Best travel manicure: Dip-powder

November 26, 2017 | By | 12 Replies More

Credit: Pixabay

Getting ready for a trip? When you’re traveling to a resort or taking a cruise, you want to look your best.

So many of us go through the same pre-trip beauty drill:

  • Get hair trimmed ✔
  • Get roots colored (if you’re a certain age) ✔
  • Select and lay out a travel wardrobe ✔
  • Choose the right shoes, bags and accessories ✔
  • Get a manicure and pedicure ✔

Unfortunately, even with all that preparation, packing a suitcase can cause a conventional manicure to chip and play havoc on your pretty nails within hours.

Shellac Manicures

Several years ago, I was thrilled to find out about shellac manicures, which, at the time, seemed like the perfect travel manicure. The manicure looked good from the get-go, was long-lasting (about two weeks), and I didn’t need need to worry about expensive nail repairs while traveling.

The major drawbacks: 

Shellac manicures entail placing your hands under UV light to set the gel. Some reports suggest that UV exposure increases the risk of skin cancer (which is said to be abated by applying suntan lotion on your hands before the manicure). And two weeks still pass quickly.

Dip-Powder Manicures: The Best Travel Manicure

Then a friend told me about dip-powder manicures. Their virtues:

  • The process only takes about one hour.
  • The nail covering is longer lasting (generally three to four weeks) and is less likely to chip than a gel manicure.
  • The covering is protective, allowing your nails to grow without breaking.

“Dip powder nails are somewhere between a regular mani and a fake nail.” –Glamour Magazine

How a Dip-Powder manicure is done:

  • A liquid adhesive is painted on each nail.
  • The technician sequentially dips each finger into a jar of odorless, very fine acrylic powder (that comes in a choice of colors).
Small sample of the many dip powder colors available (Credit: SNS)

Small sample of the many dip powder colors available (Credit: SNS)

Best Travel Manicure - The nail-dipping process

The nail-dipping process

  • After application, the combination of the powder and adhesive hardens on the nail almost instantly.
  • The process is repeated for a second coat.
  • Any excess powder is brushed off.
  • The acrylic nail coating is filed down and buffed so it looks and feels natural.
  • A sealer is placed over each nail, which gives them a high gloss.
  • Drying time is less than one minute!

The major drawbacks:

Like any other nail polish technique, you’re putting a chemical on your natural nails (Admittedly, not the healthiest thing). Also, removing the acrylic coating takes more time and effort than removing a gel manicure. Each nail has to be covered with acetone-soaked cotton for at least ten minutes, and then the nail has to be scraped with an orange stick to remove the acrylic coating.

The Best Travel Manicure: One traveler’s opinion

Because of the look, feel and durability, dip-powder manicures are by far the best travel manicure. After getting one, you can be reasonably assured that your nails will look great for your entire trip. And since travelers are less likely to do dishwashing or other housework while away, the manicure even lasts longer than when it would at home.

Travel-ready nails!

The Best Travel Manicure: Travel-ready nails!


Have you tried a dip-powder manicure? Were you pleased?

Do you agree that it’s the best travel manicure?

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Category: TIPS

Comments (12)

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  1. sheryl says:

    Haven’t tried this yet…but would like to. I’ve been doing acrylics forever…can you change over without a problem?

  2. I will have to show this to my wife. She gets pedicures monthly, but on has manicures when we are traveling. She says that the chip too easily, and this dip powder may be a solution. Thanks for the helpful tip.

  3. Jo Castro says:

    Wow, this looks fabulous. I used to have Shellac, which generally lasted me about 4 to 5 weeks if I was lucky, but like you say, I’m a little nervous about the UV, which I’ve only just learnt about. Definitely going to try this. By the way, I loved your pre-trip list at the top of the post! Me to a T!!

  4. I have tried the dip powder and love it!! For anyone who hasn’t, if they try it once, they will be sold!!

  5. What an interesting process! I’ve never heard of it before. However, I won’t be trying it because long ago I stopped painting my nails. Too hard to maintain. However, I love painting my toes. Does this process work on toes?

    • An interesting question! Since toenails aren’t subject to as much wear and tear (dishwashing, etc) as are fingernails, I suspect it wouldn’t be worth the additional cost. A gel polish would seem to provide adequate coverage.
      Yes, painted toenails are fun!

  6. Very interesting, Irene! I’ve never heard of this dip powder process! I agree that some of those mani-pedi treatments are kind of scary being so difficult to remove, they can’t possibly be good for our bodies. But I guess once in awhile is OK. Your nails definitely look great!

  7. Sue Reddel says:

    Although I\’m not a manicure kinda gal I love how easy this process looks to apply and the results you get. Thanks for the tip!

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