When you walk into the nail salon, there are myriad choices to make — from the color of your polish (will you try one of the trendy new neon shades, or stick with Essie’s classic Ballet Slippers?) to the shape of your nails (square, round, or something in between?). But there’s another choice to add to the list that you may not have even considered: Instead of opting for a standard or gel manicure, you might try SNS nails.
Here’s everything we know about the buzzy nail polish technique that’s making us question everything about our classic gel mani.
What are SNS nails?
SNS nails — otherwise known as a “dip powder manicure” — are made with a powder and glue, and the combo creates a long-lasting bond on your nails. SNS is actually a brand of dip powder, the same way OPI and Essie are brands of nail polish, which is how the method got its name. Similar to regular or gel polishes, it comes in a rainbow’s worth of colors that you can choose from.
What makes it different from your standard mani, though, is that it doesn’t have that strong, acrylic smell that’s become synonymous with nail polish (you know the one I’m talking about), and doesn’t require a light to cure it the way gels do — making it a solid alternative to either option, especially for anyone who is nervous about the potentially harmful effects that the UV lights used to dry other types of polish can have.
So, are SNS nails better than gel or regular polish?
According to celebrity nail artist Gina Edwards, there are a number of reasons why someone would opt for SNS nails instead of the standard polish or gel, and the whole “no UV light” thing is certainly one of the biggies.
If you’re sensitive to chemical odors or have skin allergies, you’ll definitely love this method, but really SNS nails work well for anyone who wants a long-lasting manicure that doesn’t involve gel. The only caveat is for anyone with any sort of contact dermatitis, who should speak to their dermatologist before going in for a dip.
How much do SNS nails cost?
Prices will vary, depending on the salon you go to, but one report showed that a salon offered gel for $25 and dip for $30.
How are SNS nails applied?
The process of applying SNS nails is fairly simple. Here’s how Edwards breaks it down:
- The nail is filed and shaped then cleansed with a primer.
- A coat of Resin is brushed on the nail plate.
- One finger at a time is dipped into the color powder, and resin is added again.
- Next, comes an activator, which is brushed on two or three times (depending on the product).
- Finally there’s the glossy top coat to give the look its luster and shine.
And how long do SNS nails last?
According to Edwards, these dip powder manis can last up to two or three weeks without chipping or fading, making them comparable to gel as far as staying power. While proper application can help SNS nails endure for their full lifespan, Edwards suggests avoiding activities that may make them chip prematurely, like doing any sort of physical labor (gardening, lifting, or household cleaning) without wearing gloves. When you’re ready to take them off, all you need to do is soak your nails in acetone for 15–20 minutes.
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