Acrylic vs. Dip Nails: What’s The Difference?

Most women consider their nails as one of their most important features. In fact, whenever they go to the salon, it is always a must to have a nail retouch or a manicure. Gel, acrylic, and dip manicures are typically the first to come to mind when we think of manicures. And for your next nail session, there is a ton of other techniques and styles you can choose from.

More options are always better. The more alternatives you have, the more you may customize your selection to best meet your cosmetic goals and preserve your natural nail. With this, we gathered a list of questions to help you decide which is best for you.

If you are after the convenience and cost, dip nails are perfect for you. But if you have an extra budget and you want your nail design to last longer, acrylic nails are better.

Main Differences between Acrylic Nails and Dip Nails

Main Differences between Acrylic Nails and Dip Nails

Acrylic nails may be harder to apply and may require tools and a professional to do it, but they typically last longer. On the other hand, dip nails are easier to apply but can only last for 2-3 weeks.

Acrylic Nails vs. Dip Nails: Application Process

In terms of the application process, dip nails are actually much easier to apply than acrylic nails. Applying a base coat and dipping your nails into the dip powder are all that’s required to apply dips. Repeat until the right consistency is achieved, remove excess powder, and then apply a top coat to protect it.

Since the process of creating acrylic nails is more involved and needs more expertise, others choose to have their acrylic nails done by nail technicians. A variety of tools and materials will be used by the nail artist.

Acrylic Nails vs. Dip Nails: Pros & Cons

Acrylic Nails: Pros & Cons


  • Durable
  • Workable at home
  • Pricier
  • Pricier


  • Itchy and irritable

Dip Nails: Pros & Cons


  • Flexible
  • Quick drying


  • Can be unhygienic

Acrylic Nails vs. Dip Nails: Price & Cost

The typical cost of a dip powder manicure ranges between $30 to $50. Typically, acrylics are more expensive. Depending on the area and salon, the cost can be twice as much.

Acrylic Nails vs. Dip Nails: Safety & Health

Dip nails and acrylic nails could both raise similar issues with regards to safety and health. However, dip nails are slightly less risky than acrylics since the layers are not as thick and there is less likelihood of nail beds cracking, which could lead to fungus infections. In contrast, toluene, a hazardous ingredient found in nail polish and hair dye, is present in acrylics. Temporary side effects from toluene exposure include headaches, lightheadedness, and chapped skin, as well as more severe side effects including reproductive and breathing problems.

Acrylic Nails vs. Dip Nails Removal: Which One Is Easier to Remove?

Most people aren’t aware that the removal process is just as important as the application in keeping the strength of your nails. Dip powder nails are easier to remove than artificial nails because they contain cyanoacrylate, a nail adhesive that is more permeable to solvents.

The acetone-soaked dip powder ought to peel off without much effort. Your nail technician may occasionally use a file to get rid of any lingering dip color.

Acrylic Nails vs. Dip Nails: Which One Lasts Longer?

Dip nails can last up to 4 weeks unlike acrylic nails that can typically last for 2-3 weeks before needing to be repainted at the salon. Additionally, dip nails outlive gel manicures.

Acrylic Nails vs. Dip Nails: Which Is Less Damaging to Your Real Nails?

According to nail professionals, both acrylic and dip nails have about the same range of safety issues, however, the dip is somewhat less risky than acrylics, though, as it lessens the possibility of nail beds fracturing and fungus infections. In contrast, toluene a hazardous substance found in acrylic nail adhesive, is present in acrylics, which has been believed to cause headache, lightheadedness, skin rashes, and even respiratory problems.

Acrylic Nails vs. Dip Nails: What Are Some Good Salon Brands?

One of the most recognizable names in the nail industry is OPI. The standard gel or acrylic manicure is a great option for this top dip nail system brand. Although OPI’s powder composition makes your nails appear larger and stronger, it doesn’t weigh down your nails.

Acrylic Nails vs. Dip Nails: Range Colors

Both acrylic nails and dip powder come in a wide range of colors, designs, sizes, and shapes that you can choose from. You can opt for either the ready-made nail arts or ask the nail technician to customize your preferred design.

Acrylic Nails vs. Dip Nails: Quick Comparison Table

Acrylic Nails vs. Dip Nails:


Acrylic Nails:

Dip Nails:

What are they?

Combination of liquid monomer and powder  monomer

Ethyl acetate, Methyl Propyl Ketone, Methyl Isobutyl Ketone


Applying base coat and dipping into dip powder

Needs a nail technician to do the work


Uses liquid monomer for curing and bonding

Uses resin to hold powder in place


Looks hard and thick

More natural in appearance


$30 - $50

$30 - $45

How Long Do They Last?

2 - 3 weeks

4 weeks


Acetone and cuticle pusher

Easier to remove using acetone

Acrylic Nails vs. Dip Nails vs. Gel: Which Is Better and How to Choose?

Acrylic Nails vs. Dip Nails vs. Gel: Which Is Better and How to Choose

Dip manicure doesn’t utilize any additional chemicals to help it harden like acrylic does. Additionally, it does not need the specialized UV rays needed for curing, unlike a gel manicure. Hence, according to many women and manicure experts, the ideal manicure is a dip manicure.

Final Verdict

Dip nails are more enjoyable to work with because they do not require an acrylic liquid monomer that comes with a pungent smell that permeates in the area, and anyone who happens to be around who is not accustomed to this powerful fragrance may find it repulsive.

What’s more, dip nails are also faster to do as they can be done in just half an hour using a nail file, while acrylic nails may take a while in order to achieve your desired nails.

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