The nail care market has evolved into something beyond the imagination of most. The only limit is creativity. While new innovations in nail care are emerging every few years, the basic manicure dates back centuries. From Cleopatra in ancient Egypt to popular Hollywood film stars in the early 20th century, it’s easy to trace back nail care history and discover the different trends, designs and styles that took the industry by storm.
This year, there’s a trend that has been plastered all over social media – acrylic dipping powder. But dipping powder is nothing new. It’s actually been around since the 1980s. The system is essentially composed of three parts that require a base coat/top coat (resins), an activator, and a dipping powder. Once the base coat is applied, the nail is dipped in powder and the process is repeated depending on how many coats the customer wants. The final product is a smooth, glossy finish once the activator and top coat are applied.
This system is popular with consumers for a variety of reasons. Unlike gel polishes, dipping powder dries instantly and a UV lamp is not needed. The application process also takes less time to do than traditional acrylics. “Dipping powder systems have become popular because they’re fast and they don’t damage natural nails. They’re also odorless so people with sensitivities can get this service done without any problems,” said Miriam Cruz, associate brand manager at SuperNail.
SuperNail carries their own brand of acrylic dipping powder called ProDip. The line has 72 different shades, 42 of which will launch in December. There are other brands who have their own version of dipping powder, but according to Miriam, the ProDip base coat is calcium and vitamin E enriched. “It helps the nails grow stronger underneath while protecting them with rich color.” ProDip powders are also “ultra-smooth” and “of the highest quality”, allowing a smooth, bubble-free appearance.
Not only can dipping powder be used on nail enhancements, but they can also be used on natural nails. “Acrylic powder is not heavy and it looks natural,” said Mimi Ho, manager of Ellenwood Spa & Nails in Ellenwood, Georgia.
These benefits don’t necessarily mean that acrylic dipping powder is better than traditional acrylics, press-ons or other long-wear polishes. “It is hard to compare. They all serve a different purpose and are suited for different types of clients,” Cruz said. She notes that one advantage traditional acrylics have over the dipping powder is the ability to do sculpted nails and create intricate 3D nail designs.
“My customers use gel polish over the dipping powder,” Ho said. This practice is fairly common and gives customers a larger range of color options to pick from, as some dipping powder brands have limited selections.
Wilmington, North Carolina-based nail technician Chaquetta Fowler said there have been a few qualms with dipping powder. “Due to some consumer concerns about sanitation and the use of the dipping system, I believe that the dipping powder service will maintain some popularity, but will not reach that of the traditional acrylic/gel nail services,” she said. But while some choose to avoid the product all-together, others opt to the pouring method. This is essentially pouring the powder over the nail instead of dipping it to achieve the desired look.
Even with this retro system making a comeback in a shiny new case, traditional acrylic lovers will remain loyal to that product. “The traditional acrylic loyalist will forever be that – they love the strength and length that they get from acrylics, so it is difficult to sway them away from that,” Cruz said. On the other hand, there are customers who have had a negative experience with traditional acrylics, be it an unskilled technician or they did not care for the maintenance. These customers “will be easier to persuade to try dipping powders and are more likely to enjoy the service since it’s easier and faster to apply than traditional acrylics.”
So, what does this mean for OTC retailers who sell regular nail lacquers, press-ons and traditional acrylic systems? There is no need to fret. This trend, like most others, will eventually level out. Customers who have been loyal to gel polishes will remain loyal to gel polishes. Customers who have been loyal to press-ons will remain loyal to press-ons. Acrylic dipping powder cannot replace the many benefits of these different products. But it is refreshing to see something new brought into the nail care industry and customers are sure to enjoy it while it lasts.