Dip powder has become a popular manicure choice in recent years, so it’s worth learning the method. The process isn’t hard to master, but you could end up making some simple mistakes that are easy to not recognize at first. Several of these errors might seem like they’re easy to remember, but you might be surprised at how often people overlook them. These common mistakes are especially important to learn ahead of time if you’re a first-time user of the dip powder process. To learn some of the most common dip powder mistakes to avoid, keep reading below.
NOT PROPERLY PREPPING YOUR NAILS
People often experience the entirety of their dip powder coating popping right off the nails—this mishap usually occurs because their nails were not prepped correctly to begin with. Every method of manicure tells you to properly prep your nails for the process. This generally involves giving your nails a good washing and making sure they’re properly dehydrated.
One of the best ways to prep your nails so that they’re clean enough for the dip powder process is to use alcohol wipes on all of your nails. This will remove any grime and particles that could interfere with the dip powder and adhesives. Another condition to prep your nails for is if they’re oily. This is a very natural occurrence for some people, which is why dehydrating your nails is also a recommended part of prepping for a manicure. A common way to do this is to first use rubbing alcohol or an alcohol wipe on each nail. Once all of the alcohol has evaporated, apply a coat of acetone to the nails. The acetone will break down most of the oily sediments, and then it will evaporate very quickly, leaving the nails dry. You can also try scuffing the nail surface a bit, which will create a better surface for the liquids to bond to.
FAILING TO PROTECT YOUR NAILS FROM LIFTING AND CHIPPING
A few mistakes can lead to lifting or chipping of dip powder nails. One of the first things you should do to protect against lifting is avoid getting any liquids on the cuticles. If you don’t pay close attention to avoid this, it will likely cause the manicure to start to lift from the cuticle side. To ensure this doesn’t happen, start by soaking your fingertips just enough to soften them up a bit. When they’re ready, gently push the cuticles back using a cuticle pusher.
Another method that will help you avoid this situation is to start your first coat 1/8” to 1/4” inch away from the cuticle, which will prevent any contact. Then, apply the second base coat about half that distance from the cuticle. If you need to apply a third coat, split that distance again. Sometimes, people will use a toothpick to carve a line in the base coat a little above the cuticle while the coat is still wet.
The other place where you need to protect your nails from lifting and chipping is at the tip of the nail. If you don’t coat the edge, there’s a chance that the polish can separate from the nail.
TOO MUCH BASE OR TOPCOAT
This common dip powder mistake to avoid is important to note, especially if you’re new to the dip powder nail process. Adding too much of the base coat or too much of the topcoat can cause problems while you’re trying to apply the dip powder. As we mentioned before, the base and topcoats are strong adhesives. Applying too much of either of them on the nail will just cause excess powder to get stuck. This forms clumps of powder that thicken up, which will give your final nail a messy, uneven-looking surface.
Many dip powders are already designed to be thicker, which is partially what makes them work so well. Because of this, though, the process can require a bit of a learning curve before you can master it. The best thing to remember is to apply your base coat in a thin layer and to make sure it lies evenly. A tip you might find helpful is to try to do this with as little base coat as possible. Do the same when you get to applying your topcoat. Another key to preventing too much buildup on the nail is remembering to file and buff the nail in between adding each coat. Also keep an eye on the dip powder while it’s in the jar. You want your dip powder nail colors to be even. The powders consist of mixes of pigments, which can settle, making your color uneven and inconsistent. The best way to prevent this is to shake the jar well before each use.
NOT KEEPING YOUR PRODUCT BOTTLES AND BRUSHES CLEAN
Keeping items such as the product bottles, the jars, and especially your brushes clean are huge details you don’t want to miss when you’re using the dip powder process. When you apply any bases or activators, you want to make sure they’re dry enough before using any of your powder brushes. If they haven’t properly dried, the brush will pick up the liquid when you try to brush off any excess powder. Your brushes will get gunked up and potentially ruined from the mix of adhesive and powder clumping up on the bristles. The adhesive coating could also get ruined, which will affect the final look of the manicure. Avoid buildup and clumping on your brushes by making sure to rotate your topcoat brush and your base coat brush in some brush saver, which will clean the adhesives and excess powder from the brush.
Lastly, you don’t want a bunch of excess liquid getting on the rims of your product bottles. These are adhesive chemicals, so this will cause the lids to become glued to the bottle. Being sure to wipe the rims as well as the lids and gaskets each time will prevent any buildup.