Acrylic nails have become immensely popular in recent years due to their durability, versatility, and ability to enhance the natural beauty of nails. The application process typically involves using a combination of liquid monomers and powdered polymers. Among the different types of polymers available, Poly Methyl Methacrylate (PMMA) and Poly Ethyl Methacrylate (PEMA) are widely used. However, PEMA polymers have gained recognition for their superior performance in acrylic nail powder application. In this article, we will explore the reasons why PEMA is considered a better choice than PMMA and why it matters when selecting an acrylic nail brand.

Understanding PEMA and PMMA Polymers

Poly Methyl Methacrylate (PMMA) and Poly Ethyl Methacrylate (PEMA) are both acrylic polymers, consisting of repeating units of methyl methacrylate and ethyl methacrylate monomers, respectively. These polymers possess excellent transparency, durability, and adhesive properties, making them ideal for acrylic nail applications. PEMA is more expensive to produce than PMMA, and has a lot of advantages over PMMA, including enhanced adhesion for up to 5 weeks, greater flexibility, reduced sensitivity, and easier workability. 

dip nail powder jars and liquids

Advantages of PEMA Polymers

  1. Enhanced Adhesion: PEMA polymers demonstrate superior adhesion to the natural nail bed. The ethyl methacrylate monomers in PEMA have a lower molecular weight than the methyl methacrylate monomers in PMMA. This lower molecular weight enables PEMA to penetrate the nail plate more effectively, creating a stronger bond between the natural nail and the acrylic product. The enhanced adhesion prevents lifting and chipping of the artificial nails, resulting in a longer-lasting manicure.

  2. Flexibility and Natural Appearance: PEMA polymers offer increased flexibility compared to PMMA. This flexibility allows the nails to withstand everyday stresses, reducing the likelihood of breakage or cracking. Moreover, PEMA provides a more natural appearance to the nails, as it closely mimics the flexibility and texture of natural nails. The nails appear thinner, more comfortable, and less bulky, enhancing overall aesthetics.

  3. Reduced Sensitivity: Another significant advantage of PEMA is its reduced potential for causing skin sensitization or allergic reactions. Ethyl methacrylate monomers have a lower irritation potential than methyl methacrylate monomers, making PEMA a safer option for individuals with sensitive skin or allergies. This ensures a comfortable and worry-free experience for both clients and nail technicians.

  4. Easy Application and Workability: PEMA acrylic powders have excellent workability, allowing nail technicians to create beautiful and intricate designs with ease. The fine particle size and smooth texture of PEMA powder enable effortless blending, sculpting, and shaping. Nail technicians appreciate the control and precision offered by PEMA, resulting in stunning nail art designs and flawless applications.

Why PEMA Matters for Choosing the Right Dip Nail Brand

Selecting the appropriate dip nail brand that utilizes PEMA polymers can significantly impact the overall quality and longevity of your manicure. Here's why it matters:

  1. Durability and Longevity: PEMA-based dip nail brands offer enhanced durability and longevity due to their superior adhesion and flexibility properties. By choosing a brand that utilizes PEMA, you can ensure that your manicure stays intact for an extended period, minimizing the need for frequent touch-ups or repairs.

  2. Aesthetics and Natural Look: PEMA-based products provide a more natural look and feel to your nails. The thin and flexible nature of PEMA acrylics ensures that your nails appear elegant, lightweight, and indistinguishable from natural nails. This enhances your overall appearance and boosts your confidence.

  3. Safety and Comfort: Opting for a dip nail brand that prioritizes PEMA polymers ensures a safer and more comfortable experience. The reduced risk of skin sensitization or allergic reactions associated with PEMA minimizes the chances of adverse effects on your skin and nails.

  4. Artistic Potential: PEMA-based dip nail brands offer excellent workability, allowing nail technicians to explore their artistic skills and create intricate designs effortlessly. Brands that emphasize PEMA polymers provide the necessary tools and resources for nail technicians to express their creativity and deliver stunning nail art.

applying acrylic nails

How do you know if a dip nail brand is PEMA or PMMA?

It's important to determine if the brand you're using contains PEMA over PMMA.

  1. Research the Brand: Start by researching the dip nail brand in question. Visit the brand's official website, social media platforms, or contact their customer support to gather information about the ingredients they use in their products. Many reputable brands proudly disclose the composition of their formulas and may specifically mention the type of polymers employed.

  2. Ingredient List: Examine the ingredient list provided by the brand. It is typically available on the product packaging or the brand's website. Look for keywords such as Poly Ethyl Methacrylate or Poly Methyl Methacrylate (PMMA). If PEMA is listed, it indicates that the brand utilizes PEMA polymers. Conversely, if PMMA is mentioned, it suggests the use of PMMA polymers.

  3. Online Reviews and Discussions: Explore online reviews and discussions related to the dip nail brand. Customers and nail technicians often share their experiences and insights regarding the composition of various products. Look for comments or reviews that mention PEMA or PMMA specifically. This can provide valuable information regarding the type of polymers used by the brand.

  4. Contact the Brand: If the information is not readily available, consider reaching out to the brand directly. You can contact their customer support via email or phone and inquire about the type of polymers utilized in their dip nail products. Most brands are responsive to customer inquiries and should be able to provide you with the information you need.

  5. Check Your Powder: You can easily tell the difference between PEMA and PMMA dip powders in person. PEMA powders are softer and apply a lot smoother, while PMMA powders are thick and more difficult to apply. Most 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 powders are PEMA based. PMMA only works for acrylic application and NOT dip nails.

Remember, it is crucial to gather accurate information before making any assumptions about the type of polymers used in a dip nail brand. The brand itself or reliable sources should confirm the presence of PEMA or PMMA in their products.

PEMA polymer fairy glamor jar of powder

Which Dip Powder Brands Contain the Higher-Quality PEMA?

Since PEMA is more expensive to produce than PMMA, you'll find that the more expensive, higher-end dip and acrylic brands are the better choice for your nails. Here is a list of U.S. dip brands that contain PEMA:

  1. Fairy Glamor
  2. Kiara Sky
  3. Revel Nail
  4. O.P.I
  5. Red Carpet

Which Dip Powder Brands Contain PMMA?

Since PMMA is cheaper to produce than PEMA, you can usually tell if a brand uses PMMA by how cheap the product is. Majority of the cheap acrylic powders on websites like Amazon and Ebay contain PMMA over PEMA and are not high-quality powders.


PEMA polymers have emerged as the superior choice for acrylic nail powder application compared to PMMA. The enhanced adhesion, flexibility, natural appearance, reduced sensitivity, and ease of application offered by PEMA make it an ideal option for acrylic nail enthusiasts. When choosing a dip nail brand, selecting one that incorporates PEMA polymers (like Fairy Glamor!) ensures a longer-lasting, aesthetically pleasing, safe, and comfortable manicure. By considering the benefits of PEMA-based products, you can make an informed decision and enjoy beautiful, durable, and flawless nails.

May 26, 2023 — Fairy Glamor
Tags: help

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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.