Our manicurists get this question asked more and more often, so we decided to publish our take on the Q: Is SNS (dipping powder manicure) better for your nails?

First and foremost, what is SNS or dipping powder manicure?

Vi - professional nails technician is answering about SNSVi, Figaro London’s chief nail technician: Dipping powder manicures are made with a colour powder and glue. The combo creates a long-lasting bond on your nails. First, a layer of glue is applied onto the cleaned nail plate, followed by dipping your nails into the colour powder of your choice. Then again, a layer of glue, and a layer of colour powder. An activator is then brushed on the top two or three times which will settle the layers, and the final step is the shiny top coat.

Got it. So, is it better for your nails or no?

Vi: There is no UV lamp involved, so in that sense, you may think it’s better. But on the other hand, here’s what we nail technicians keep experiencing when clients come for a removal service:

As per usual, we use acetone to soak off the layers, however the strong glue (which is a kind of resin) can prove to be quite difficult to remove even with the most professional tools and acetone. The nails have to be soaked in acetone much longer than with the usual shellac / gel polish. A 30-minute soak twice a month could significantly weaken and damage your nails over time. The last thing a manicurist wants is to damage the nail plate therefore, we are not a big fan of the SNS dipping powder manicure and we don’t do it here at Figaro London.

We’re sure it depends on the product itself as well, but generally speaking, in the long run, from what we’ve seen so far, we feel that it might do more harm than good.

The Zoe Report also published a very concise and impartial article recently on this question. Here’s what they said:

[In essence, dipping powder] is basically just glorified acrylic, which is notoriously toxic and damaging to the nail plate […]. Acrylics and dip powder nails share the same base ingredient, acrylic ester polymer, just in different forms. One study on rabbits and guinea pigs in the International Journal of Toxicology found that in high concentrations (to be clear: higher concentrations than would be on your nails), the ingredient is carcinogenic and has the potential to cause “dermal irritation” and “nasal irritation.”

You can read their full article here if you want to dig deeper.

So the verdict: we will stick to the good old gel polish / Shellac manicure. And when it comes to nail extensions, we use only gel, no acrylics. Our special product range requires the least amount of time to be cured under UV light, therefore we believe it’s a safe win-win.

When clients come and see us for a removal service after a dipping powder manicure, we always suggest to take a little break from shellac and gels, and instead opt for a nourishing Japanese manicure. What it does is it pumps nutrients deep into the nail plate, making your nails shine for weeks to come and allowing your nails to recover a little while they still look naturally pretty:

Japanese manicure by Vi, our nail technician

Japanese manicure by Vi, our nail technician

We understand there are so many different interpretations of what’s good and what’s bad for your nails, which is why we hope this helps you to make an informed decision on what the right choice is for your particular circumstances.

For more information about Vi, our professional chief nail technician, check out here


Figaro London

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