How to Remove Dip Powder Nails

By Milly / October 24, 2019

We love having our nails done, especially for those much needed vacations. When we go on a vacation we tend to go for those nail styles that last as long as possible and dip powder nails are one of them. Today we'll show you how to remove dip powder nails.

Unlike gel polish and gel manicures, dip powder nails tend to last longer, dry instantly, and don't need a UV lamp to dry. It's true they can be a little tougher to remove, but in our opinion, a much better option than gel or shellac!

The dip powder manicure is a new technique which consists in coating the nails with powder and clear nail polish. This technique has become so popular because it's easy to apply and it lasts for almost a month. But since it lasts longer, this means to remove it, you may have to go to the nail salon again to remove it and you maybe don’t have the time for it.

With no time to go to the nail salon, you would want to remove the dip powder polish yourself by picking and pulling, which is a terrible idea. Luckily, you can remove dip powder nails at home in a proper way, without damaging your nails and we are going to show you exactly how.

How to Remove Powder Nails

foil method

There are a few methods you can use to remove your dip powder nail polish. Removing them is fast and easy no matter which method you choose. So how to remove dip nails at home?

#1. Acetone and Aluminum Foil Method

Before diving into how to remove dip nails with pure acetone and aluminum foil method, we need to get a few items. Some of this you might already have at home and some you might need to purchase. Don't worry everything is easy to find.

You'll need:

Step 1: Soak the Cotton Balls in Acetone

In a small Ziploc bag, place 10 cotton balls and then pour some acetone. Close the bag and let the cotton balls soak for about 5 minutes.

Step 2: File the Top Layer of your Nails

Using a file nail gently file the shiny top of your nail making sure not to overdo it, we only want to slightly remove the top. By removing the top coat of your dip powder nail polish you make removing the dip powder way easier.

Step 3: Wrap your Nails with Aluminum Foil and the Soaked Cotton Balls

Take one soaked cotton ball out of the Ziploc bag and place it over your nail. Grab a piece of aluminum foil, big enough to wrap your nail along with your finger around. Gently wrap your nail and repeat the process for each nail. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes. To speed up the process, do all 10 nails and remove one by one. This method helps the acetone effectively sink into the dip powder, and therefore dissolving it from the nail.

Step 4: Remove the Foil from Your Nails and Touch up any Residue

Gently pressing onto the nail, remove the foil. The dip powder should come right off with the cotton ball, but if there is any leftover residue, simply take another cotton ball and a quick swipe should do it.

#2. Acetone Soak and Steaming Method

buffing gel nail polish

You’ll need:

  • Acetone
  • Large glass bowl
  • 2 small bowls
  • Paper towel
  • Nail file
  • Cuticle pusher

Step 1: File the Top Layer of your Nails

Just like the other method, filling the top of your nail is also an important step. This will make the acetone soak into the dip powder more easily.

Step 2: Fill a Large Bowl with Hot Water

Fill a large glass bowl with hot water. The water should be hot but not burning. Place the bowl in the microwave and 1-2 minutes should do.

Step 3: Place Paper Towel in the Small Bowls and Cover it with Acetone

Fold some paper towels into the small bowl and cover it with enough acetone, then place the bowl into the large bowl with hot water. If you want to soak both your hands at the same time you will have to find a bowl big enough to fit the smaller bowls.

Step 4: Place your Hands into the Bowls to Soak

Gently place your hand into the small bowl with the paper towel soaked in acetone. Make sure the acetone bowl is not getting dipped into the water bowl.. Soak your nails for 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 5: Cover your Hands and Bowl with a Dry Towel

To achieve the steaming method, place a dry towel over your hands and the bowl. This will warm the acetone, and therefore making it easier for removal.

Step 6: Remove the Dip Powder with the Paper Towel

Remove your nails from the soak and take the paper towel to remove the dip powder. Gently wipe off the powder using the paper towel. This should be quick and easy after the nails have been soaked for 10-15 minutes. If there is any residue left, use a cuticle pusher to remove it.

