Difference Between Dip Nails and Acrylic Nails

Whilst scrolling on social media, it is impossible for someone to not see a post of an influencer with gorgeous nails. Manicures cannot be done without getting a good nail prep, for that dips or acrylics pops in one’s head.

There are probably two popular processes through which a manicure is completed, i.e., dips and acrylics.

Dip Nails vs Acrylic Nails

The main difference between Dip Nails and Acrylic Nails is that dip nails use dip powder to enhance the nails, and the nails are dipped into the powder many times to get the desired color and opacity, whereas acrylic nails are applied with a brush on the plastic extensions.

Dip Nails vs Acrylic Nails

Dip nails are durable and long-lasting, though it contains harmful substances that can harm natural nails. A brush is used to apply the dip powder for a disinfectant application.

Dip powders are unscented. The process of application is unhygienic and can pass bacterial infections between customers.

Acrylic nails are less durable and long-lasting than dip nails. They contain dangerous substances. A liquid monomer and an acrylic powder are applied with a brush to make the application much easier.

The ingredients have a pungent smell that can be harmful to the respiration organs of the customers and the artist.

Comparison Table Between Dip Nails and Acrylic Nails

Parameters of ComparisonDip NailsAcrylic Nails
SaferDip nails are not safer to use because some dip powders can contain harmful substances.Acrylic nails also contain harmful and intense chemicals.
Hygiene/ sanitationIt can be quite unhygienic 
Durable/long-lastingYes, they are durable and long-lasting.It lasts a little less than the dip nails.
Easier applicationNails are dipped into a powered jar many times to get the wished color, which then makes the process much complicated.They are comparatively easier to apply.
Smell                 They are unscented.They have a strong smell.
Natural feelingDip nails do not feel natural. Acrylic nails give a more natural feeling.

What are Dip Nails?

Dip nails are considered in the middle of a classic nail manicure and an acrylic nail manicure. It is gaining popularity in the industry. This is mainly because they are durable and long-lasting.

The application process is simple. After the base coat is applied to the nails, they are then dipped into a powdered jar of the chosen color. And then, a topcoat is applied. This step is repeated until the desired opacity and color are obtained.

The powder is applied while using a brush for sanitation purposes. Dip powders are unscented. The main ingredient is finely ground powder, similar to acrylic powder. It can be quite satisfying to watch.

Unfortunately, some of the dip powders can contain harmful substances like MMD that can be dangerous for natural nails. Dip nails can also be quite unsanitary and can pass bacterial infections between customers. Powder dip nails are not FDA-approved.

What are Acrylic Nails?

Acrylic nails were invented in 1954 by a dentist. Acrylic nails are made up of powder and liquid monomers. It is an artificial nail enhancer, having 2 main ingredients called the liquid monomer and acrylic powder. 

This is applied to nails using a brush, then the nails are left to dry. They do not need LED lamps to cure. Acrylic application is a common form of manicure available for ages. The process of applying acrylic nails is much more involved.

After applying the liquid mix, the plastic extension is filed and buffed with a nail drill. Gel acrylic nails need a LED lamp to cure. Acrylic nail glue is a toxic ingredient that harms natural nails and is known to cause respiratory problems.

They also use intense and harmful chemicals that can damage natural nails. They contain pungent smells that are why the nail techs wear masks while applying to do the prep.

Main Differences Between Dip Nails and Acrylic Nails

  1. Dip nails and acrylic nails differ in the application process.
  2. Dip nails prep is like the preparation of a regular manicure where is this is not the case for the acrylic nails prep.
  3. Dip nails have many layers of powder, which can make them thick, whereas acrylic gives a natural look.
  4. Dip powder is similar to using nail polish on the nails, whereas acrylic application can be used to lengthen the nails.
  5. Dip nails last much longer than acrylic nails.
  6. Dip nails last up to 4 weeks, whereas acrylic nails last up to 2-3 weeks.
  7. Dip nails do not include nail glue which contains toxic chemicals that can be harmful to natural nails, whereas acrylic nails use acrylic nail glue.
  8. Acrylic nails use plastic extensions on the natural nails, whereas dip nails do not use plastic extensions.
  9. Dip nails are much more flexible and durable than acrylic nails.
  10. Dip nails are better nail enrichers than acrylic ones.
Difference Between Dip Nails and Acrylic Nails


Both acrylic nails and dip nails are quite popular to beautify the nails. They come in many shades and designs, which attracts the customers towards them.

Unlike gel acrylic manicures, acrylic nails and dip nails do not use UV lamps. This can also make the nail prep much easier and quicker processes. 

The dip powder and acrylic nails have many chemicals included that damage the natural nails. The dip powder and acrylic nail are made up of different ingredients, the application and the result may also vary from each other.

The LED lights can risk damaging the natural nails. There may be some differences and similarities between dip nails and acrylic nails.

The removal process is also identical for both manicures. If the nail tech does not know how to apply the nails, then they can cause harm to the natural nails.

Though beautifying different parts of the body can make one look impressive, but health is an option that everyone should consider.


  1. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.1201/9781003159117-15-21/powder-gel-nail-dipped-nails-dipping-powders-robert-baran
  2. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-72156-9_5
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