuticles to keep your nails looking healthy and gorgeous. 

Cuticle oil

Using cuticle oil is optional but it does help soften your cuticles, making them easier to work with. 

Nail file and nail clippers

Before dipping, you should clip and shape your nails to an even, desired length for best results. 

Dip base coat and the optional bonding solution

The dip base coat ensures that your nails have a smooth base for dipping. The dip bond liquid ensures that the dip powder bonds to the nail 

Dip powder of choice

You can get creative with the dip powder by choosing your favorite color or go all out and try doing ombre nails.

One of my favorites is Modelones because they offer such a wide range of colors.

If you’re new to DIY dip manis check out our roundup of the 10 best dip powder kits. It covers a wide range of dip kits, from total beginner to nail salon-grade dipping systems.


A nail brush or makeup brush to remove excess dip powder from your nails. 

Seal protectant

The seal protectant will seal the dip onto the nail, setting it in place. 

Top coat

Like you would apply a top coat to regular nail polish, this gets applied to protect the dip powder and adds shine to your nails. 

How To Do Dip Nails at Home
Source @modelones_official

What are the steps for dip powder nails? 

Follow these simple steps on how to do powder nails at home. 

Step 1: Prep your nails 

Start by washing your hands. Prep your nails by pushing back your cuticles and trimming them down to the desired length.

Shape your nails with a file to your desired look. Then, remove the natural shine from your nail using a buffer. Be gentle and only use a 180 grit nail file.

Wipe your nails down with some rubbing alcohol to remove any excess dust.

Step 2: Apply your basecoat

Apply your basecoat starting at the base of your nail plate to the free edge of your nail. Using a bonder is an extra optional step that comes before the basecoat. Doing this will ensure that the dip powder secures to your nail bed.

Pro tip: apply your basecoat in thin layers and avoid getting any on your skin. 

If you get basecoat on your skin wipe it off before you dip your nails. Use a little acetone on a brush to remove any excess basecoat from your skin. Take your time and try your best to be neat. The neater you are, the better your dip manicure will turn out.

Pro tip: work on one nail at a time. 🙂

Step 3: Dip your nails

Dip your nails into your dip powder of choice or pour the dip powder over your nail turning your nail as you do so you get powder evenly across your nail as well as the sides. 

Tap your finger to shake off any excess powder then follow up with a brush to remove any loose powder that’s still on your nail. 

Apply your second coat by repeating steps 2 & 3 to ensure your entire nail is coated.

Apply a third coat using a clear dip powder to help protect your color when it comes to shaping and filing your nails. 

Pro tip: dipping can get messy so apply your dip over a paper towel to catch any excess powder. 

Step 4: Apply the activator 

Apply the activator solution to your dipped nails. Be sure to cover your nail completely as the activator makes the dip powder harden and get it ready for filing. Let it sit for 1 minute. 

Step 5: Shape your nails

Shape your nails again with a file. If there are bumps on the top of your nails you gently file them off. 

Finish with a buff to smooth out any remaining areas. Rinse your nails off with water but no soap. 

Apply the activator one more time, and let it sit for 2 minutes. Wipe your nail clean with a makeup sponge or lint-free wipe. 

Step 6: Apply a top coat, aka finish gel

Apply your top coat to protect your manicure and add shine. You’ll want to apply your first coat and let it sit for 1 minute. 

Then apply a second coat carefully, and don’t foget the edges of your nails. Let dry for 2 minutes. You do not need a UV light for this step even though some companies call their top coats finish gel.

Finish up with some cuticle oil and voila, you’re ready to slay!

How To Do Dip Nails at Home
Source @darlenechang01

How hard is it to do dip nails at home?

It is not difficult to do dip nails at home, as long as you have the right materials. Be sure that you practice sanitation and always properly put away your materials.

If you have any questions about sanitation, check a reliable source online or consult a professional. 

Can I remove dip nails at home?

Yes, you can remove a dip manicure at home as long as you go slowly and follow the step-by-step instruction in our article on how to remove dip nails.

Are DIY dip powder nails bad for you?

No, the dipping powder you get on Amazon or from other online brands like Kiara Sky or NailBoo is all safe to use on your nails. It’s the same quality nail powder your nail technician would use at a professional salon.

Just follow the instructions provided by each individual brand. That’s because they might have small differences in the order of application.

For example, Kiara Sky has a bond, base, seal protect, and top coat vs Modelones which has a 2-in-1 base & top coat, and activator.

Pro tip: Keep your nails healthy and avoid picking or peeling your dip powder mani. Remember, dip bonds to your nail plate, and peeling off your color will peel off your natural nail!

Key takeaways on doing dip nails at home

Dip nails have several benefits over acrylic, and they are simple enough to do your own at home. You will save money and improve the health of your nails by ditching the communal dip pot at your local salon. 

Plus, powder dip is made from acrylic so it offers many of the same benefits, like longevity and durability as acrylics do but without the time of getting extensions. Powder dip nails are also more long-lasting than gel nails.

Steps range from applying the bond to dipping your nails to applying the top coat. The process is simple, and plenty of guides are available online to further explain the process.  

Grab your favorite dip powder and give yourself a fabulous dip powder manicure!