Dipping Powder Application & Instructions

Step 1: Gather your products and tools and prepare your area.

  1. Avoid spillage! Protect your surface from spills with a non-porous surface and a kitchen towel or lint-free cloth on top. Make sure you don’t put the powders or liquids where they might be knocked onto the floor.
  2. Lay out all kit liquid and Ellie Nail Dipping Powders contents on your protected area.
  • Put the liquids in order 1 thru 3.
  • Set the Brush Saver #4 to the side in case you need to soften or clean your brushes during or after application.

3. Choose your dipping powder colors.

  • Put the ones you are not using back in the box.

4. Prepare your tools. Arrange your tools and supplies in a logical order. Files, buffer, rubbing alcohol, lint-free wipes, nail polish remover, cotton balls or gauze pads, acetone and tin foil (for product removal), dust removing brushes, cuticle pusher, mechanical filing tools, nail primer, cuticle oil, hand lotion, cuticle oil, etc.

5. Gather any rhinestones or embellishments with their application tools (tweezers, etc.) if you’d like to include these in your nail dipping powder application.

Tip: The cleaner and more organized your work area, the better and faster your results.

Step 2: Prep Your Nails

  1. Fill or Remove? Make the decision between fill your nails or remove all products from your nail for a clean start. Follow the appropriate fill or remove instructions.
    • Fill: You can certainly make the decision to simply fill the growth area instead of removing the Dipping Powder Coating. This is often an excellent choice because it a. requires less time b. keeps nails healthier because you are not using harsh chemicals to remove products. Please note that you can also decide to fill acrylics instead of removing them when you first start applying Ellie Nail Dipping Powders. However, if you do fill over another type of base product, you have to consider the structure and growth of your nails. At some point or another, the differences in texture, brittleness and/or weight will determine how you apply your nail dipping powders and when you decide to fill or remove. Additionally, if you don’t want to remove old product, you might want to consider using silk, Build It Dipping Powder, or nail wraps to add strength as you transition. When you fill, make sure you file any rough edges, remove any excess residue or areas where there is potential for older product to lift. Be certain to expose any areas where air pockets might form. You do not want to trap air or moisture between product and the nail plate. If you are uncertain, err on the side of removing any old product from the nail plate.
    • Removal: The removal process is quite simple. Basically, you just have rough up the top coat with a nail file so that the acetone can best penetrate the old product. Next, dip a cotton ball in acetone, place it over your nail, wrap with aluminum foil and leave it to rest for about 10-20 minutes. After that, just start to gently wipe off the old product as you would old thicker nail polish. Near the end, you can gently buff off any remaining old product if you like. Given time with acetone, any product like acrylics, gels or dipping powders should come right off. Just remember: No peeling, picking, or tearing product off the nails! That’s a surefire way to take off layers of your nail along with the color, which will leave you with weak, brittle nails that could take a long time to recover.

The Materials You’ll Need for Removal Include:

        1. Acetone (100%)
        2. Aluminum foil – Cut into 10 small squares large enough to fit around your finger
        3. Cotton balls or gauze pads
        4. Nail file and buffer
        5. Cuticle Pusher

Detailed Instructions and Tips:

