Dip Powder Vs Gel Polish Guide 2022

Dip powder vs Gel polish

Dip Powder and Gel Polish are two of the best types of manicure systems available. They both are durable, long-lasting, and easy to apply.

But there are clear differences between the two systems which make them suited for some people but not for others.

So in this article, I am gonna be going through the pros and cons of both dip powder and gel polish to help you decide which one is the right one for you.

Comparing Dip Powder & Gel Polish

SystemLess Harsh
To Nails
Looks NicerSaferEasier to Apply & RemoveDurable & Lasts LongerAffordable & Available
Dip Nailsxx
Gel Polishxxxxx

Which is Less Damaging for Your Nails – Dip Powder Vs Gel

Both Dip Powder and Gel Nails are not inherently damaging to the health of your nails. But instead, your nails are more likely to be damaged when your manicure is improperly removed or applied.

Now Dip Powder Nails are harder to take off when compared to gel polish. And because of this, they are more likely to be damaging to your natural nails

You see Dip Powder manicures usually require a lot of filing and the use of more acetone which means that your natural nails are more at risk of being damaged.

It’s important to note that your nails are rarely damaged by the manicure system but instead from:

  • Using strong chemicals like acid-based nail primers.
  • Over filing your nails before application.
  • Not correctly removing the manicure which can seriously damage the nail plate.

Which Looks Nicer – Dip Powder or Gel

Once applied correctly both Gel Polish and Dip Powder can look amazing.

But I think a gel polish manicure tends to look better than a dip powder manicure. This is because:

  1. There are a wider variety of colors, shades, and types of gel polishes to choose from – which allows you to be be more creative.
  2. Gel Polish only cures when exposed to UV light – this allows you to take your time and be more creative to make and design amazing nail art.
  3. Gel Polish has a natural glossy look – whilst Dip Powder needs a top coat to give it a sheen.

Which is Safer – Dip Powder or Gel

Both Gel and Dip Powder come with some amount of health risks.

Health Risks of Gel Polish.

Gel Polishes main health risk comes from the use of UV light which is used to cure and harden the gel polish.

It’s important to note that your nails won’t be damaged by the UV light since they are too thick to allow the light to pierce through them. But your fingers and hand would still be exposed to the UV light.

And you see prolong or constant exposure to strong UV light can potentially lead to skin cancer.

Now there hasn’t been any research to show that the short exposure to UV radiation from nail lamps would lead to skin ailments like skin cancer.

But you may want to avoid gel polishes if :

  • you are extra sensitive to UV light
  • your family has a history of skin cancer
  • or maybe you are just trying to avoid too much UV exposure

Or alternatives you can protect your skin by applying sunscreen on your hands or wearing manicure gloves. Both sunscreen or manicure gloves cover and protect your fingers and hands from the UV light allowing only the gel polish to get hit by the UV light.

You can click here to see the price for a good manicure glove on Amazon.

Health Risk Of Dip Powder

Dip Powder comes with two main health risks either:

  1. An allergic reaction to the base or
  2. Getting an infection from reusing and sharing the same dipping jars with others.

1- The Dip Powder Base is a monomer called cyanoacrylate which is prone to causing allergic reactions. 

If you have an allergic reaction to the dip base the skin around your nails will have swelling and show signs of irritation.

2- If you get a dip powder manicure at a salon it is important they don’t use the same jars or reuse the powder for all of their clients

This is because bacteria, fungi, and other germs tend to be left inside the container which can then be easily passed onto the next person dipping their fingers into the powder.

Instead, the salon should apply the dip powder by sprinkling it onto your nails and then disposing of any powder that didn’t stick onto your nails and not reusing it.

If your salon reuses the powder or allows everyone to dip their nails into the same container they are putting you at risk for an infection.


Once used correctly and precautions are taken both Gel Polish and Dipping Powder won’t pose any major health risk and shouldn’t be a factor when deciding your manicure.

Which is Easier to Apply – Dip Powder Vs Gel Polish

If you are a nail novice Gel Polish tends to be easier to apply when compared to Dip Powder.

You see Gel Polish is applied just like regular nail polish except it’s cured using a UV Led lamp.

And because gel polish cures only when you are ready means that you can take your time and apply it. This also means that if you make a mistake you can easily wipe off the gel polish with rubbing alcohol and start over.

Now Dip Powder on the other hand uses a completely different system when compared to other conventional manicures.

You can check out the video below to see how to apply Dip Powder.

Which Will Last Longer – Gel Polish Vs Dip Powder

Once applied correctly, Dip Powder lasts 3-4 weeks, which is longer than gel polish, which usually lasts for 2-3 weeks on average.

The glue or base that holds down the dip powder is made of cyanoacrylate. Cyanoacrylate is the chemical used to make super glue, which explains why dip powder won’t peel or lift easily.

Which is more Durable – Dip Powder or Gel

Dip powder is more durable than gel polish, making it ideal if your nails are constantly exposed to harsh conditions.

Dip powder can withstand harsher conditions before showing signs of wear and tear.

If your nails are constantly exposed to detergents, heat, chemicals such as dyes and alcohol, then I recommend a dip powder manicure.

Which is Easier to Remove – Dip Powder Vs Gel Polish

Gel Polish is easier to remove than Dip Powder.

Gel Polish and Dip Powder can both be removed in the same way. Both types of manicure require the top layer to be filed off and then soaked in acetone.

The difference is that Dip Powder since it is more durable, requires more filing and needs to be soaked in acetone for 15-20 minutes.

You can soak off gel polish with cotton balls soaked in acetone, wrapped around your nails, and left for 10-15 minutes before scraping it off.

The cotton balls prevent your skin from being affected by the acetone since they only contact the gel polish.

Which is more Affordable & Available – Gel Vs Dip

You can now get a gel manicure at most nail salons since gel polish manicures are more widely available. They tend to be more affordable than Dip Powder manicures as well.

However, Dip Powder manicures tend to last longer, making them potentially better value for money.

Dip Powder manicures tend to cost $10-$15 more than gel manicures; prices will vary by salon.

Dip Powder Vs Gel Extensions

In this section, I will compare Dip Powder and Gel Extensions. Gel extensions differ from gel polish in terms of their properties and functions.

Due to their differences, I needed a separate section to compare these two manicure systems.

Gel extensions are thick and clear gels that are used to extend and build out the length of natural nails. The gel extensions are then coated with gel polish, regular polish, or dip powder.

Gel extensions are similar to acrylic nails and are used as an alternative to acrylic nails.

Dip Powder is best used as an alternative to gel polish and regular polish. Additionally, they can be used with a nail extension made from a tip, gel, or acrylic.

There are two types of Gel Extensions: Hard Gel and Soft Gel. Currently, Hard Gel is most commonly used by nail salons.

The difference between a dip powder manicure and a hard gel manicure is as follows:

Hard Gel Extensions tend to be more durable, longer-lasting, and better at building up the length of your nails.

They are more expensive, more difficult to apply, and more difficult to remove.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is nail dip powder better than gel?

Dip powder manicures generally last longer than gel manicures. Dip powder polymers are stronger than those found in gel polish, so dip manicures will generally last longer – up to five weeks, if properly maintained.

Is dip powder less damaging than gel?

While acetone can be used to remove both gel and powder dip manicures, it also presents the risk of dehydrated, brittle nails, along with the threat of bacterial infection from sharing powders and potential allergic reactions to powder dip’s base.

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