iGel Academy

6 Common Mistakes Beginners Make With Dip Method


Every expert was once a beginner- Rutherford B. Hayes.

There's no shame in being a beginner nail tech since most experts have to start somewhere. The truth is they became skilled professionals through their trials and personal experiences. 

You're not the only one who can find the dip method challenging or tricky. You have to remember: everyone learns at a different pace and is better at different methods of applications. Don't beat yourself up when you commit mistakes, especially when starting in the nail industry! So next time that you're practicing nail art, it's best to avoid committing these common mistakes when applying the dip method.

Common Dip Method Mistakes Beginners Make:

1.Oily nails

Our skin and nails produce natural oils; therefore, it would be best to remove the oil on your nails when doing the dip method to avoid lifting. To do this, you can use a rubbing alcohol on your nails with a cotton pad to remove the excess oil.

Keep in mind that having less oil on your nails will have more adhesion for the dip powder. Once you're done with the first step, you can move on to prep your nails. You have to take your time in the dehydration process or oil removal to avoid lifting since it can ruin your goal of having stunning and long-lasting nail art!


2.Dip powder inactivation 

There are many processes when doing nail art; the dip method can take a while, but it's worth the wait! Other nail techs skip using the activator or the topcoat to make the process faster. At the same time, beginners tend to forget to include the activator in the step-by-step process since they're not yet used to it.

Without the activator, the layers of the dipping powder and the basecoat will not seal properly. If you skip the activator and the topcoat then it'll result in lifting especially if the layers are too thick.

The topcoat provides extra protection and boosts the longevity of your manicure. Apply thin base coat layers from the start but be sure to cover the entire surface of the nails with the product.

3.Excessive buffing of your nails

Too much of anything can be a bad thing. We understand that buffing can be addicting, but you need to tone it down. Why? since over-buffing can thin your healthy nails, and the dip powder won't stick to your nails.

You must not go overboard in producing a rough nail texture. Instead, we recommend lightly buffing the nail's surface with a 180-grit file to have the rough texture you need for adherence.


Consistency in using the right angle when applying dipping powder layers can help prevent your nail art from cracking. Avoid tilting your brush perpendicular and upright to the nail position or at 90 degrees to prevent uneven base coat application.

Always dip your nails at a 45-degree angle since it allows  the dipping powder to properly stick to the base coat. In turn, you get an even and smooth layer of product that prevents cracking.

5.Base Coat buildup

The base coat is crucial, and using an ample amount is enough since dry dipping powder adheres to it rapidly. Like any beauty product, a drop can go a long way, especially for your nails.

The buildup can run to your cuticles and sidewalls after being dipped. Avoid  committing this newbie mistake since it can be messy and hard to deal with.

6.Expansion due to incorrect application method

Expanding can occur if your dip powder application method is incorrect. Don't apply the base coat to the entire nail's surface. Instead, start small, particularly from the tip, and build the product slowly towards the top of your nails.

For the first layer, apply the base coat on three-quarters of your nails. Again, we recommend leaving a small gap below the cuticle. Next, dip the finger in powder at a 45-degree angle for the first coat. 

 Afterwards, tap off the excess for the second layer of the base coat. Then leave a small space below the cuticle. Repeat the dipping process. Gradually, work higher by dipping up to three times and get closer to the cuticle. By following this method, you'll be able to build a great apex, preventing the product from reaching the cuticles and sidewalls.

Every nail journey is different, and learning is a work in progress. Unfortunately, we're all guilty of committing these common beginner mistakes regarding the dip method, and that's okay! 

So dust your nails off, and start over again. Our iGel Beauty Facebook community could help you out! There's plenty of dipping method tutorials and tips on our page you can check. So come and join us and be a part of our iGel Beauty Army.