The Dip Aftermath

I’m now 3 weeks clean of nail products!!

…Okay, more like 3 weeks clean from dips/powders/acrylics/shellacs, and 2 weeks clean of ALL nail products – I had to have my nails painted once it came off to mask the hideosity of a bare nail after months of destroying them.

Dip Removal Process

The whole idea behind going from acrylic to dip nails back in March was to see if the formula would really strengthen the nail underneath particularly after having had damaging acrylics on my nails for so long. Much like how the application process was a mix of acrylic and gel – minus the lamp – the removal process was very similar in this way. I actually went to a different nail salon this time because I lured my boyfriend to take me enticing him with their full bar, but they also do dip, so I was comfortable with them at least removing the product. I doubt that the nail spa I had previously been going to for my dip manicures would’ve removed them exactly this way, but I’m sure the differences in how this salon vs that spa removed the dip are minute.

The removal process is a pretty simple:

  • Soak nails in acetone – the salon I went to actually took a coarse grit nail file first to sand down some of the product from the top before applying acetone soaked cotton balls to each nail and then wrapping each fingertip in foil. I’ve also soaked my nails in a bowl of acetone much like in the way you would remove acrylic nails. The idea is to break down as much of that product as possible before sanding it off.
  • Low Speed Drill/Light Grit Drill Bit – I’m a firm believer that the drill is what weakens the nail first – but acrylics are just so addicting! And they last so long… Luckily, a pretty big difference between acrylics and dip as far as the removal goes is that you’re still trying to be nice to the nail, particularly in the removal process. The drill is still used, but at a very low speed and a light to medium coarse drill bit is used to remove as much of the dip left on the nail as possible without scraping too much of your real nail – which is the main culprit in weak nails post removal.

After the product was removed, I asked for a regular manicure – cuticle oil & removal, light filing and a light color with top & base coat.

The Aftermath

Immediately following my manicure, my nails didn’t feel their strongest. I hadn’t seen my bare, natural nails since last September, so honestly I didn’t expect much anyway. BUT – I will say they felt a lot stronger than had I just taken off acrylic. It could be in my head, but dip also contains vitamins, so even though they were covered in dip from March-June, at least my nails were being infused with some good stuff. My nails grew at a normal pace and did not break when I sneezed or snag on a piece of cotton which is what I’m used to even after removing shellac.

I will say that for that week/week and a half following removal, my left thumb and pinky nail bent in ways I’d rather not describe graphically a few times while doing random chores. Which – I’ve had my nail bend back after lightly bumping into a shelf as I reached into the back of my fridge for a container.

Mermaid tail teal with chrome accent nail

Overall, I’d choose dip over acrylic, shellac, or gel any day if I’m being nail health conscious because my nails feel stronger and feel like they’re getting even stronger faster after dip powder. But until they can figure out a better way to do nail art, I’d go with shellac or acrylic for funky nails.

I will say getting used to shorter, bare nails has been an adjustment. 3 weeks clean and counting – I wonder how long I can keep it up.

xoxo

The Glam Greek

When I Dip, You Dip, We Dip

Forget everything you once thought you knew about nails because this will blow your mind.

If you’ve followed my Instagram account for some time now, you’ll know that I am loyal to Nail’d It, a small nail boutique tucked in a little shopping center on the north side of the town, with incredibly talented nail techs (shout out to my girl Alondra!). Any design your little heart can imagine – Nail’d It has the tools, ingredients and skill set to accomplish it and all for a very reasonable price.

However, acrylics can wreak havoc on the nail, as we all know, and I needed a break. I had spent so much time growing out my nails under the weight of acrylics, that when I removed the powder, I wanted to keep the length but knew my nails would be paper thin. I often do this after a particularly long bout of acrylics – I have the powder soaked off, my nails are sanded down, I have shellac placed on top only to have the sides start lifting about 2 weeks later and the revealed nail from underneath chips under the pressure of fresh air and I have to give all the girls a cut as a result of their sister’s betrayal. I needed a better alternative!

