The Truth About Dip Powder Manicures

And Places to Find Them in NYC

To powder or not to powder. Friends of Friends on the 411 on the manicure trend.

By Rachel Chou

The latest manicure trend sparkling on your newsfeed, powder manicures boast longevity sans toxic fumes and UV light. The powder manicure is a lasagna of base coats and finely milled acrylic powder. After the first layer of base coat, your nails are dipped into the powder color of your choice, and this process is repeated until the color is opaque. The finishing touch on your powder manicure is a layer of sealant to keep everything intact and lasting for two to four weeks.


Powder manicures forfeit the use of liquid monomer, so there are no toxic smells or fumes. This is better for you and your nail technician! They also do not contain methacrylate, found in traditional acrylics and gel polish, which weakens and softens nail beds. Another plus, the powder manicure process leaves out the use of UVA rays, which is what cures gel manicures and photoages your skin, i.e., can lead to skin cancer. They are easy to remove (wrap or soak in acetone), yet very strong and reportedly last longer than gel or acrylics.

To Be Cautionary:

While advertising claims powder manicures are safe, organic, and natural, the damage to your natural nail is actually equal to that of acrylics and gel manicures. Powder, acrylic and gel manicure materials are all made up of an acrylic base, which in essence, is a chemical and not at all “natural” or “healthy.” The powder version actually often contains MMD, which is reportedly extremely harmful to natural nails and banned in NYC, which is why many popular nail salons don’t have dipping powder manicures on their menu.

That said, if you’re a gel or acrylic fiend and like the idea of a long lasting manicure but don’t like the idea of skin cancer and toxic fumes, powder nails may be your best choice. Toxic fumes are actually a health problem for nail technicians; in 2015 The New York Times released an expose on the alarming rates of miscarriages and cancer that nail technicians face, working in an environment where they are constantly exposed to toxic chemicals and fumes. You can read more here.

Here are some places where you can find dipping powder manicures,  although you may want to find out if the brand this salon is using contains MMD.

Eva Nails and Spa

Address: Lexington Ave 53rd street, Midtown East.

This salon has a large selection of powders, and they will test your chosen color to make sure you like it before doing the rest. They are meticulous and also give you a shoulder massage. Just the manicure is $39 and the mani and pedi package is $57. They only take cash tips!

Pick A Pretty Color

Address: 2nd Ave between 82nd and 83rd Yorkville.

Good service, friendly staff, clean place and free massages with your manicure. What more could you need? Manicures are $40. Francis and Jennifer have gotten the most love on Yelp, so you may want to get them to tend to your nails!

Beauty Cutie Nail & Spa

E 14th St b/t 2nd Ave & 3rd Ave East Village

Detail oriented, meticulous, friendly. These ladies pass as quality candidates in my imaginary job interview. With 100 powder colors, there are so many colors to choose for any occasion. And it’s $40 for the manicure.