How I Do My Nails

Remember in those early days of quarantine where everyone was like, “I’m going to bake bread! That’s what I’ll do to pass the time!” (FF to 2 weeks later when sourdough starters across the USA found themselves at the bottom of garbage cans.)

Well I can’t eat gluten and gf bread is trash no matter what Pinterest tries to tell you, so I decided to learn how to dip my nails at home. “I’ll order a kit that comes with four colors and do my nails every 2 weeks. What a money saver!”

The lies we tell ourselves.

6 months, 100 colors (roughly 🙈) and multiple FB nail groups later I am deep in it. But my nails do look fly, if I do say so myself.

To save you some of the trial and error I went through, here are my top tips for stellar DIY Dip Nails.

July 2020 vs. Nov. 2020. Talk about a glow up.

Don’t skip on nail prep:

Yes it sucks but you have to do it. Get some Blue Cross cuticle liquid and a glass cuticle pusher and clean those digits up. Use either a nail dehydrator or alcohol wipes on your nails before application to dry them out.


I used to do Dip Powder with Dip Liquids. I switched to the Gel Method (liquids and lamp) for a few reasons. 1. My liquids were always getting contaminated. 2. Lots of steps. 4. My top coat was always streaky. 5. All the nails I admired were done via the Gel Method.

I’m so glad I switched. It is a ton easier. Here are the steps:

1. Apply base coat to nail and pour dip powder over the nail over a cupcake liner, rotating the nail to ensure you get all sides. (The cupcake liner makes it so you don’t waste any powder and is easy to pour back into the container). Use a toothpick or these dotting tools to clean around the cuticle. Wipe the brush off on a paper towel between dips.

2. After you’ve done one full hand, place in your LED lamp for 60 seconds to cure. Brush off excess powder with a cheap makeup brush or toothbrush.

3. Repeat steps 1-2, two more times on the same hand. Move onto the other hand. Repeat process.

4. Place a coat of clear dip over each finger and cure for 60 seconds with your LED lamp. (You always want to do a coat of clear. It allows you to buff and file afterwards without taking off your color.)

5. Use a file and buffing block to clean up the edges and smooth out any lumps. Some people also use this time to shape their nails. Rinse your hands with water (no soap!) to remove any dust from filing.

6. Put the Gel Top Coat on each finger making sure you cap the top. Cure for 60-90 seconds.

7. Take tons of “nailfies” because your fingers look fly and they deserve some time in the spotlight!

It sounds like a lot, but once you get into the swing of it, it’s very easy.

While Amazon comes in handy for some of the tools, I encourage you to seek out small businesses to buy your dips. Her are some of my favorite shops that are either BIPOC-owned or share my passion for social justice initiatives. It’s important to me where I spend my coin. I can feel good with these shops:

Mani Bee Beauty (she named a color after me!)


The Affinity Dip Shop (love her BLM decals)

3 Broke Girls Dips (Milk Man is to die for)

Milk Man. I mean…😍

Dipalicious Nails (I love her “Prep” and clear dip.

Nerd Nails (I love how creative she is with naming her colors)

x Mere

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