Cue this saucy little number called Dip Powder. I Googled it, like anyone does anything when they hear of something unfamiliar, and immediately tried to find a salon in Houston that offered this service. I asked friends who had done it before, I asked friends who had friends who had tried this before. I checked Yelp for reviews and while results were dismal, I finally landed upon a salon that had decent reviews and decided to give it a go. Here’s what I’ll say about this salon – the actual dip powder was cool and they have some pretty amazing infused water (the trick is to infuse the ICE, y’all!!). But the customer service was not worth my drive, time or money; the salon was dimly lit, which I’m assuming was for ambience? except it made it feel seedy and dirty. NOR did they allow me to snap a few pics of the process for my blog. *hmph!* So I decided I liked the whole dip thing, but I would not be returning to that salon. Which is fine, because the real testament to dip powder is in it’s staying power and the whole removal process.

A few things to know about Dip Powder

  • No UV light to cure it
  • It can last, on average, 3 weeks (it’s more durable & lasts longer than gel/shellac)
  • While still not the safest option out there, it’s formulated without major harmful chemicals like formaldehyde
  • They claim to have vitamins that help strengthen the nail
  • Dip comes alone and will not include manicure (but you can ask for cuticle care separately)

After 4 weeks, my nails were grown out, but I only had one minor chip on my right index finger that didn’t occur until the very last week of my manicure. They had survived diy projects, dish washing, crawfish eating, countless workouts, and a trip to Vegas amongst other things that involve a lot of hand usage, you know, like everyday life..

I needed to switch out the colors and was curious about the process at this point. Normally acrylics would need a refill and shellac would need to be soaked and scraped off. So I took to Yelp again and found a place called Uptown Galleria Nails and Spa that has 5 stars, beyond amazing reviews, and a huge album of user-uploaded photos of their nails.

When I arrived,  I was greeted by a really nice lady and her ADORABLE BABY BOY!!! The salon has large windows and the decor is very white, bright, simple and clean. I was getting all the good vibes. The lady who greeted me sat me down, offered me something to drink (water, tea, soda or red wine) and started to work on my nails. After some chit chat, I found out that Catherine is the owner of the salon.

A woman owned business? I was liking this place more by the minute. She even let me take some pictures for this post while we talked about the whole dip nail process, pros and cons, etc. I left having such a pleasant experience and having learned so much, I can’t recommend this place enough!

The Process :

Natural nail dipped in clear/pink base dip powder

Dip Powder color & the essential brush for dusting

Keeping things “simple” with 3 ingredients

Nail is dipped 3 times (sometimes more) to build color in between coats of clear sealant/polish

Sealant/polish applied between dips in the jar

Low speed drill file used to smooth out grainy texture

No UV light! Just a heavy duty top coat to make your nails shine like diamonds in the sky!

The “strengthening” properties of Dip Powder comes in the removal process. More on that next time in Part Deux. In the meantime – check out how amazing natural nails can look!!

 

xoxo,

The Glam Greek

 

Manicure Kit Monday

I love getting my nails done, and as of late, I’m obsessing over the coffin nail shape. But after I came back from vacation, I figured it was a good time to let my real nails breathe for a while and strengthen back up before getting tips back on again.

But my nail were just looking so sad and boring. Until… I walked into Walgreens one day for some toothpaste and a casual stroll down the beauty aisle led me to this Sally Hansen nail art kit!

Sally Hansen Nail Art Kit

Retails for about $6.45 in my area, could be more or less depending on your location and where it’s sold.

Contents

They carry a few different types of kits, but all will come with 3 different kinds of appliqués & a utensil to set the gems or glitter on the nail.

It really is so easy I promise! And the instructions are much more helpful than you can imagine. And, the possibilities are endless. Here are 3 different ways I recently tried out:

Sally Hansen Nail Art

water marble nails?

Sally Hansen Nail Art - all studs

Have you tried these kits yet? Any other kinds? I wonder how easy/difficult the glittery bead kit is.

xoxo

Stratigista, the Glam Greek