Using Dip Powder as Acrylic: The Ultimate Guide

With so many different nail products available at the moment, it is difficult to know what you can pair with which different product.

Using Dip Powder as Acrylic: The Ultimate Guide

But don’t worry! We have put together this quick guide to take you through the basics of using dip powder as acrylics, as well as some hot tips to keep your nails healthy and cute.

Can Dip Nails Be Acrylic?

The short answer? Yes. You can absolutely use dip powders as acrylic.

Dip powder is finely ground, and high-quality acrylic powder that already has the most important chemical compositions and formulas to act as regular acrylic powder.

The two powder types actually have so many overlapping properties and such similar physical strengths that they can be used interchangeably.

Using Dip Powder With Monomers

You can use dip powders with monomers as it is made of acrylics and monomer is the liquid vehicle in an acrylic nail.

Using Dip Powder as Acrylic: The Ultimate Guide

You can use either a monomer or an acrylic liquid with dip powders to create beautiful acrylic nails. Using a monomer with dip powders will not give you any issues.

Using Dip Powder With Acrylic Liquid

Using a dip powder with an acrylic liquid is mostly the same as using dip powder with a monomer.

It works great and should not cause any issues – but bear in mind that the application process is different depending on the application purpose.

If you are someone with a large collection of dip powders that are fast approaching their expiration date, why not use this opportunity to experiment with powders and monomers or acrylic liquids to create gorgeous 3D nail designs. 

Using Dip Powder as Acrylic

Creating acrylic nail designs is easy with dip powder. 

The two powders are wholly interchangeable and will not cause any issues. This is because dip powders are a type of acrylic powder.

Using Dip Powder as Acrylic: The Ultimate Guide

While they are interchangeable, it is a good idea to be aware of any price differences between dip powder and acrylic powder.

Generally, dip powders are far more expensive than acrylic powders so the cost of a set of nails will be higher using dips.

You also need to bear in mind that dip powders come in much smaller jars. It is rare for a jar to contain over 2 oz (ca. 76 g) of product. Even on a gram to gram comparison, dip powder nails are more expensive.

You can of course use dip powders in place of acrylic powders but remember that they will only last a few nail sets.

Using Acrylic Powder As Dip Powder

Alternatively, you can use acrylic powder as dip powder for a cheaper nail set.

Dip powders are just extremely finely ground acrylic powders any acrylic you like will work well to dip with on natural nails.

Remember that acrylic powders are not milled as finely as dip powders.

This additional coarseness may affect the design of the nails, but you can easily combat any issues by refining or reshaping the nails and buffing for a little longer than you otherwise would.

This will eventually create the lovely smoothness associated with dip powder manicures.

Advantages of Using Acrylic Powder

Using acrylic powders as dip powders has a few definite advantages:

  • Acrylic powders are easier and much quicker to work with than dip powders as there is far less filling and shaping involved.
  • Taking off dip nails with an acrylic powder is exactly the same as using a dip powder and works quickly, plus is super safe and gentle to your natural nails.
  • The smell! Acrylic powders do not have the same pungent odor that dip powders have so the manicure process is more pleasant.

Doing Dip Nails with Acrylic Powder

The easiest way to do dip nails with acrylic powder? Rename your acrylic powder ‘dip powder’ and continue as you normally would. It’s that easy!

Remember that using just the acrylic powder may not give the nails strong opacity, depending on what you use. It may be a good idea to go over the nails with polish in a color of your choosing to create the desired finish.

Filling Dip Nails

Sure, technically you can fill dip nails but it is so challenging that it is not really recommended.

Filling nails is the process of filling in the gap left between the painted nail and nail bed, usually a few weeks after the design has been applied.

Covering up this strip of grown-out, the natural nail will make your manicure last for a bit longer.

Filling for dip nails poses two main problems:

  • It is difficult to prep the small fill gap and the only way to prep is with an electric nail drill which can significantly damage the natural nail.
  • The correct application process is difficult as the space is so narrow. Too much activator and the powder will stick too easily which causes bumpy nails and transition lines, too little and the color will not be uniform.

These difficulties are too time-consuming to correct for professional nail salons and too difficult to compensate for if you are doing your nails at home.

This is why few people recommend fills for dip nails – just treat yourself to a new set!

Dip Powder vs Acrylic

If you are wondering if dip powder or acrylic nails are best, you need to think about their purposes and application processes to find the right style for you.

