Do You Need a UV Light for Dip Nails?

Hand in sweater and pink flowers with modern manicure nails. Female hand. Glamorous beautiful manicure. Manicure salon concept. Nail polish close up.
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Dip nails are a great nail method, particularly for DIYers. They’re fun and expressive, with mixed layers of powders and colors.

Do Dip Nails Need UV Light, as gel nails do? That depends on the topcoat. A gel topcoat would require UV or LED nail light but other methods would not.

You don’t have to go to a salon to get your dip nails. Instead, you can get your dip nails in the comfort of your home. Don’t worry if you’ve never attempted DIY dip nails before.

This article will walk you through the process of DIY dip nails without the use of a UV light.


What Exactly Are Dip Nails?

Dip nails, also known as SNS nails, are a nail technique that involves either dipping the nails into colored powder or brushing the dip powder onto the nails for a long-lasting effect.

How Does UV Light Function on Dip Nails?

To harden the nails, most salons use one of three nail lamps: an LED, UV, or UV/LED. These lamps are used to accelerate the hardening of gel polishes.

Gel top coats are composed of photo initiators, chemical molecules that can polymerize when exposed to UV rays. 

Both lamps function similarly, with minor differences in emission capacities. They convert the lamp’s light into energy, which hardens (polymerizes) gel and polishes it.

Top coats are fundamentally different than base coats.

Do Dip Nails Need UV Light?

Dip nails can be done without the use of a UV light. In fact, applying dip nails at home is simple and quick. However, some top coats must be subjected to UV light for proper curing.

For example, a glossy gel top coat requires curing with UV/LED light, whereas matte top coats won’t require one.

Using the glossy gel top coat without a UV/LED light is possible, but your dip powder will be short-lived and will not look glossy. 

Using the glossy gel top coat without a UV/LED light is possible, but your dip powder will be short-lived and will not look glossy. 

Note that you could conceivably cure gel nails with an LED Flashlight, but only special types of flashlight will work.

Can UV Light Cause Cancer?

Currently, no study has discovered a link between nail lamps and skin cancer. However, some people believe that the lamps emit cancer-causing UV rays.

If you are concerned about the cancer-causing UV rays emitted by nail lamps, you can buy anti-UV ray gloves  to protect your hands and skin while curing your nail polish with nail lamps.

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How to Get Dip Nails Without Using UV Light

If you want to dip your nails at home without using a UV light, the steps below will help.

Before you start, you’ll need a nail file, a dip powder kit (including a base coat, an activator, a top coat, and your favorite color dip powder), and nail remover (if you need to remove previous polish), and a nail buffer.

Step 1: Clean Your Nails

Shape your nails to your preference with a nail file.

Step 2: Buff Your Nails

Buff your nail top surface with the rough side of your nail buffer to remove the shine. This allows the powder to stay on your nails for a longer period. Warm water should be used to wash and dry your hands.

Step 3: Apply a Base Coat and Then Dust With Clear Powder

A base coat is a clear coat that aids in the adhesion of the powder to the nails. Apply a thin coat of polish to your nails, then dip your finger into the clear powder jar.

Before pulling your finger out, make sure that the powder in the jar has covered your entire nail. To remove excess powder, brush over the nails.

Step 4: Apply a Base Coat and Then Dip It Into Your Preferred Color Powder

Repeat step 3 with your preferred color powder, then repeat this step to make the coat thick and long-lasting.

Step 5: Use the Activator

Apply the activator on top of the powder. Because activators have a strong unpleasant odor, make the process as quick as possible.

Step 6: Shape and Buff Your Nails

The shape of your nails might have changed while applying the powder, so you should re-shape them using a nail file to give them a smooth finish.

Step 7: Finish With a Top Coat

Apply the top coat and leave it to dry for twenty seconds, then apply another coat and wait for 2 to 3 minutes. 


And there you go! You’ve just got your manicure without UV lights. Make sure to do your nails on a non-porous, stable flat surface. If you are doing it on a couch or bed, use a flat tray to avoid spilling products.

To avoid confusing the process, always finish working on one hand before moving on to the other. The nails can last two to three weeks if you follow the process carefully. 

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).