Source: Kiara Sky Nails

Follow-up Care Tips:

After removing dip nails, I'm sure you will want to go and get another manicure with a different design, but we recommend to wait at least 1-2 weeks. You need to give your nails time to breathe.

Dip powder manicures can last almost a month, however, it is not recommended to leave them on for that long. While dip powder nails are a better option than gels, they can still be bad for your nails. The keratin granulation and color pigments in the dip powders can cause spots on your nails. Also if the dip powder lifts off your nail, it can capture moisture, and this can cause fungus or infections.

It's always good to treat your nails after a long use of dip powder, because they tend to get dry. To do this, combine equal parts flaxseed, coconut and vitamin E oils into a small bowl. Massage the oil mixture into nails, hands, and cuticles. Do not rinse off. It's usually best to do this right before bed. This way, the oils have a chance to absorb into the nails and skin.

Alternatively, you can also massage a cuticle oil into the cuticles and nail bed area every night before bed. Doing this will prevent bacteria from forming, and will also moisturize dry cuticles.

How to Remove Dip Powder Nails
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4 years ago

How do you get off dip nails without acetone?

4 years ago
Reply to  sierra

Hi Sierra,

You can remove dip nails without acetone by first clipping the nails so they’re short. Then, use an orange stick to gently and safely pry the top layer of the dip away. Next, fill a bowl with acetone-free nail polish and soak your nails for 30-45 minutes. Once you feel that the nail has loosened, you can use a pair of tweezers to pull it off.

4 years ago

if you’re gonna do this at home, be very very careful as it can ruin your nails! If you don’t know what you’re doing or don’t feel comfortable, you may as well go back to the salon and pay the extra money to have pros remove it.

4 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Yes, you’re absolutely right! If you don’t follow the directions accordingly and don’t have the patience, you’re better off going to the salon to have them removed. Improper removal of dip nails can cause nail breaks and damage.

4 years ago

is it ok to file dip nails?

4 years ago
Reply to  jenna

Hi Jenna,

Yes, it’s absolutely ok to file dip nails! If they tend to get too long, or you broke one, you can file them just as you would file acrylic nails or your own natural nails!

4 years ago

are your nails super damaged afterwards?

4 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Hi there,

It all depends on how long you have them on for, as well as the condition of your nails beforehand. It’s not recommend to leave them on for too long, and also to give your nails a break from dip powder or even acrylic. After removing dip nails, your nails may be a little brittle, so it’s very important to let your nails breathe for at least a week, and condition them using a thick hand cream.

4 years ago

After a few times of removing dip powder nails, it’s actually pretty easy!!

4 years ago

what’s the best way to maintain dip nails?

4 years ago
Reply to  kathee

Hi Kathee,

For dip nails, maintenance is the same as any other type of manicure. Be sure to moisturize every day, and try to keep nails dry. If you’re doing dishes, we recommend you wear rubber gloves to maintain the color and avoid nail breakage.

4 years ago

can you get a fill on dip nails?

4 years ago
Reply to  Machelle

Hi Machelle,

For dip powder nails, you would go and get them “refilled” by the same method you got them done – dipping the nail into the powder.

4 years ago

Thanks so much for sharing this!! Had to remove my own dip nails since all nail salons are closed now…definitely was quite a bit of work Buuut it worked so thank you 🙂

4 years ago
Reply to  ladyB

You’re welcome 🙂

4 years ago

good to know especially now when we can’t leave the house 🙁

4 years ago

I removed the dip powder nails by wrapping each nail in cotton and acetone, but now my nails are super dry and brittle. Is this normal?

4 years ago
Reply to  Cheyna_38

Hi Cheyna,

Yes, that can be quite normal, especially if your nails are more sensitive and/or you’ve had dip powder nails on for a while. Not to worry though, this can easily be fixed! First, let your nails breathe for a couple of weeks. This means no more dip powder, gel, or acrylic. Then, moisturize your hands and nails 2-3 times a day with a thick hand moisturizer.