Nailed It! Our intrepid writer signs up for a dip powder manicure.

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It’s not often that I leave the house without my fingernails painted. From classic French manicures to foiled metallic gels, I thought I had experimented with everything — until I discovered long-
lasting, chip-free dip powder manicures.

A manicure that lasts a full three weeks seems like a beauty miracle. I don’t know about you, but I always feel like I’m dealing with chipped and cracked polish just days after leaving the salon. That’s why I was excited to try out a new manicure hack — dip powder nails — that supposedly lasts longer than a gel mani.

I took a little trip to the Red Door Salon, nestled in the cozy Village of Cross Keys, where I met resident nail technician Rashaun Bradley and tried her 50-minute ANC acrylic application service, short for the Amazing Nail Concepts brand.

Upon arrival, I received a soft, heated neck pillow, infused with notes of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, which made for a most relaxing welcome. Bradley also used a soothing plant-infused olive oil body spray on my hands and nails that was both fresh and hydrating.

Bradley wanted to start with a “blank canvas,” which in the nail world typically means soaking off old gel polish. She then gently wrapped my hands in a warm towel before the polish application. In the dip powder manicure process, the color comes from a pigmented powder that is odorless and infused with calcium and vitamin E to nourish and protect nails. Instead of using UV rays to seal in your polish, like your traditional gel manicure, the powder sticks to an adhesive, and there is zero drying time, Bradley says.

“The dip powder process is actually what we call in the industry a powder-and-glue resin, so it uses resin and a polymer powder for each layer, and that is what gives you your pigment and stability,” Bradley explains. “It goes over the actual nail, and it can last a lot longer than gel, roughly 20-21 days. It’s a good system if you are looking for protection on your nail or if your nails are cracked and damaged. It’s flexible, and it’s not as hardening as acrylic, so it’s a little bit more forgiving.”

The trend isn’t exactly new per se — it’s been around for years — but the world of social media is quickly glamorizing the process and helping it stage a comeback.

My manicure started with clear base polish that Bradley applied to my nails before dunking each finger into a small container of powder. She softly tapped away the excess powder, and what remained was sealed with a specialized polish. This process was repeated a few times for each nail until my nails resembled my selected shade, “Strawberry Daiquiri.”

I enjoyed watching the dipping in action — it’s one of those beauty hacks that actually is fascinating. As for the removal process, there’s no quick way to remove these easily at home, Bradley says.

“To remove, we break the seal, and then we can soak it all off with a cotton swab and also with aluminum foil,” she says. “We use a little bit of heat to speed up the process with a warm towel that will help rev up the process a bit. We try to do as little damage to the nail plate as we can.”

In the end, my nails looked glossy and strawberry — and I was a happy customer.

Shopping List:
The products used in my manicure include Elizabeth Arden: Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant; Villa Floriani Olive Oil Plant-Infused Body Spray; and CND Solar Oil & Cuticle Conditioner Drops.

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