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What are SNS nails and how to DIY at home
The newest nail trend is here — and it's a gentler option.
Updated . What changed?
SNS nails have become popular as a low-maintenance alternative to traditional acrylics or gel manicures. Devotees swear by the chip-free finish that requires zero drying time. Not only is SNS better for the health of your nails, it lasts up to twice as long as regular gel polish.
If you’re unable to get to the salon, you can give yourself an at-home dip powder mani with just a little preparation and a few tools.
Top picks for at-home SNS nails
Kiara sky dip powder
Gel lab pro nail polish
Salon dip starter kit
How to do SNS dip nails at home
SNS kits contain everything you need for an at-home, long-lasting gel manicure. You can also buy products individually.
What you’ll need:
- SNS gel base
- SNS gel color
- SNS gel top coat
- SNS setting powder
- SNS sealer dry
First, you’ll want to make sure your nails are trimmed and shaped. File your nails to your desired shape, push back any cuticles and buff the top of your nail with the file to wear away any shine. You’ve probably noticed your nail technician doing this important step that allows the nail to grip the polish better.
Once your nails are prepped and you have your supplies, follow these steps from nine.com.au:
- Apply a thin layer of gel base on your nail, then dip it into the setting powder. Tap and brush off any excess powder. Repeat on each nail until you have the desired thickness.
- Apply another thin layer of base on your nail, and then dip your nail into the gel color. Tap and brush away any excess powder. Repeat on each nail as necessary to build color.
- Apply another base layer, then dip into the setting powder.
- Apply sealer dry to each nail.
- Wash your hands with water to remove the excess powder.
- Apply a thin layer of SNS Gel Top polish on each nail, brushing from left to right and taking care not to go over the same area twice. Let dry.
- Apply a second coat of SNS Gel Top polish to each nail.
- Allow your nails to dry for several minutes.
What is SNS?
SNS stands for Signature Nail Systems. It’s a branded powder-dipping system, accompanied by a brush-on, gel-based polish. The nail technician applies the polish to your nail, dips it in the powder and repeats the process.
SNS comes in an array of colors and shades and consists of benzoyl peroxide, titanium dioxide and acrylic ester polymer. These ingredients help strengthen your nails rather than wear them down.
How do SNS nails differ from acrylic or Shellac nails?
Quite a few differences set SNS apart from traditional polishes, starting with the fact that SNS nails rely on powder rather than layers of gel. Just a few of the benefits of ditching your old manicure for SNS:
- Less harsh on your natural nails
- Doesn’t require UV light to dry
- Typically requires less filing than other manicure techniques
- Gives off less fumes
- More resistant to chips and can last up to twice as long as acrylic or Shellac nails
Is SNS good for your nails?
Research has found as few as eight visits to a nail salon using a UV light can cause skin damage. While SNS is better for your nails than acrylic or Shellac, it isn’t all-around good for them either.
Even though no UV or LED light and less filing of the natural nail is involved, SNS nails still require a gel base and top coat, which can be damaging to nails. It’s also important to visit a trained nail technician to ensure minimal risk of infection and other skin issues.
How long do they last and how do you remove SNS nails?
SNS nails can last up to four weeks, but your nails will likely grow out before this. You may have to go in for a touch-up around the two- or three-week mark. Otherwise, you can opt to remove the rest of the SNS powder.
SNS is most effectively removed with acetone. Never try to peel off your SNS nails, as this can remove the top layer of your natural nails — causing them to become brittle and break. Another option is to go to your local nail salon to have your SNS nails removed professionally.
How to remove SNS nails
- Gently sand off the top gel layer. Don’t worry about removing any of the color beneath it.
- Soak your nails in nail polish remover for 10 to 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can soak cotton balls in acetone, place one over each nail then wrap the nail and cotton ball in aluminum foil.
- After 10 minutes, check one nail to see if the polish wipes away with a paper towel. If not, soak for another 10 minutes before wiping again.
How much does SNS cost?
Like all hair or beauty services, cost varies. Depending on the salon, you can expect SNS nails to range from $35 to $75 for a full set.
What does SNS look like?
Looking for more DIY nail products?
If you think you’d rather stick to standard nail polish, check out the top sites to buy nail polish online, or check out some of our favorite nail polishes below. You can also head to our beauty hub for more makeup and skincare reviews, news and deals.
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