Gel or Dip Powder Manicure: Which is Right For You?

If you’re on the search for a manicure that is long lasting and will hold up in your day to day life, then we may have a solution for you. Traditional polish manicures don’t last very long and tend to chip easily. Both gel and dip powder have the lasting power that may just be what you’re looking for. But which one is right for you? We’ll break down everything there is to know about gel polish and dip powder, so you can choose the option that fits your needs and lifestyle best.

What is a Gel manicure?

A gel manicure is applied similarly to conventional nail polish in a three-step process and is cured under UV lamps. Zero drying time is required. No more smudges or ruined manicure leaving the salon with wet nails.

What is Dip Powder?

Dip powder manicures involve the application of an extremely fine colored powder that hardens into a brilliant shine. They have the durability of acrylic nails with healthy ingredients in our bases and sealers and with a faster application process. They also require no drying time.


The application process is probably the biggest difference between gel polish and dip powder. Gel polish is applied like a traditional polish, with a base, color, and finally a top coat. After each coat is applied, they are cured under a UV or UV/LED lamp for 30 to 60 seconds. Once the final top coat is UV cured, the nail is wiped clean to reveal a hard, shiny finish. The process takes about 45 minutes.

Dip powder begins with an adhesive base coat, and then the fine colored powder is sprinkled onto the nails. After several coats, a clear set powder is applied, a sealer activator is brushed on to harden and cure the powder. Lastly, a clear top coat is applied.  No UV lights are required and and no drying time necessary. The process takes about 45-55 minutes.

The Look

Both gel polish and dip powder come in a variety of colors and shades to suit your personality or mood. The color tends to be richer, bolder, and more intense with a dip manicure. Gel manicures are slightly more flexible and thinner. If you want to grow your natural nails long and strong or find your daily activities cause your nails to break or chip easily, dip powder is your best option as the hard resin protects them from breakage and is chip free.

Lasting Power

When it comes to lasting power, both gel polish and dip powder are long lasting; however, dip powder takes the cake. Dip powder will last 2 weeks minimum, but our customers tells us it lasts even longer, 3 weeks even.  A gel manicure also lasts a long time, typically two weeks when correctly applied, and often last longer. However, those who tend to have oily nail beds may find their gel manicures don’t last as long as they can chip or peel more easily due to these oils. Both styles of manicures offer extreme shine even after 2 weeks.


When it comes to the removal of either gel or dip powder, refrain from picking or peeling at your manicure as this will damage your nail bed, resulting in thin and brittle nails. It’s important to properly remove it to ensure your nails stay healthy. The removal process is very similar for both gel polish and dip powder, although dip powder may take slightly longer. While you can remove either at home, we recommend you save this step for the professionals to keep your nails looking their best.

Nail Health

If you’re using high quality products from SNS, who prioritize healthy nails, you can be assured your nails will always be at their optimal health. Dip powder is better for nail health, but both manicures are safe. SNS’s full dip powder application process include 5 vitamins and nutrients to nourish your nails: Vitamin A, E, D3, B5, Calcium.  Your nails with an SNS manicure will actually get healthier and stronger over time. Our Healthy Gelstar line has Vitamin E and Calcium. 

Gel manicures use a UV light, which is concerning to some customers but opt for the SNS Hybrid UV/LED light which is milder and safer. Both gel polish and dip powder can strengthen your nails and protect them from breakage, allowing them to grow long and strong. 


The cost of each type of manicure really comes down to the salon that you choose, but dip powder manicures tend to be slightly more expensive than gel. However, because dip powder can last longer, you’ll end up making less trips to the salon and the price may end up balancing out.

Bottom Line

Gel polish and dip powder manicures are both great options for those wanting a beautiful, long-lasting manicure. Which one you ultimately choose will come down to your lifestyle and personal preference. At SNS, we pride ourselves on offering nail treatments that prioritize the health and beauty of your nails, so you can have confidence your nails will always be looking their best.