Nail prep is as, if not more important as the actual dip application. Skimping out on nail prep can ruin your perfectly dipped nails or only have them last you a few days instead of the average 3-5 week period. So how exactly should you be prepping your nails for dip powder?

Keep reading to find out!

What is Dip Powder?

Nail dipping powder is a manicure system that uses acrylic-based powder to coat the nails with a hard, cement-like coloring that lasts weeks longer than regular nail polish. The polymers in the powder polymerize (bond) together to create that hard, long-lasting finish that we all know and love.

Dip powder isn’t just a dip and go. You need to take a few before and aftercare steps in order for your manicure to last, most importantly, nail prep.

Although both dip powder and acrylic powder are acrylic resin-based, they aren’t exactly the same thing. Learn more about the difference between dip and acrylic powders.

What are the Best Nail Dip Powders?

Fairy Glamor is a family-owned small business located in Texas that creates artisan-quality 2-in-1 acrylic and dip powders for people like you all over the world. Our powders are long-lasting, MMA-free, vegan, cruelty-free, and made with love for everybody.

We currently have over 150 colors available in our dip and acrylic powder catalog. Be sure to check back often as we’re always creating new formulas, and consider becoming a member of our subscription box for two limited-edition dip/acrylic powders every month!

What is Nail Prep?

Exactly what it sounds like! Preparing your nails for the dip powder, AKA nail prep for short, is a series of necessary steps that allow the dip powder and liquids to stick to the nail successfully. This reduces potential peeling, chipping, and overall damage to both the natural nail and dip powder.

How do I Prep My Nails?

Filing the thumb nail

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Nail handwashing brush
  • Cuticle pusher
  • Cuticle remover (optional)
  • Nail scissors/clippers 
  • Nail file
  • Lint-free wipe (ideally)/cotton ball/clean paper towel
  • Rubbing alcohol/nail dehydrator
  • Brush (if using nail dehydrator)


  1. Begin by washing your hands with soap and water, making sure to scrub under the nails with a nail brush. Next, dry your hands very thoroughly and ensure there is no soap residue or water left on or around the nails.
  2. Apply cuticle remover and wait for it to take effect (optional).
  3. Push the cuticles back and cut them, if needed. If you choose to clip your cuticles, practice extreme caution to avoid hitting the blood supply. You cannot put dip powder over an injured nail.
  4. Cut your nails to your desired length and file them to the shape you would like.
  5. This is one of the most important steps: carefully rub the nail file over the tops of your nails to remove the shiny top layer; this helps the Bond&Base stick to the nail and ensures a long-lasting mani. You do not want to overdo this, as your nails will become very sensitive if too many layers are removed.
  6. Rub off the nail dust with a rubbing alcohol-soaked lint-free wipe (ideally), cotton ball, or paper towel. You can also use a brush to remove the nail powder and then paint on a thin layer of nail dehydrator, carefully avoiding the cuticle and surrounding skin.
  7. Continue with the rest of the dip nail process!

Need help with the next steps of your dip application? Be sure to view our “How to Apply Dip Powder Nail at Home” blog for top tips and tricks.

Quick Recap

  • Dip powder is an exciting and popular way to make your manicure stay put
  • Proper nail preparation is what allows your dip nails to be long-lasting; Fairy Glamor Powders are guaranteed to last 3-5 weeks when you prep the right way.
  • The most critical step of nail prep is buffing the nails. If you don’t buff at all or file too little, the Bond&Base is unable to stick to the nail properly as the top layer of the nail is naturally oily and too slick, and the dip powder will begin to chip or peel off within a week or two. On the other hand, if you buff too much, your nails might start to ache as you remove too many layers of the natural nail.
  • Are your nails hurting, but you’re sure that you’re not buffing too much? View our help guide as to why your nails hurt after dip powder.
October 12, 2021 — Fairy Glamor

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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.