When it comes to at-home gel manicure systems, the formulas can be pretty hit or miss. When the layers aren't too thick, they're slightly uneven, or peel off within hours after application. Dip powder manicures have been a staple in the salon circuit for some time now, and like a gel mani, you get weeks of wear, a glossy shine, and countless color combinations that require no drying time. There were a few problems, though—until recently, the treatment was only available in salons, and even when you could get the supplies from a professional supply store, mere mortals like us wouldn't know what to do with them.
Enter Red Carpet Manicure's Color Dip kit, which brings home the salon technique of a powder-dipped manicure. Unlike the at-home gel systems, the finish is far from thick, and takes less time to apply as you don't have to cure the color with an LED light.
There's a definite learning curve to the technique, so you'll want to follow the instructions pretty closely. Start by buffing and filing your nails, then apply a thin, even layer of the included base coat. Then, dip your nail into the powder, and sweep a layer of the activator liquid over the top. From there, you can apply another swipe of base coat followed by the activator over the top, or if the color isn't intense enough, follow the second layer of base coat with the dipping powder again.
Once the color has hardened, take a nail buffer or file, and aggressively work it over the top to remove the bumps. Trust us on this one—we weren't as intense with our file the first time around, and the finished texture wasn't exactly what we were anticipating. After smoothing over your nails, a final coat of the activator followed by the top coat will seal in your handiwork. Your nails should be dry immediately, and when they do start to wear (which shouldn't be for a few weeks), you can remove them the same way as you would a gel manicure.
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Pick up a set for yourself now at ulta.com, priced at $35.