      • Begin by gently filing the uppermost layer of the nail and stop once the shine has been eliminated. The shine is really a strong seal that keeps out solvents, including acetone. You have to get rid of it. This filing breaks the seal at the top surface and ensures the coating is easier to remove.
      • In a bowl, soak ten cotton balls or gauze pads in the acetone, making sure they are saturated. Put a cotton ball or gauze pad on a nail and wrap the upper portion of the finger in a piece of the aluminum foil. Essentially, you are ‘soaking’ the nail in the acetone. Start with your thumbs because your thumbs are the biggest nails, and may need more time soaking than the rest of the fingers. The foil traps body heat to make the acetone work more effectively. Repeat for each finger.
      • Allow the nails to soak in the acetone for at least 10-15 minutes. Don’t rush or force the process! Let the acetone do its job completely! If you are worried about your nail health, don’t fret: Ellie Nail Dipping Powders won’t ruin your nails, but scraping and picking the manicure off will. Chipping away at your nails with a nail stick removes layers of your natural bed, weakening your nails. If your manicure doesn’t budge after 10 minutes, let your nails soak in polish remover a bit longer. You can change out the soaked balls and wipe of some of the old product. This often speeds things up on stubborn old products like acrylics and gels. To speed things up, use fresh acetone too. Don’t forget to add a moisturizer to under your nails and on your cuticles when you are all done applying new dipping powders. Acetone from old product removal can be harsh.
      • As a general guideline: Remove the foil and cotton, pressing down on the nail and sliding the cotton ball heavily off the nail. Remove the foil one nail at a time, wiggling it along with the cotton ball back and forth while you pull it off. The key is to push in the direction that the nail cells grow from the cuticle to the tip because natural nail cells are layered like shingles on the roof. This pressure helps to remove many layers of dip powder coating without damaging the nail. Do NOT pick, scratch, scrape, tear, or otherwise force the coating from the nail as it harms or damages the natural nail.
      • Soak more cotton balls in acetone and use them to gently rub (in a circular motion) any areas of the nails that have product remaining.
      • Wash the hands gently with soap and water to remove any remaining product.
  1. Clean and prep your nails well. After your fill is prepped or you have removed old product from your nails
    • Remove the old nail polish.
    • Push back your cuticles.
    • Make sure that any loose skin is cared for appropriately. Warning: Do not apply any products to opens wounds or breaks in the skin. Do not apply product to any nail surface that has an infection, fungus, or any skin or nail condition.
    • Slightly file the nail to make sure the bonding agent adheres best. Gentle is the preferred state. You just need to take the shine off your nail, not removing any layers.
    • If you have decided to use tips, this is when you would do so. After tips, smooth the surface with a nail file and remove residue.
    • File your nails to your desired shape. The edge must be well trimmed and smooth.
    • Immediately prior to application: Use an oil-free cleanser or rubbing alcohol on a lint-free wipe to remove oil, filing residue, and/or dirt from the nail bed. Make sure you clean under the nail too. Tip: If your nails tend to be oily, you might choose to use a nail primer prior to applying the Base Coat or tips. This is particularly important if you have naturally oily skin or if you moisture your hands frequently. We have to warn you that nail-polish removers have oils and lanolin, which can block adhesion of the Base Coat and dipping powders. If you’ve just used these to remove product from your nails, you must use rubbing alcohol to remove any residue and/or a primer to prep the nail plate. A nail cleaned and dried with alcohol and/or primer will retain your Dipping Powder much longer.

Step 3: Base Coat & Powder Application

When you’re applying Base Coat , think about four things:

            1. Bonding process: Think thin and dip gently and thoroughly.
            2. Structure of the nail: Thin near the cuticle and sides make the nails look natural and you avoid excess filing.
            3. Durability: The thinner the coverage, the better the chances of chips. You have to balance thinness of Ellie Nail Dipping Powder coverage with durability and strength. This is different for every person. Some people are naturally more active and tougher on their nails than others. They need to consider this and possibly add an extra layer because of their lifestyle. Others have naturally thinner or thicker nails. The thinner your natural nail, the more support and structure they’ll need. This is just common sense; and no one knows your nails better then you.
            4. Support your nails need: The longer the nails, the more support they need. You have to add extra layers to build support strength – especially in the middle of the nail.

Three Different Dipping Methods:

There are three dipping methods. Each produce equally great results. The choice is yours. Regardless of which one you choose, practice dipping first. WITHOUT APPLYING liquids (with completely dry nails) prior to your first application, dip your nails into the jars. This will make sure you understand how far into the jars you can dip and what amount of dipping will actually cover your nails. Trust us, this works!

  1. 45 DEGREE: In the first method, tip the jar at a 45 degree angle and dip your entire fingertip INTO the powder. Using this method takes a little practice and diligence. We highly recommend this method, however, it you don’t use a 45 degree angle, you run the risk of the base and powder ‘glumping’, causing wrinkles in the base/powder combination. If this happens, simply wipe the mixture from you nail immediately and reapply Base Coat. If it hardens, just file to the desired shape.
  2. ROLL: The second method has you put your finger ON TOP of the powder. In this method, most people dip and ROLL the nail back and forth gently to make sure powder sticks to the entire nail.
  3. POURING: The third method is gently POURING the powder onto the nail. These can be as simple as using a small spoon. This is very effective for ombre and nail designs too. You can control the amount of powder you apply or ‘dust’ onto the nails surface.

