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Dip Powder vs Gel Nails: Which is Better?

The most popular manicure options today include dip powder nails & gel nails. They both last for weeks at a time, much longer than a traditional nail polish manicure. But when it comes to dip powder vs gel nails; which one is better?

We'll look at what dip powder and gel nails are, their application and removal process, and the benefits of both to help you decide which is better - for you.

What are dip powder nails?

Dip powder nails are like a cross between acrylics and gel nails. They look the most like acrylic nails and have the lightweight feel of gel nails. SNS nails are very durable and generally last for 3 more weeks. Even longer if you wanted them to.

SNS created the world’s first dip powder for nails to improve the condition of nails with every application. The created layers of dip powder provide your natural nails with strength and protection, which allows them to grow.

The entire dip powder system - comprising of dip liquids and dip powders - are enriched with vitamins A, E, B3, D5, and calcium to promote nail health, growth, and repair.

Applying SNS dip powder

‍Applying dip powder is an entirely different process to what you're used to. It involves painting on a clear base coat and dipping your nails into a jar of powder. Hence the name. The layers are then bonded together with an activator, sealing it all together. At this point, you can buff and file the layers to your liking before going in with the top coats.


Regarding nail prep: you would prep your nails as you would with any manicure. Cut, shape, buff, and push the cuticles back. Moisture is not a friend of dip powder, so it's important to make sure your nails are clean and dry.

Overall, it takes around 30 minutes to an hour to complete a dip powder manicure. It really depends on the amount of layers you create and your skill level. With that being said, it's definitely something anyone can learn how to do!

Removing SNS dip powder

Taking off your nail enhancements is so easy when you have dip powder nails. That's thanks to the SNS formula, which contains less chemicals compared to other manicures. This is also what makes SNS different from other brands of dip powder.

Remove dip powder nails by buffing the shiny top coat surface off. Then soak your nails in a bowl of warm acetone and let it do it's thang. The dipping powder should soften and allow you to wipe it off. Then repeat soaking and wiping until it's all off. There's no heavy drilling required.

Benefits of SNS dip powder

SNS has been voted "The Best Dipping Powder System" for 3 consecutive years (2018, 2019, 2020) by over 60,000 professional readers of NAILPRO Magazine. As well, it's rated #1 for strong & healthy nails by consumers worldwide.

SNS Badges for "Rated #1 for Healthy, Stronger Nails by Consumers Worldwide", and 2018, 2019, 2020 NailPro Magazine Reader's Choice for the best dip powder system.

Users - both client and nail professionals - love SNS dipping powders for many reasons.

  • Formulated with nutrients; low in chemicals
  • Helps your nails grow longer and stronger
  • No UV light needed
  • Durable; lasts over 3 weeks
  • Vegan & Cruelty-free formula
  • Easy to apply and achieve professional results
  • Easy to remove without damaging natural nails
  • Stunning colours and finish
  • Great way to curb nail biting habits
  • Dip powders are odourless

SNS dip powder system products

So we've mentioned before that the dip powder system involves both dip liquids and dip powders. Here's an overview of what's available:

Dip liquids

Otherwise known as SNS Bases & Sealers. They are essential to creating dip powder nails and work hand-in-hand with dipping powders to create strength and add protection to natural nails. Our dip liquids are available in the Classics Nutri-Plus range as well as the SenShine range for sensitive skin and eyes.

SNS Bases & Sealers (Classics Nutri-Plus)

Dip powders

SNS invented dip powders. So naturally, we have the widest selection of colours available.

There are several dip colour ranges: Pink & White System, Gelous Color, Fabulous Dip, Perfect Flo, and Dipstar.

Learn more about the colour systems here.

What are gel nails? 

Gel manicures are applied like regular polish but require the use of a UV or LED light to cure. The result of gel nails have the closest look to nail polish and will give you perfectly glossed wear without chipping or peeling moments after applying.

Gel nails last for 2 weeks, or more with care. SNS gel polishes are created with less chemicals and won't leave your nail beds weak like some gels are known to do.

Applying gel polish

The gel nails application process is very similar to regular nail polish. But instead of waiting forever for it to air-dry, you need a UV lamp to cure the polish.

Nail preparation for gel nails is standard. Cut, shape, push cuticles back, and buff your nails. Gel nails adhere better to a rough surface so don't buff them too much.

Start by painting on a base coat followed by 2-3 coats of your chosen gel polish colour. Finish with a shiny or matte top coat to protect your colour. For each coat of gel you paint on, you'll need to cure it under UV light for 30-120 seconds depending on the gel polish itself.

Gel nails typically take up to an hour to do. Much of that time depends on how long the gel polish needs to cure under UV light.

Removing gel polish

Like dip powder nails, the removal process for gel nails is easy and definitely something you can do at home.

All you need to do is soak some acetone in cotton balls and wrap over your gel nails for 10-15 minutes and it should come right off. Any remaining gel polish can be scraped off with a cuticle stick or lightly buffed with a buffer block. Just take care not to scrape too vigorously or you might removing some layers of your natural nail.

Benefits of SNS gel polish

Besides making your nails look super neat and pretty, there are many benefits of gel nails. And SNS gel polishes give you even more reasons to try it out for yourself.

  • Easy to apply
  • Easy to remove; less chemicals
  • Contains vitamin E and calcium
  • Stunning colours and shiny finish
  • Doesn't leave any sticky residue
  • Lasts for over 2 weeks; 3x longer than regular nail polish
  • Feels lightweight and is flexible
  • Vegan & Cruelty-free formula

SNS gel nail products

Within the SNS nail system, there is SNS Gelstar gel polish and the Basics 1+1 Gel and Nail Lacquer Duo Sets to choose from. Each has hundreds of colours to choose from with colours that match SNS dip powders and nail lacquer too!

Dip powder vs gel nails: Which is better? 

Both gel and dip manicures have their benefits. They are both long-lasting, lengthening the time between trips to the nail salon or your DIY at-home manicure.

A benefit of dip powder over gel is that no light is needed to cure the polish and are more durable than gel nails. But it can go on a bit thick if you're not careful. Gel polish goes on thinner and looks more like regular nail polish.

Whichever one you decide to get, remember that all SNS has vegan and cruelty-free. Not to mention the bonus of having formulations enriched with vitamins and calcium to promote healthy nail growth. With that in mind, it becomes less of a question of "Which is better?" but more so “Is dip powder or gel better for my lifestyle?”

Which one is best for you depends on what you're looking for, your nail's condition, and how much time you have, and whether you’re getting them done at a salon or by yourself at home.