While gel manicures have been around since practically the dawn of time, there’s an alternative method that’s been gaining a lot of attention: dip powder manicures. But what’s the difference between these two types of manicures, and what are the pros and cons of each? In this comprehensive article, we’ll take you through the basics of powder and gel nails to help you decide which method might be best for you.
Pros and Cons of Gel Nails
When you get gel nails, your manicurist will usually cut and shape your nails, trim your cuticles, and moisturize and buff your hands. Then, they’ll apply a gel nail polish in your chosen color. Gel nail polishes are formulated so they harden when exposed to UV light. This forms a rock-solid, smooth, and shiny coat. After the polish has been applied, your manicurist will put your nails under a UV light to dry them.
Pros of Gel Nails
Gel nails are fairly long-lasting, with a life of about two to three weeks. This makes them a strong option for holidays or multi-day events when you want to keep your nails looking their best without any hassle. Meanwhile, the color and texture of a gel polish manicure is usually pretty hard to beat.
Cons of Gel Nails
The biggest reason to skip gel manicures is the exposure to UV light. UV light is extremely harmful to the skin and is the main cause of skin damage and aging. While it might not seem like a big deal to put your hands under a UV light for a few minutes, the composite effect of regular gel manicures could result in dark spots and premature skin aging. The process of removing gel polish can also put a strain on nails and weaken them over time.
Gel nails can have a big impact, and they’re a great option for certain occasions in our lives. However, the potential threat that they pose to your skin and nail health means that this style of polish is probably best as a once-in-a-while option, rather than a regular part of your routine.
Pros and Cons of Dip Powder Nails
When you get dip powder nails, your manicurist will first go through the basic, universal steps of grooming and trimming your nails. Then they’ll apply a base coat to your nails, and dip them into a pigmented powder of your chosen color. (This powder is essentially acrylic nail polish in powder form.) Finally, your manicurist will brush away any excess powder, and apply another clear coat to seal in the color.
Pros of Dip Powder Nails
Dip powder manicures last even longer than gel manicures–about a month on average. Meanwhile, they don’t require any exposure to UV light, so they don’t pose a risk of premature skin damage and skin aging as gel manicures do.
Cons of Dip Powder Nails
Dip powder nails are great from a maintenance and skin health perspective, but how do they affect your nail health? The basic answer is that dip powder manicures are probably no worse for your nails than the average, acrylic manicure. The application method and the paint itself probably do a bit of damage to your fingernails, dehydrating them and disrupting their natural barrier. But all in all, if you’re set on getting a manicure, dip powder polishes are probably no worse than any other option. From a price perspective, dip powder manicures are a bit more expensive than other options–about $20-30, depending on the salon. However, when you factor in the long-lasting nature of these polishes, they may be about as cost-effective as other options.
Because they last longer than gel manicures, and don’t involve exposure to UV light, dip powder manicures are definitely a better option for regular use. The effect on the appearance of your nails may not be quite as dramatic as the effect of a gel manicure, so we recommend opting for dip powder manicures as a part of your regular routine, and gel manicures for special occasions when you want your nails to make a big impact.