Gel Polish or Dip Powder? Which One Is The Best For You?

No matter you are a newbie or a regular customer heading to the nail salon, we all aim for a great manicure as a final result. However, you can easily get confused by so many types of manicure services out there to choose from. It is no longer the day where the nail lacquer was the only option for a salon manicure. Now, walking into any salon, you will be faced not only a variety of colours but also different nail services, namely nail polish, gel polish and dipping powder (aka SNS). While they can be similar in terms of durability, longevity and quality, both types have pros and cons that you would surely want to know more before making your choice to achieve the perfect claws. Keep scrolling to find out!

1. What is gel manicure?

Gel manicure is one of the most popular tried-and-true manicure types

Gel manicure has been around for a long time and loved by both customers and nail techs for its shine-like-mirror effects and a better quality compared to other nail system such as acrylic polish or nail lacquer. Gel polish requires UV/LED lamp to cure and stay in place for up to 2 weeks. It is the treatment consisting of a base coat, two layers of a colour and a top coat, with each layer cured and set under a UV light.

Does it sound like Shellac? The answer is yes, gel polish and shellac are an exact same thing! Shellac is actually just a popular and original brand of gel polish from a company called CND.


  • Faster dry time than standard acrylic manicure.
  • No nail bed damage.
  • Longer lasting time than nail lacquer, up to 3 weeks.
  • Maintains a protective layer for the surface of your nails.
  • Easier removal than SNS.
  • Cheaper than SNS.


  • Requires led nail curing.
  • Low quality gel polishes can cause nail peelings.
  • Less durable than SNS, can last up to 2 weeks till the next appointment.
  • Repeating UV exposure isn’t the best thing for your skin!
  • Softer and easier chipping when exposed with household chemicals such as soaps and cleaning products.

2. What is dipping powder?

Dipping powder has a better durability compared to gel polish

SNS – Signature Nail Systems, is a manicure type requiring dipping nails into powder that hardens on nails. It differs from the gel manicure because it does not involve nail curing which benefits nail health in a long run. The SNS has been currently dominating the nail salons for years thanks to its better lasting time compared to gel nails and beginner friendly for home use.


  • No UV exposure required to set the polish.
  • Lasts longer than SNS, super adhesive and no chipping for weeks.
  • Longer wearing colour and stronger, harder nails without easy nail cracks.
  • Friendly for both professionals and beginners.
  • Thinner than acrylic and thicker than gel polish. Suitable for those seeking for extra strength and length while maintaining a lightweight feeling.


  • More expensive than gel manicure
  • Super glued so you have to ground and file it before removal
  • Harder to remove and requires Acetone soaking. We recommend you get professional salon removal to avoid damaging your nails

Gel Manicure and SNS: The verdict

There are both pros and cons of each method and eventually, it all comes down to personal preference depending on what you want for nails. If you prioritise the longer lasting time, stronger and harder nail forms with no UV exposure, SNS is for you.

If you are on a budget and do not mind changing your nail set a bit earlier, a gel manicure is the best to go. It is cheaper than SNS and provides amazing glossy results lasting up to 3 weeks.

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