Dip System Vs Acrylic

As a Beauty Therapist that is in training and working with nails on a daily basis, I get asked a lot of questions.

I like the give peer-reviewed facts so I spend a lot of my time reading research papers about a lot of different topics in the beauty industry. One of the most commonly asked questions whilst sitting at the nail station in my studio is “What’s the difference between the dip system (SNS as it’s commonly known) and acrylic, and is one better than the other?” The short answer in my opinion and experience (remembering that whilst I am newly qualified as a nail tech – my natural nails haven’t seen the light of day in 10 years), is no. Neither one is better than the other as far as health for natural nails goes. Whilst the dip system doesn’t seem to weaken the natural nail as much as acrylic, it comes with its own issues and risks. So what’s the difference? Really there is very little difference between the two. The Dip System uses a polymer much like resin or glue that is painted onto the nail (and or tips if that is what the client opts for), and then the nail is dipped into a pot of fine-grade acrylic/silica-based powder. This is usually done 2-3 times for a good product build-up and strength. It is a strong product but bonding doesn’t last quite as long as acrylic.

Traditional acrylic nails utilise an acrylic monomer – which is a chemical fluid that binds and holds the acrylic together. It’s strong like the Dip system but bonding lasts anywhere between a week to two weeks longer. So that classic “I smell a nail salon nearby” smell… yep that’s the monomer. Both systems have their pros and cons.

But here are the main ones.

Dip System Pros

Quick application.
No smell.
Lots of available coloured powders.
A little (not a lot) better for the natural nail as there is no monomer and the product has a slight breathability.

Dip System Cons

✘ Doesn’t last nearly as long as acrylic as like all resin glues it deteriorates over time.
✘ Usually you need to soak off the product at every session if you want different colours.
✘ A lot of product wastage.
✘ Often the top coats used loses their lustre.
✘ Messy to apply.
✘ Not easily adaptable for deformed or misshapen natural nails.
✘ Often times at salons there is a high chance of contamination due to dipping multiple hands in pots without cleaning clients’ fingers/nails first.

Acrylic Pros

Lasts and bonds longer.
Clean application (if the salon adopts the correct practice).
Not a lot of product wastage.
Easily adaptable to correct natural nail flaws.
Can be refilled without starting over.

Acrylic Cons

✘ No breathability.
✘ Needs colour polish or shellac.
✘ More costly.
✘ The monomer isn’t the most pleasant smell.
✘ Risk of skin overexposure due to being exposed to monomer from a poor or messy application.

Looking to book in to get your nails taken care of? Book an appointment with The Makeup Artisan in Byford or East Perth.