For each method this is how you will apply your Base Coat and Dipping Powders:

1st Base Coat

      • Apply a thin 1st Base Coat to 3/4nail plate – away from the cuticle.
      • Because the Base Coat formulation is extremely fast drying, ONLY DO ONE NAIL AT A TIME! Do the application of the Base Coat as quickly as possible.  Put the Base Coat brush immediately BACK INTO THE BOTTLE. It is best to coat one nail, PUT THE BRUSH FULLY BACK INTO THE BOTTTLE SO THAT IT DOESN’T DRY OUT or start to harden. If you do find that the brush has hardened, it’s not a big problem. You can use the Brush Saver. (See the instructions below.) After putting the brush quickly into the bottle, immediately dip your nail in your chosen color’s dipping powder jar. For each nail, dip the nail quickly and gently into the dipping powder jar. Tap off the excess powder. Leave your nail immersed in the jar dipped fully into the powder for a couple of seconds. Remove slowly and tap off excess powder immediately back into the dipping jar without touching the application. Doing only one nail at a time is especially important with Ellie Nail Dipping Powders because the Base Coat will dry fairly quickly in under 30 seconds! TIP: If you mess up a nail and bunch up the dipping powder, you can simply pat it down while it is still soft to flatten it, or you can wipe it off immediately and start that coat afresh. The dipping powders are very forgiving when softening.
      • Do the next nail, dip it gently into the powder, and continue doing ONE NAIL AT A TIME until you’ve dipped them all. NOTE: You don’t have to twist the Base Coat brush shut each time. We highly recommend you don’t twist it back into place until you have completed all layers of your Base Coat.
      • Tip: We suggest that you seal the very tip of the nail during the 1st dipping process by lightly stroking a small amount of Base Coat under the leading edge of the nail and dipping. This helps with water resistance and we find that it typically extends the time between applications. Make sure you do this lightly so as not to trap too much Base Coat and powder under the nail.
      • After you’ve dip all your nails, just circle back to the first ones to get rid of any excess powders. The key is to wait for 30 seconds for the powder and base coat to dry and use any small soft duster or makeup brush to remove the excess powder prior to applying your next coat. This is important: You want to avoid excess powder getting onto the Base Coat brush during the next application. TIP: If this occurs, immediately wipe off as much pigment as you can. Then dip the Base Coat Brush into the #4 Brush Saver. Wipe off any Base Coat and pigment with a lint-free wipe. Put the Base Coat brush into the Base Coat and continue.

2nd Base Coat

      • Apply your next layers/coats. For the thickness and strength you want, remember that it is preferable to apply several thinner coats both from an appearance, shaping and adhesion standpoint than thick coats. Most people like to apply 2 to 3 coats depending on whether they are filling or starting on virgin nails, or depending on the natural strength and durability of their own nails. If you nails are thinner, err on the side of strength and do three thin coats. Additionally, consider your lifestyle. If you are hard on your hands or very active, add another layer of protection and strength.
      • Because Ellie Nail Dipping Powders and Liquids are RAPID DRYING formulations, there is absolutely no need to wait more than 30 seconds before you apply the next layer/coat. Just make sure you brush off any excess/loose dipping powder from your nails between coats. Your nails don’t have to be all one color either! Simply dip into whatever colored powder jar you like as you work through your application. If you want four finger in one color and one in another, that’s great! Just make sure your dipping powder jars are opened and ready for dipping. NOTE: If you are doing a French Manicure or Artistic Creation, the next step will change, however, after you’ve completed your Artwork or French Design, you will continue again with the Ellie Nail Dipping Process with Step 4: File and Shape. French Manicure & Artistic Creations
      • Apply your 2nd Base Coat to the entire nail always keeping a hairline away from the cuticle, and dip. Make sure you examine your nails from the first dip to make sure you cover areas that you might have missed. This is easy to see. Use the exact same process you did on the first coat other than staying a little away from the cuticle so that you don’t create a ridge there. You want your application to look fairly natural and not thick. Please do thin layers!
      • Please check to make sure that you dipped properly by seeing if the powders adhered to all of the Base Coat. This is very easy to see because the dipping powders will only adhere to coated areas. If you missed a spot, simply catch it on the next coat.
      • Repeat the dipping process for every nail, building the look and structure you want. Multiple dipping ensures fuller coverage and a stronger finish for a chip-resistant manicure. If you especially desire extra strength or structure, you can repeat the Base Coat and dipping process adding layers for durability, support, and structure. We recommend 2 to 3 coats of Base Coat. Also, if you want strength consider a layer of Build It Dipping Powder as a second coat. Why would you consider this? Perhaps you have nails that are thin or brittle. You may have decided to add length with longer tips and need the additional support, etc. Perhaps you have ridges that you want to fill. All of these can be accomplished by layering and/or building strength.

