Never Pay for a Dip Mani Again!

Calling all nail lovers!!

Alas! Even before I started blogging, people would ask me how I did my dip nails at home. So for starters, here’s a little back story. I have been getting my nails dipped since February of 2017 roughly every three weeks. I’m the kind of person who pays VERY close attention to detail. So, I began to know exactly how the nail techs were doing my dip manicures and thought I had it down pat. I figured instead of getting my nails done one week, I would spend that money on the supplies needed for doing it myself. I also was getting annoyed at how much money I was spending!

I found some Youtube videos on how to do it, but honestly none of them really helped me out. It has taken a lot of trial and error, but I feel confident enough now in my process to share!


Here are the supplies you will need:

  1. Gelish Soak Off Basic Acrylic Powder Nail Polish — retails for $35
  2. High grit nail file — I purchased mine at Sally’s for under $3, but these are very similar!
  3. Low grit nail file — this is just a reg nail file. You probably already have one laying around!
  4. 100% Pure Acetone (Also can be found at Sally’s)
  5. Buffer block (Also can be found at Sally’s)
  6. Dip powder – You may purchase anywhere online, but I wanted to get a brand I knew of, so I spent a little extra and bought SNS in the shade 158. This is a natural, pink shade and not opaque. I love it because your nails just look super healthy with this color!
  7. Cuticle Eliminator (remover)
  8. Cuticle Pusher
  9. Cuticle Oil 
  10. Cotton balls

I know this can look like a large investment, but I think I spent around $65 on all of this and I haven’t had to repurchase any since then. If you think about it, you can’t even get two dip mani’s at a nail salon for under $65!


The Process

Note: I usually allot myself 40 minutes if my nails don’t have anything to soak off. If I have to soak off a previous dip (which is pretty much always), then I allot about an 1 hr 15 mins.

If you need to soak off dip prior to the new application:

  • Fill a shallow bowl 1/2 inch deep of acetone (use a smaller bowl so you aren’t wasting acetone) and soak for 15 minutes.
  • Afterwards, use a wet cotton ball to rub off the excess.
  • File your nails well and wash hands before starting the new application!
  • If you are really feeling like getting the salon experience at home, you can purchase foil squares at the Dollar Store in the kitchen section and place an acetone-soaked cotton ball on each nail and wrap in foil!

Prepping the Nails

  • File nails to the shape you like.
  • Apply a little dollop of the cuticle remover. Let it sit for about 30 seconds.
  • Use cuticle pusher to remove cuticle, then wipe away with paper towel or cotton ball. Do this for all your nails.
  • Making sure your cuticles are removed is very important!!! This allows the layer of dip to adhere to the entire nail.
  • Wash hands before dipping.

Dipping Nails: I know this is long, but it is worth it!

  • Take the ‘Prep’ Polish and coat each nail. Make sure that you get each little crack and crevice of your nail. This cleans off the nail’s surface and prepares it for the dip! (Ha- hence the name).
  • With ‘Base’ Polish, put a very light coat on the top 3/4 of your nail. This means that the 1/4 nearest your cuticle has no clear base coat on it. You want to make each coat very thin and light, so that the polish does not bead up and cause a ripple in the powder.
  • After applying the base coat to 3/4 of the nail, dip into powder and tap off excess. I usually just tap my finger on the powder pot. Continue this for each nail.
  • Now, it is time for the second coat of dip. Take your spare makeup brush and wipe away the excess powder from your finger and nail.
  • Apply a thin layer of the base coat on the entire nail. Dip your nail into the powder pot and tap your finger to remove excess. Continue for each nail.
  • How many coats you apply is up to your discretion! I usually do two if I am feeling more of a neutral look and three if I want it to be more opaque.
  •  After you have done the full nail coat of dip, brush off excess.
  • Apply the ‘Activator’ polish to each nail. This must hit every crevice of your nail! It allows the dip to be buffed and filed to your liking.

Shaping the Nails + Top Coat

  • Using your high grit nail file, file all around the nail nearest your cuticle. If you notice at the nail salon, they usually use a drill to shape that area, so that the nail naturally gets thicker at the tip. This makes it more natural looking because it then will seem as if the dip is part of your own nail!
  • Take the low grit nail file and file your entire nail.
  • Take the buffer and buff nail, so it is completely smooth
  • Perfect the shape of the nail with the high grit nail file.
  • Wash your hands and make sure they’re super dry.
  • Apply two coats of the ‘top’ coat to each nail. I usually make these coats pretty thick.
  • Let them dry for 5-8 minutes. They’ll be taking for a few minutes like regular polish.
  • Apply cuticle oil and rub in.
  • Apply lotion!

And, finally, you’re done!! I know this was long, but after a ton of trial and error on my part, I have found that this step by step works the best. Do not hesitate to reach out with questions! It took me about 5 tries to really get it how I like it!


The finished product!!!!!



Screen Shot 2018-04-11 at 10.37.59 AM





*Disclaimer: I am not a certified nail technician and this is my own process I personally use. I am not an expert!*


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s