Nothing makes you feel glamorous and put-together quite like a flawless dip manicure. And while dip powder nails have many pros, including lasting for up to five weeks, the in-and-outs of how to remove dip nails is not one of them.
If you’re wondering how to remove dip nails, you’ve come to the right place. The easiest way to remove dip powder nails is to file them down and soak them in pure acetone.
Let’s get into the nitty gritty of how to remove dip nails at home without damaging your natural nails.
Dip powder vs. gel manicures
While dip powder and gel manicures result in similar looking outcomes, there are key differences between gel vs dip powder nails that are important to note for the removal process.
Aside from the fact that dip nails start as an acrylic powder and gel nail comes straight from the bottle in a liquid form, gel nails don’t last quite as long as dip nails.
Dip nails require a shorter process that includes dipping the nail into the powder and applying a hardening coat on top. But the upside to dip powder nails is that they will last a week or two longer than gel.
Gel gets cured under a UV light and can in certain cases, like if you are using an LED light, take longer to get done.
Read more in our depth review of our favorite nail dip powder kits.
Dip powder removal tools
Removing dip powder nails at home is easiest when you have the proper tools.
Before you get started, make sure you have the following on hand:
- Coarse nail file
- Cotton balls
- Pure acetone
- Glass bowl
- Aluminum foil
- Hand towel
Using these tools, along with the guide below, you will be able to remove your dip nails without causing unnecessary harm to your natural nails.
Step-by-step guide to removing dip nails at home
If you want to learn how to remove dip nails at home, follow these three steps carefully.
1. File your nails
Anytime you want to remove old dip powder from your nails, the first thing you should do is file down the topcoat.
The topcoat is the final coat that went on your manicure. It’s what makes your nail color look fresh, clean, and most importantly, shiny.
Use the coarse nail file to shave down this thin layer. Doing so will make it easier for the acetone to soak into the dip powder for removal.
If you feel like going pro, pick up a professional electric nail drill like the PureNails Luxe Nail Drill from Amazon to speed up the process. It will make the filing down process go that much faster.
Just be careful you don’t file so deep you end up stripping the outermost layer of your natural nails!
2. Soak your nails in acetone
You can choose from two methods to soak your nails in pure acetone.
The first is to apply acetone-soaked cotton balls to your nails, and the other is to place your nails in a bowl of acetone.
For the first method, soak a cotton ball in acetone and place it on top of your nail. Wrap the top part of your finger in aluminum foil to hold the cotton ball in place and contain the liquid. Do this for each finger and let it sit for 15 minutes.
If you’re using the bowl method, simply fill a small bowl with acetone and dip your fingers in it, leaving them in the bowl for 15 minutes.
As a pro tip, it’s great to keep petroleum jelly on hand for this process. Acetone can very quickly dry out your skin, putting your cuticles and fingertips at risk. Before applying the acetone, rub some jelly on the skin surrounding your nails to protect it.
3. Remove any excess powder with a cotton ball
Once you’ve soaked your nails for at least 15 minutes, soak an extra cotton ball in acetone. Use it to gently rub off any remaining dip powder.
It should wipe off pretty easily at this point. Wash and dry your hands and treat yourself to some follow-up care.
Follow-up care: hydrate and massage
Dip powder is an excellent option for fabulous-looking, long-lasting nails. But it can have some detrimental effects on your overall nail health. While it may be difficult to avoid these impacts altogether, a little bit of follow-up care can help keep your nails looking and feeling great.
Once you have removed the dip powder and cleaned and dried your nails, keep your skin hydrated with a high-quality moisturizer. Gently massage a fragrance-free moisturizer or OPI cuticle oil into your fingers around the nail bed and on your cuticles.
If your nails look weak and brittle from the overuse of dip powder, you can also strengthen them by adding a protective layer of nail hardener.
Using acryclic tips under your dip manicure is also a greet way to protect your natural nails from the adverse effects of a dip powder manicure. For how these two differ, check out our article on “Dip vs Acrylic Nails.”
Key point on how to remove dip powder nails
If you want to safely and effectively remove your old dip powder nails at home, a good soak in some pure acetone will do the trick. Be sure to gather your supplies beforehand, and don’t forget to protect your skin with some petroleum jelly.
Follow-up care is just as important as the removal process. Find a high-quality lotion or cuticle oil to massage into your fingers. And finally, treat your nails with respect!
Let them breathe a little before your next manicure to maintain healthy nail beds.
Laura is a beauty expert with 5 years prior experience working in cosmetics and lash salons. When not writing you can find her experimenting with the trending makeup looks, or reading a good book snuggled up with her French Bulldog Max. Laura is currently a contributing writer and Beauty Editor at BeatyStack.