The 9 Best Dip Powder Nail Kits, According to Beauty Editors

Long-lasting, shiny, chip-free nails coming right up.

women with shiny red nails and thick ring holds a bag
(Image credit: Getty Images, Vanni Bassetti)

When I need a DIY alternative to a great manicure, dip powder nail kits are my go-to. If you're not familiar, dip powder manicures utilize finely milled powders, top coats, base coats, and adhesives to create a set of nails that lasts longer than a regular manicure and are just as durable as acrylics. While you certainly can go to the salon for a dip manicure, the best dip powder nail kits will come out just as well—and save you the damage.

Now don't get me wrong, an at-home dip manicure does require a bit of reading, patience, and trial and error—not to mention the process of removing your dip nails. But on the flip side, doing it at home is cost-effective, keeps your hands out of the LED light, and decreases your dry time by half. And yet, it gets better: "On average, the dip manicure is going to last you two to three weeks," says KISS global ambassador and nail artist Gina Edwards

What to Look For in a Dip Powder Nail Kit

Powder Density 

“Make sure the powder is fine,” says Edwards. A finely milled powder is going to ensure that when all is said and done your nails don’t feel—or look—too thick or heavy. 

Color Selection 

A handful of dip kits are going to come with one color and one color only, which is A-ok if you’re a creature of habit. But if you find yourself switching things up on the regular, or like a little gradient action with your manicure, you might want to consider a more comprehensive dip nail kit. 

Essential Tools 

At a bare minimum, every dip kit should come with a handful of polish jars, including a base coat, an activator, and a top coat. Then, of course, you’ll need the dip powder color. Anything after that, while appreciated, is extra. Your kit might also come with a dip powder remover or eraser, a nail file, or a cuticle clipper.

How to Apply

“Dip powders are made up of a polymer (powder) and Resin (glue) to create a bond on the nail which comes in a variety of colors,” says Edwards. Here, she walks us through exactly how to create a salon-worthy dip manicure. 

  1. Apply the base coat to freshly buffed nails.
  2. Dip your nails one by one into the pigmented nail powder container of your choice. Be sure to coat the nail evenly with the product.
  3. Tap away or brush away the excess pigmented powder between each application for a smooth and even coat.
  4. Repeat the dipping process on each nail for two rounds before coating your nails with a clear dip powder for more even layers. (Pro tip: “Don’t over dip,” says Edwards. “Twice should be sufficient but three times is fine as well. When you over dip and apply too much product it breaks down quickly and chips off.”)
  5. Using the activator polish, apply a generous coat and let it settle for two to four minutes.
  6. After your nails dry, buff and gently file for a smooth finish.
  7. Apply another coat of activator, and wait for two to four minutes again.
  8. Once your nails are dry, seal the deal with the top coat and follow up with your favorite cuticle oil.

Best At-Home Dip Powder Nail Kits

Meet the Expert

Gina Edwards

Gina Edwards, a native New Yorker, first discovered her passion for nails during her studies as a psychology major to help pay for college expenses. It was there her personality shone, her eye for detail developed, and her love for nail art consumed her. Her clientele began to grow, she secured credits with top magazine and commercial clients, which led Gina into other areas of the industry. Gina has left her finishing touch on the nails of celebrities such as Taraji P Henson, Priyanka Chopra, Rosie Huntington Whiteley, Tiffany Haddish, Gigi & Bella Hadid, Demi Lovato, Rita Ora and Mary J. Blige. Her work has graced the covers of US Vogue, Italian Vogue, Vogue Japan, Allure, Harper's Bazaar, Elle Magazine. She has been the global brand ambassador for Kiss products for many years and has led numerous fashion shows from Calvin Klein, Rebecca Minkoff, Alice and Olivia & Burberry to name a few. Gina continues to collaborate and forecast nail trends with brands in the industry.

Samantha Holender
Beauty Editor

Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and keeps up with the latest trends in the beauty space. She has previously written for Us Weekly, Popsugar,,, and Philadelphia Wedding. Follow her on Instagram @samholender.