Dip vs No Chip Nails | The Differences

When it comes to getting a manicure, there are many options: Gel or no chip nails, acrylic nails, extensions, press-on nails, and dip powder nails.

However, knowing how each manicure style differs is the key to making the right choice for your natural, polished, or fake nails.

This article will help you identify dip and no-chip nails. Let’s dive right into the short answer below!

Dip vs No Chip Nails

The primary difference between dip and no-chip nails is their method of application. Both nails differ in their longevity, costs, and ease of removal. Dip nails are a hybrid between actual and fake nails, requiring dipping the nails into dip powder without UV curing. In contrast, no chip nails are gel polish brushed on natural nails and cured under UV light.

The evolution of the nail and beauty industry increases manicure styles. We have dip nails on board with its promise of longevity without UV curing.

Could this be the manicure answer to the UV concerns of no-chip nails? Are they the same? How can we tell the difference between dip vs no chip nails?

Below is a table to show the difference between dip and no-chip nails at a glance.

a dip powder nail set

Dip vs no chip nails comparison table

Dip ManicureNo chip Nails
Last about 3 weeksAlso last about 3 weeks
It does not give an ultra-smooth finish It gives an ultra-smooth finish 
The lack of UV light makes it somewhat healthier.The presence of UV light is a health risk.
It is easier to remove.It is not easy to remove.

Now that you have familiarized yourself with a bite-size version of dip vs no chip nails in 2023, it’s time to consider them in detail by analyzing the differentiating metric with their explanations.

Differentiating MetricDip ManicureNo Chip Nails
Application They are applied by dipping your nails into an acrylic powder or brushing the powder on your nails, sealing with an activator polish between dips and air drying.They are applied like regular polish by brushing colored gel liquid onto the nails (natural or press-on) in a progressive sequence and cured under UV light for 45 seconds and LED light for two minutes.
Curing or drying They are air-dried by the action of the activator polish used to coat the final acrylic powder coverage.They are cured with UV or LED lamps that activate the photoinitiators in the gel polish and turn them into hard polymers.
Longevity or lasting power They last up to 3 weeks and can stay on for 4 weeks with proper care because of their glue-based resin.They last for about two weeks and can stay on for three weeks with proper care.

They are thicker and more difficult to remove because of their acrylic multi-layered nature and staying power.They are easier to remove than dip nails, especially once the top layer has been filed down. 
Safety and hygiene Dip nails are considered safer for health because of the absence of UV light.
Dip nails are considered quite unhygienic because clients use a common dipping pot which could lead to infections.
The presence of UV light raises some health concerns about no-chip nails being unsafe.
No chip nails are considered more sanitary and less prone to infections as sharing common tools is controlled.
Cost and time They cost about $5-$10 more than no-chip nails because they tend to last a bit longer and require fewer salon visits. 
When done by professionals, the procedure takes up to 45 minutes from start to finish.
No chip nails cost about five to ten dollars less than dip nails and take about 45 minutes for the entire procedure.

If you want to have a combination of these 2 types of polish, you can put gel polish over dip powder, just need to follow my guide!

putting gel top coat on dip powder

Merits and Demerits of Dip vs No Chip Nails

Here are tables showing some advantages and disadvantages of dip nails compared to no-chip nails.

Advantages vs Disadvantages of Dip Manicure

They do not require UV light for curing. Instead, they air dry, making them more natural.The procedure requires dipping in a communal powder pot which is unsanitary and can predispose people to bacteria and fungal infections.
They are super durable, lasting up to one month without chipping.Prolonged wear, running for up to one month, can wear out or damage your natural nails.
The acetone used for removal can cause nail dehydration.

Advantages vs Disadvantages of No Chip Manicure

The procedure is neat and individualistic, with little or no sharing.They do not last longer than three weeks, even with good application and proper care.
UV or LED curing shortens turnaround time compared to air drying.UV light could be harmful to health.
Its shorter staying power allows for quick removal, which allows your natural nails frequent recovery space.Acetone used for removal can cause nail dehydration.

Fact: People with oily nail beds are naturally prone to nail chipping. As a result, their gel polish may not last up to two weeks. But if done right, they can keep their gel nails from lifting and will last longer.

What Are Dip Nails?

a nail technician doing dip powder nails

Dip nails are also known as signature nail systems or SNS nails. They are a type of manicure achieved by creating layers of acrylic powders and sealed with an activating solution made of cyanoacrylate (the active ingredient in super glue) and allowed to air dry. This creates a hybrid solid lasting up to one month without chipping. 

Dip powders are suitable for natural nails and other artificial manicures like acrylic nails and even gel-X nails

Fact: Dip manicures tend to last longer than other manicures because the dip powders are bound by cyanoacrylates—a family of active solid adhesives.

What Are No Chip Nails?

a woman drying her gel nail

No chip is the same as gel nails because they involve the application of a base coat followed by two coats of colored gel polish, finished with a top coat and allowed to cure under UV or LED light. They generally last for three weeks and can stay up to four weeks when properly applied and cared for.

No chip nails are unique because they are applied like regular nail polish yet last longer with better shine and are flexible enough to mimic your natural nails. They are made of heavy monomers and photoinitiators, which, when activated by light, give rise to solid, glossy polymers.

Final Thought

Dip and no-chip nails are long-lasting manicures. Even though they are different, there is no telling which is better. It all comes down to personal preference and what you want to achieve with your nails.

Dip nails will be better if you want something almost permanent while no chip nails are better if you want something as close as possible to your natural nails.