Sunday, September 13, 2015

"Tip & Dip" Systems

Every 5 years or so, nail dip systems pop back up.  This year its Signature Nails Systems (SNS) and Dip It. Sally Beauty sells their ASP system. Star nail has their So Fine system. When I was active in the business it was Backscratchers Extreme and Glitz and Glamour.  There are many, many other brands and they have been around at least since the early 80's (when it was know as a "French Dip" nail)- no matter what SNS (or any other brand) tries to sell you, this is not a new type of system!

These systems are often known within the industry as "Tip & Dip" systems because the process is just that - apply tip and then apply adhesive and dip the nail into a powder.  They are great for women who have become allergic to traditional acrylic since they are not chemically the same as traditional acrylic, natural nail repairs and "temporary" nails for proms and such.  They are easily and relatively quickly removed by soaking in acetone.

This system is not an acrylic system.  It is closer to wraps than liquid and powder acrylics because it is a resin based system.  You could consider it a hybrid of wraps and acrylics since the the main components are resin adhesive, like a wrap, and a fine inert powder, like acrylic.   I like to point out that the powder is inert because it does not have any additives in it like acrylic powders, which means you would not be able to use it with monomer.  Likewise, it is not a good practice to use traditional acrylic powders with this type of system as you cannot predict how the additives would react with the resin or resin accelerator.  Likewise, if you mix systems you cannot guarantee the outcome - yellowing, cracking, heat spikes and allergic reactions are all possibilities.

Generic steps:

  1. Sanitize your clients hands and PREP the nail
  2. Apply a base layer of resin adhesive
  3. Apply a tip, if desired. Blend if a natural tip or just remove shine if a white tip.
  4. Apply a layer of resin and tip the nail into powder; brush off excess powder
  5. Apply another layer of resin and dip again; brush off excess powder
  6. Apply last layer of resin and spray or brush on resin activator.
  7. File and finish nails.


Pros of Dip Systems

  • Easy to apply
  • Easy to learn
  • Fast application
  • Very thin


If they have been around so long, why aren't they more popular? (Cons)
As a resin based system, dip systems have similar "cons" to wrap systems.
  • Resins are simple polymers and not very water or solvent resistant. 
  • They have a tendency to become brittle and yellow over time and develop spider cracks after a couple of fills.  (This is why many techs recommend them only for "temporary" applications.)
  • Can be cloudy or grainy looking if you use the wrong powder (like regular acrylic powder) or do not brush off excess powder.
  • Can be unsanitary if clients all dip in the same tub of powder.  This can be overcome by putting only the powder you will use for your client in a small dish and when done, throw away and leftover.
  • Nails can be flat.  A more experienced tech can learn to build up the nail in layers and sections but this negates the "ease of application" in the pros section.
  • Hard to re-balance a French tip
  • Not as strong as gel or acrylic.
  • Often seen as an "unprofessional" product

Backscratchers Extreme Video