I was never really an adventurous salon-goer. I would stick with a basic manicure and pedicure, nails cut relatively short and practical, no crazy glitter or nail art… until I got tired of my nail polish chipping the day after my manicure and my nails breaking just before they reached that perfect length.
My first foray into learning everything the manicure world could offer me consisted of a gel manicure. It was still a relatively simple manicure- basic polish was swapped out for a gel coat and drying time was cut down by using a UV light instead of air drying. I was pretty satisfied with the results. My nails looked glossy and natural, and the gel lasted about two weeks before it started chipping. A huge improvement over my basic polish that never even lasted two days!
For my next manicure, I knew I wanted to try nail extensions. I have forever been plagued with weak nails that break prematurely and I felt that I owed it to myself to experience the satisfying clickety-clack of long nails. I had also been doing my research on different types of manicures and decided to try dip powder.
It seemed to combine the benefits of both gel and acrylic manicures, and was said to be healthier for your nails than either. When I walked into the salon, I asked for a regular pedicure and a dip powder manicure with extensions. As I sat in the pedicure chair and let my nail tech work her magic on my feet, I browsed through the nail polish swatches to pick my dip powder color. I decided on a color somewhere between coral and bubblegum pink, and then I was off to the manicure chair!
First, my nail tech buffed my nails, applied nail glue to each nail, and stuck on an appropriately sized artificial nail to the tip of each of my natural nails. She then trimmed those down to my desired length and shape, and buffed my nails again to blend the artificial nail tip into my natural nail bed. Then came the fun part- the dip powder! The nail tech dipped a paintbrush into a liquid solution and then used the brush to pick up a small amount of the powder. The liquid/powder combination on the brush had now become a gel-like formula, which was painted and molded onto each nail. I was glad that my nail tech hadn’t used a communal pot of dip powder, and rather separated out some powder to use specifically for me, as shared products in a nail salon can cause the spread of germs and infections. Once the formula was painted onto my nails, it almost immediately dried into a hard, slightly rough surface. My nails were then buffed and filed one last time. My nail tech chose to add a top coat of gel polish in the color I had chosen, and then came a gel top coat to add shine and durability. Because of the added gel coat, I had to cure my nails under a UV light, but one of the benefits of dip powder nails is that no UV light is required. My manicure was finished off with some lotion and a quick hand massage. When I left the salon, my nails looked glossy and glam, and felt strong and durable. My dip powder full set manicure took about an hour and a half and cost $50. Of course, the price and duration of the service will vary depending on the salon, as may the dip powder technique.
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