Dip Into a Mermaid Manicure!

Introduction: Dip Into a Mermaid Manicure!

Tired of over paying for an expensive manicure? Want a design and color that will actually last and protect your nails? Look no further! I do not have any background in cosmetology nor do I have the time to sit and paint my nails every day when one chips! But sometimes us working gals would like to feel good by looking good! With a little hunting online, a couple bucks, and a some practice its easy to do your own at home nail dip manicure!


This specific brand used is a 3 step dipping powder system.
(Disclaimer: this does take more than just 3 steps for end result.) There is the Base Coat (1) to bond the powder to the nail, the Activator (2) which cures and hardens the powder and the base, and last the Top Coat (3) to protect the design and have a beautiful glossy shine. Additional supplies needed: Nail files of different sizes and grit, nail trimmers, isopropyl alcohol (higher concentration the better I only had 50% on hand), lint free cloth, dip powders of desired color, large soft bristled brush, vinyl decals with with transfer sheet, precision craft knife, small to medium sized pain brushes, nail polish of desired color/brand and acetone.

Step 1: Someday I'll Be Part of Your World!

Lay a cloth down for your work area. Trim and file nails to desired length and shape. Be sure to file the top layer of the nail gently but enough to remove the shine. File the top, edges, and down towards the cuticle pushing it down as you file (any area not properly prepped could cause the dip to lift later on). Feel free to use a cuticle pusher or remover to get as close to the base as possible.

Step 2: Don't Get Cold Fins! Almost Ready to Start!

Wash your hands and try to remove as much debris and oils from hands and nails as possible. Be sure to remove all soap residue. Use isopropyl alcohol and a lint free cloth to cleanse and dry out the nail. Wipe from the base of the nail towards the tip. This step will allow for a long lasting manicure and prevent the nail from lifting. After cleansing with alcohol, try not to touch the top of the nails as this will add oils and prevent the base from adhering properly.

Step 3: Look at This Stuff Isn't It Neat!

Choose your desired color of dip powder. Use the Base Coat (1). Apply a thin and even coat starting approximately 1/4 cm from the cuticle of the nail and brushing towards the tip. By keeping a small gap at the cuticle for the first coat, it prevents the nail from looking bulky and reduces the risk of lifting. Before the Base dries, quickly dip the nail into the powder at a 45 degree angle. With your finger, tap off any excess back into the container of dip powder. Use a large soft bristled brush to gently remove any additional powder on the nail and finger.

Step 4: Into the Deep!

Repeat step 3, each time getting closer to the cuticle. By keeping each coat thin, neat, even, and avoiding contact with your skin, there will be less filing and shaping for you later.

Continue layers until desired color. I generally do 3 layers for strength and quality.

Step 5: Tough As Scales!

Apply Activator (2) liberally to full nail. Allow the product to dry for a minimum of 1 minute. This will accelerate the curing process of the powder and Base Coat.

Step 6: Be Shore of Yourself!

Instead of only a solid color you can achieve an ombre effect as well with dip powder!

Choose your colors of choice. I decided to use a teal for the tip and a light purple for the cuticle. Start with the Base Coat (1) same as before keeping a 1/4 cm gap near the cuticle. Then with a medium soft bristled paint brush, transfer the powder to the nail starting with a heavy coating at the tip and apply a lighter amount moving down towards the middle of the nail. Work quickly to avoid the Base Coat from drying. Try not to cross far past the middle of the nail with your first color of choice. Then with a separate medium soft bristled pain brush take your second color of choice and transfer the powder to the cuticle of nail. Again starting heavy at the cuticle and using less working your way up the nail trying not to cross too far past the middle of the nail. DO make sure that the whole nail is coated in powder covering the Base Coat.

Repeat this step for desired effect. For this look I did 3 coats again.

Same as for the solid nail, apply the Activator (2) after desired look achieved and excess powder has been gently brushed off. Apply to full nail and allow at least 1 full minute to air dry.

Step 7: Sparkle Like the Sea!

Same as before, start this nail as you would for a solid nail color. Apply only 2 layers for the base color this time. Add another thin even layer of the Base Coat (1). Next using a small soft bristled pain brush, for a more even layer, apply the glitter dip to cover the entire nail. I used the pain brush to push and smooth some of the pieces around the sides of the nail and to ensure an even layer. Once you have the desired coverage, remove excess glitter with your large soft bristled brush and apply the Activator (2) to harden the nail.

Step 8: You Poor Unfortunate Soul!

Oops! Make a mistake? Get a little sloppy? Layers weren't even and your nails aren't smooth? No problem! This is the time to pretend it never happened! Go ahead and correct any areas that need fixing with your handy nail file! Trying your best in the beginning to keep your layers thin and even and avoiding globs of the Base Coat (1) near your skin, will save you a lot of time during this step. The more you do it the easier it'll get. But if someone as low maintenance as me can learn to do this so can you!

After you have filed down any evidence of a mistake wash your hands. DO NOT USE SOAP, JUST WATER! This is very important, you don't want to add any additional oils or chemicals to the nail just rinse off debris.

After nails are filed clean and dry, apply another coat of the Activator (2) and allow to dry.

Step 9: Catch Your Tail!

How could it be a mermaid manicure with out some scales!?

Start with a finished base nail of a solid color. Then apply your decal to the nail and push down firmly across the entire surface. You don't want the decal to lift so don't forget the edges too! Remove the transfer paper and you can use your precision craft knife to cut addition pieces of the excess decal and apply to any gaps. Next use the nail polish of your choice to apply over the decal like a stencil. Use a small soft bristled brush and apply the polish moving away from the edges of the decal (do this to avoid the polish from bleeding underneath). I used 2 coats to have an opaque color. Make sure to remove the decal while polish is still tacky. DO NOT LET THE POLISH DRY! If the polish is dry it will cause irregular edges and can ruin the finish of the end result. I worked quickly but carefully with my craft knife to gently lift the decal away to expose the scale design. Use acetone with a small soft paint brush to clean up any edges.

Step 10: Theres a Million Fish in the Sea But I'm a Mermaid!

The moment we've all been waiting for the last and final step! Time for the top coat! Make sure that the last application of the Activator (2) from step 9 is fully dry. If it is not, it can harden the applicator brush from the Top Coat (3) and cause the solution to lose it's shine. Apply a quick and even application to the whole nail of the Top Coat (3). Try to apply a thin layer and allow to dry for a minimum of 2 minutes. After it has dried, apply a second coat to protect the nail and allow for a lustrous glossy shine! There you have it! A beautiful long lasting manicure with a dip powder for a fraction of the cost you would pay at a salon! And the only tip you need to give is beauty is more than just scale deep!

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    3 years ago

    Nicely done! : )


    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank you!