Important Tips:

There’s a couple of secrets to applying any dipping products to your nails. The two most important are pretty straightforward and simple:

      1. Once is best: Use the least amount of brush strokes possible. Don’t go over and over your nail when applying Base or Top Coats. The liquid is self-leveling so you are working against the product’s best features when you a. apply too much b. keep the coating from free-flowing and leveling itself.
      2. Less is more: Make sure you don’t load excess liquid onto the brush or deposit too much liquid onto the cuticle area or the sides of the nails. If you put too much right next to the cuticle area, it will not look natural nor will it great as your nail grows because you’re going to cause a large ridge to form. Plus, you’ll make work for yourself because you’ll have to do more filing than if you’d applied thinner coats – especially near the cuticle. In fact, one of the things that we recommend is applying only one or two at more thin coats near the cuticle. If you are applying three coats, you don’t have to go all the way down to the cuticle on each coat. Rather do an extra thin coat or two than going thicker. Think thin! Thin dipping makes sure the liquids interact directly with more of the powders too. It makes perfect sense!
      3. Hardening is never good: You must be careful to never dry out the Base Coat brush. If you find that it has hardened, there is an easy fix provided in your kit. If you do dry it out accidently and the brush starts to harden, the liquid in the Brush Saver bottle will clean your #1 Base Coat brush. In fact, you are going to SWAP BRUSHES with the #4 Brush Saver. Try not to let your #1 Base Coat brush harden completely. The more you leave it out in the air, the harder it will become. So if it hardens, quickly wipe off any excess from the hardened #1 Base Coat brush with a paper towel or lint wipe. Remove the brush from the #4 Brush Saver bottle, remembering to wipe of any liquid from the Brush Saver brush before you swap it. The reason: You want to ideally put a dry-ish clean-ish brush into the Base Coat bottle before continuing with your application. Then put the hardened #1 Base Coat brush into the #4 Brush Saver bottle. This bottle’s liquid will clean the #1 Base Coat brush. You will not use this brush for the rest of your application. You will use the clean brush from the #4 Brush Saver bottle instead. BTW: They can stay swapped until the next time you harden a Base or Top Coat brush. Additionally, do the same if you harden the Top Coat brush. 😊

Step 4: File & Shape and Harden

If you’ve used dipping powders in the past, this step might be different for you. With Ellie Nail Dipping Powders, there is no need for activator for this step (as is the case with most competitors’ dipping powders). Our formulations are rapid dry and superior strength with the Base/Powder bond. You can apply activator if you want to harden them substantially before filing but you don’t need to do so. Simply wait a full two minutes for all your layers to harden/cure prior to filing and buffing.

Glitter Tip: For glitter, we recommend that you file and shape on the 2nd last coat, without applying activator, then apply a final glitter. If you file glitter, you dull it.

  1. File and shape the nail with your desired file, starting from rough grit to smoother buffers.
    • Shape the nail in a round, pointed, or square profile.
    • Contour the nail surface using your natural nail plate as your guide.
  2. When you’ve achieved the look, shape and contour you desire, buff the nail contour to a super smooth finish going from rough buff to glassy buff. We suggest using a buffing block. Note that the smoother the finish at this stage, the shiner your finished nails will look.
  3. Important: Inspect each nail to make sure not imperfections or ‘fuzzies’ are apparent. Wipe the clean and surrounding skin clean with rubbing alcohol on a lint-free wipe.
  4. When you are fully satisfied with the shape and cleanliness, it’s time to start the final stages. Apply #2 Activator over the entire nail. Repeat for every nail. The Activator was designed to further bind the Base/Powder combination allowing it form with the Top Coat, bind all three elements into a lacquered gloss. The Ellie Nail Activator is a highly specialized formula that creates an exceptionally beautiful and vibrant finished look.
  5. Let the #2 Activator air dry for approximately a full 2 minutes for each nail.

Step 5: Top Coat

  1. Apply your 1st layer of #3 Top Coat to each nail. Think thin – making sure not to ‘pool’ the Top Coat into the cuticle or side of the nail keeping a hairline away from the cuticle.
  2. Let the 1st Top Coat air dry for a FULL 2 minutes.
  3. Apply a 2nd Top Coat layer keeping a hairline away from the cuticle.
  4. Let the 2nd Top Coat air dry for a FULL 2 minutes.

Tip: By the time you’ve finished applying Activator to all your nails, you can save yourself a minute and a half! Simply start applying Top Coat to the nail you first Activated.

Warning: Please remember that both the Base and Top Coats are very strong bonding agents that dry rapidly. Try to expose them to as little oxygen as possible to avoid them drying out. Additionally, always take a minute to clean your bottle necks. Wipe the bottle neck threads with acetone on a lint free square ensuring no acetone goes into the bottle. This will prevent the liquids form bonding the bottle and brushes together, not allowing you to open them.

Step 6: Hydrate and Admire!

Use a cuticle oil to hydrate the cuticles and skin surrounding the nails. Wait a minute and massage into the skin. Use your favorite hand lotion to hydrate your hands. Then admire!