10 Best Dip Powder Nail Kits for a Salon-Quality Manicure at Home

Yes, giving yourself a DIY manicure at home can save you a lot of money, but even the best quality nail polish inevitably chips within days of application. That’s where dip powder nail kits come in. Like gel nail kits, which promise long-lasting, salon-quality hard gel polish manis at a fraction of the price, dip powder nail kits are known for offering long-lasting results — except they don’t use UV light to harden.

“People really like both of these qualities, especially the lack of UV light, which avoids concerns over UV exposure and takes away the additional cost of purchasing a UV or LED machine,” says Tina Wang, owner of Lunula Nail Salon in Brooklyn, New York. “Some people may even prefer the at-home kits over in-salon dip powder because you’re able to control hygiene practices, since the container is for you and only you.”

Also known as SNS nails, dip powder nail color comes from dipping your fingertips into a finely-milled, pigmented powder before bonding with adhesive. “The powder is similar to or the same as acrylic nail kit powder that is layered with resin and then ‘cured’ with an activator,” explains Julie Kandalec, a celebrity manicurist and founder of Julie K Nail Academy. The result is an evenly coated manicure that can last for three to four weeks.

To find the best dip powder nail kits for a salon-quality DIY manicure, we consulted our GH Beauty Lab experts and conducted hours of research, combing through hundreds of reviews online and evaluating dozens of formulas. Shop our recommendations, then find answers to your top questions about dip powder nail kits at the bottom of this guide.

PROS
  • You can choose your colors
  • Dries quickly
  • Doesn’t damage nails
CONS
  • Pricey

This chic (but pricey) kit comes with everything you need for a professional-looking dip powder mani: build powder, colored powders, base coat, activator, top coat, remover clips and accessories. The best part is that it’s completely customizable so you get to choose your four favorite shades when ordering, which most kits don’t allow for.

Reviewers say it’s simple to follow instructions (just three steps!) and it dries quickly. “It was super easy, fun and fast,” says one user. “They are extremely durable and you don’t have to wait forever for them to dry.”

Can’t grow long, beautiful nails? You’re not alone. This budget-friendly nail dipping set includes both white and neutral-colored acrylic tips that you can adhere to your nails for natural-looking length.

Reviewers note that it does take practice and patience to get it right, but that the kit works well and the instructions are easy to follow. “I love this so much I’m thinking if I get good enough, I won’t even need a salon anymore,” shares one user.

Created for professional salon use, OPI’s dip powder kit comes with a large size dip powder color (at 1.5 ounces that’s three times the size of most dip powder kit jars!) and three applicator liquids. If you’re an OPI loyalist, you can stock up from among the brand’s 11 dip powder shads, although the kit itself only comes with one color. “Salon quality and so easy to do yourself,” one reviewer reported.

A salon-quality manicure requires salon-quality removal. Instead of vigorously rubbing an acetone-soaked cotton pad across your manicure, use these handy Teenitor clips that hold acetone soaked pads to your nails until the polish has broken down enough for easy removal. Genius!

“This really did the trick,” says one reviewer. “It does a great job of keeping the cotton firmly in place, which is something foil couldn’t achieve.” The last few clips may be hard to get on as other nails already have clips in place, according to reviewers.

What to look for in a dip powder nail kit

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When shopping for an at-home dip powder kit, keep these factors in mind:

✔️ Brand reputation: “Make sure that you get it from a reputable brand that you have researched and trust,” Kandalec says. “Certain brands may use cheaper ingredients in them that you could become allergic to very quickly.”

✔️ Color selection: “Dip powder sets often come with a kit that includes colors very close in range or too broad in offering (i.e. more colors than you’ll ever need),” Wang says. “Be sure to pick a set that includes colors you love and can offer some versatility. For example, you might choose a kit that includes colors that could form additional colors that will help you achieve a new look.”

✔️ Tools and accessories: Depending what you have at home, you may want to look for a kit that includes tools like a buffer, file, cuticle pusher and extra nail brushes.

How do you use a dip powder nail kit at home?

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You should always closely follow the instructions that come with the specific kit you buy, but in general this is the step-by-step process for applying dip powder to your nails:

  1. Prep the nail by pushing cuticles back, then filing into your desired nail shape.
  2. Use a nail primer to remove oil and dirt from the nail bed.
  3. Apply the base coat once nails are clean and dry.
  4. Dip into powder color and use a duster brush to remove excess.
  5. Brush on another coat of base and dip again. Double-dunking ensures full coverage and a stronger finish for a chip-resistant manicure.
  6. Finally, paint nails with an activator, which bonds the color powder into a lacquered gloss.
  7. Apply a glossy top coat for extra strength.

Is there a downside to dip powder nails?

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If you are worried about your nail health, don’t fret: Dip powder itself won’t ruin your nails, but scraping and picking the manicure off will. Chipping away at your dip powder nails with a nail stick removes layers of your natural bed, weakening your nails.

Instead, to remove dip powder nails, stick to the same removal process as gel: Gently file off the top layer of color, dip a cotton pad in acetone and allow it to sit on your nails for 10 to 15 minutes before wiping the color away. If your manicure doesn’t budge after 15 minutes, let your nails soak in polish remover a bit longer. Don’t forget to rub a good cuticle cream into your nail bed when you’re all done to keep your nails healthy and strong.

Are dip powder nails worth it?

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“Dip powder nails are a good option and generally worth it if you have a healthy nail foundation and a knack for DIY nail care,” Wang says. “It’s always important to start with a healthy nail base and to invest time into a great foundation (i.e. healthy nail beds), which makes the job of dip powder much easier. Smooth nails that are fully hydrated will always be the best base for the cleanest product application.”

Dip powder can be a good choice if you are looking for some creativity in the finish and color of your manicure. “You can mix different colors together before application, and have some control over how translucent or opaque the desired end result is,” Wang says. “Since powder is applied in thin, granular layers, it’s a great option for creating sheen and iridescence effects, which is not as easily achieved through other polish techniques.”

Are dip powder nails better than gels?

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While both dip powder and gel manicures boast longevity (think two to three weeks for DIY efforts, but potentially up to a month), dip powder manicures don’t require UV light-curing lamps. That means you can cut your mani time in half, won’t have a bulky nail lamp taking up space in your home and it’s a bonus if you’re sensitive to UV exposure. Plus, they can be easier to remove than certain gels; you just need a light filing and a soak in acetone (no drills!).

However, “gel nails are much more flexible and are better for people that are prone to lifting,” says Kandalec. “With gel, you can use hard gel to extend the nail, but you cannot make the nails longer with dip; it’s just an overlay product.”

Why trust Good Housekeeping?

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GH contributor Dori Price has over 15 years of experience researching and writing beauty content. She is an expert in all nail product categories, including nail color and nail treatments, and has interviewed some of the industry’s top professionals, including nail artists and technicians.

She relied on expert advice and extensive research to put together this article, including consulting with the beauty product experts in the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Beauty Lab. While we did not formally test these dip powder kits, our beauty scientists are constantly testing the newest nail and hand products — including hand creams, nail polishes and more — and know what to look for.