Short nails will benefit from dip powder work at home as the application process is far less damaging than acrylic nails. It is also super quick and easy to remove and lasts on average two weeks longer than an acrylic set.

Long nails are more suited to acrylics than to dip powders. The ability to thicken and strengthen the nail – while making them beautiful in the process – is a big plus for those who prefer long claws.

Using Dip Powder as Acrylic: The Ultimate Guide

This additional strength cannot be achieved through dip powders and, even if you manage to get the thickness to where you want it to be, you will need lots of layers.

Dip Powder and Nail Health

If you use it correctly, dip powders will not harm the health of your nails in any way. In some instances, using dip powders may even be good for your natural nails as it creates an extra layer of strength to prevent breakages.

Dip powder is also super easy to remove and does not require an electric drill. Even the most minor of errors when using a drill will significantly damage your natural nail.

Dip Powder Removal

Taking off your dip powder manicure is super simple and quick to do.

The method that most nail technicians prefer is the acetone and soak method. All you need to do is soak or wrap your dip powder nails in acetone for 15 to 20 minutes.

This will dissolve the polish and powder, making removal easy.

Using Acetone to Remove Dip Powder Nails

The first thing you need to do is take off any nail tips if you have them.

The easiest way to do this is with a nail clipper but be sure to look at the underside of your nail to avoid catching your natural growth. 

If you do not have a colored polish over the top of your nails, you need to file off the topcoat which acts as a sealant. You can do this with a nail file.

Remember that the more of the topcoat you file off the easier the dip powder will come off your nails.

If you do have a colored polish over the top of your nails, you need to remove this before filing as this color will seep into the acetone during the soak and stain your skin.

Once you have taken off the colored polish, you can move on to filing off the topcoat.

If you have a gel polish over your dip nails, you need to remove it before attempting to take off the dip powder. Gel polish is super strong and will stop the acetone from coming into contact with the dip nails.

You can file off gel top coat polish with a coarse file – think 100 to 120 grit nail files for the best results. Now you soak the nails in acetone for 5 to 10 minutes to remove the gel color polish.

If there is any gel polish left, file or peel off as much as you can to expose all of the dip powder.

Now you are ready to soak your nails to take off the dip powder. There are a couple of ways to do this so experiment and find out what works best for you.

Using foil

One option is to soak cotton pads in acetone, wrap this soaked pad around your fingernail, then wrap it again in aluminum foil.

Wrapping in foil is important as it will keep all the acetone in place, so it doesn’t drip everywhere, prevents the pad from drying out, and will have slight insulation properties to speed up the dissolving process.

Using finger cots

If you choose to use specialist finger cots then the process is exactly the same as aluminum foil, and just makes it a little easier to do other things while you are soaking.

Saturate a pad, wrap it around your finger, and secure it in place with a cot. Be sure to find the right size for your fingertip, so they don’t fall off.


Soaking is perhaps the easiest option for this step. Simply pour some acetone into a bowl and submerge all of your fingernails for the requisite amount of time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Dip Powder Nails?

Dip powder nails are a type of manicure that is chip-resistant and long-lasting.

The pretreated nail is dipped in a colored powder or the colored powder is brushed along the nail, then everything is held in place with a clear sealant. 

What are acrylic nails?

Acrylic nails are made from a mixture of powder and a liquid monomer to form a paste that is then painted and shaped onto the natural nail into the desired shape.

This base is then dipped into the desired color or painted with the design. This manicure will last two or three weeks, depending on how much you use your hands.

Is dip powder bad for your nails?

A dip powder manicure will temporarily dehydrate your natural nail during the application process but this will not cause long-term damage.

The root of the nail will not be harmed and your nails will continue to grow as normal. 

Is acrylic bad for your nails?

Having acrylics is not necessarily bad for your nails and the extra layer of strength will prevent breakages. It is poor application and removal of the acrylics that harm the health of your natural nails.

Be sure to go to an experienced and talented nail technician to avoid damage and be sure to follow any instructions before and after your appointment.


Whichever method you choose, after 15 to 20 minutes the dip powder should have softened enough that it can easily be peeled or scraped off.

Clean up any residual polish or dip powder with a clean cotton pad and some more acetone, then thoroughly wash your hands.

All of the old design has now been removed and you are free to get creative and do another one!

Brittney Scott