Dip nails can be a fun and easy way to DIY-ing a long-lasting at-home manicure. For those who have never attempted dip nails before, don’t worry! There’s a learning curve, but it’s quick to catch on if you follow all the instructions. However, many of you are probably wondering… do I need a UV light for dip powder?

First of all, let’s talk about the dip powder process.

How Do You Do Dip Powder Nails?


  1. Lightly buff your nail beds; this step is way more important than you think and is key to having your nails last for weeks
  2. Apply nail dehydrator (or rubbing alcohol). Wipe away excess moisture. Any extra oil left on the nail will keep the dip powder from sticking to your nail, leaving it to peel off your nail
  3. Apply dip base liquid to your nail (click here for our dip liquids set, which is currently on sale!)
  4. Dip your finger at a 45-degree angle into the powder
  5. Leave your finger for 2-5 seconds
  6. Slowly lift your finger out of the jar
  7. Brush away excess powder
  8. Repeat steps 3-7 to apply a second layer of dip powder
  9. Apply a nail activator to seal the powder
  10. Apply your dip top coat (gel or not gel)

Click here for a complete guide to applying dip nails the easy way.

Why Your Top Coat Matters

The short answer is no; you don’t need a UV light for dip powder nails.

HOWEVER, depending on the top coat you use, you might need a UV light. For example, when using a glossy gel top coat (sold in our dip liquids set), you will need a UV/LED nail lamp to cure the gel. You can go without a top coat, but that will reduce the lifespan of your dip powder and will prevent the manicure from looking beautifully glossy. You can also use a matte top coat, which doesn’t require UV light. We don’t recommend using an air-dry shiny top coat designed for standard nail polish on top of dip nails because the chemicals between the two could interact weirdly.

For more information on getting your dip nails shiny, click here to read our guide.

How Does a UV Light Work?

There are three kinds of nail lamps; a UV lamp, an LED light, and a UV/LED lamp.

If you’ve ever tried making resin crafts before, you know that a UV lamp is essential. Most gel polishes, including the top coats, are resin-based and need some kind of UV rays to harden.

There are tiny molecules in gel top coats called photoinitiators, which are signaled to start the polymerization (hardening) process once they touch UV wavelengths by converting the light to energy.

A LED nail lamp is highly similar, except they emit much thinner and more powder UV rays, leaving the gel polishes to cure much faster than a standard UV lamp. Unfortunately, this lamp is usually more expensive, and the light can sometimes feel hot on your skin.

A UV/LED lamp is the best of both worlds by using both UV and LED technologies. It works faster than a standard UV nail lamp but doesn’t feel like it’s cooking your hand the way an LED light does.

I Heard Something About UV Lamps and Cancer Being Connected. Is That True?

There currently haven’t been any studies done on a connection between nail lamp usage and skin cancer; however, many scientists theorize that there could be a cause-and-effect thing going on.

The UV and LED nail lamps both emit a special kind of UV rays, called UVAs, which have been connected to skin cancer. So, theoretically, UV and LED nail lamps could cause skin cancer long-term.

But, here’s the good news. More recently, there has been this super cool new finger-less anti-UV glove that you can put on to protect the skin on your hands while still curing the polish on your nails. You can click here to visit a product listing on Amazon*.

Quick Recap

  • Dip powder is a fun way to upgrade your at-home manicure. Click here to view our entire collection of high-quality dip and acrylic powders
  • Do you need a UV nail lamp? Yes and no; yes if you’re using a gel glossy top, no if you’re using an air-dry matte top, or no top coat at all
  • There is a difference between UV, LED, and UV/LED nail lamps, but UV/LED are the best
  • There might be a link between nail lamps and skin cancer, so be sure to cover your skin whenever possible. A quick flash cure every few weeks will not hurt you


*We are not affiliated with Amazon or ManiGlovz. Our goal is to help people by recommending things we genuinely think will help!

September 21, 2021 — Sydney Howe

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Fairy Glamor designs unique 3-in-1 dip and acrylic nail powders in Galveston, Texas. We're a 100% family owned business that was founded in 2020 and went from making handmaking powders in our spare bedroom to shipping out of a big warehouse. We believe in both quality and affordability--that's why our powders are used by both professional nail technicians and in homes. Our unique colors are hand-designed to give you gorgeous manicures that'll make your nails feel magical.