How To Use Acrylic Powder

Today’s acrylic nails are a game-changer. They leave your nails picture-perfect, allow you to express yourselves creatively, and last about six weeks. On the downside, however, they can be expensive.

So, you may be looking for ways to do own acrylic nails. And the starting point to doing acrylic nails should understand acrylics. Acrylic nails are a combination of acrylic monomer and acrylic powder. And in this post, we tell you all there is to know about acrylic powder.

What is Acrylic Powder?

The first question acrylic enthusiasts often bombard us with is; what is acrylic powder? Well, it refers to a polymerized acrylic monomer.

It’s made from a method referred to as polymerization. The process happens when individual molecules link together to form chains of molecules. In the case of dip powder, most manufacturers combine different acrylic liquid monomers, usually ethyl methacrylate (EMA) and methyl methacrylate (MMA).

EMA and MMA are usually combined into a spinning container to link individual molecules. As the container spins, the molecules will bond and link together to form round and hard droplets. And these are what we later come to know as dip powder.

Remember that the spinning container will create different sizes of droplets (dip powder). And this will all depend on its spinning speed, i.e. if the manufacturer sets the spinning container to a slow or fast pace. And, of course, other added ingredients to the monomer formula will influence the droplet sizes. 

But why use MMA considered toxic and damaging to nails? MMA is only regarded as dangerous and harmful to nails in monomer liquid form. It is considered safe when it is in its polymer form.

How does Acrylic Powder Work?

Today, we are going all in; a bit of science and chemistry before we get to the more practical parts about acrylic nail powder. So, how does acrylic nail powder work?

Step 1: Polymerization

We’ve mentioned above that this powder is formed from polymerization. And that it contains the monomer methyl methacrylate. These two factors have a lot to do with how acrylic powder works.

Step 2: Mix Powder with Acrylic Liquid

When you purchase acrylic powder from the stores, you buy it alongside acrylic monomer. Or you already have your own acrylic monomer liquid at home. Why? Because you have to mix the acrylic powder with monomer liquid to form acrylic nails. 

Step 3: Suspension Polymerization

So when you mix the acrylic powder with liquid monomer, a process called suspension polymerization occurs. Suspension polymerization uses mechanical agitation (mixing the liquid with the powder) to mix a monomer or mixture of monomers.

Usually, the monomers being mixed will be in their liquid phase. And when they polymerize, they’ll form powder spheres. 

Step 4: Monomer Solidification

When suspension polymerization occurs, it solidifies the monomers in the acrylic powder (MMA and EMA). And then, they’ll dry and harden into the shape you’ve molded them in as you apply them to your nails.

 You’ll only need to wait a few minutes before adding nail polish. And within no time, you’ll be slaying a picture-perfect manicure.

Different Types of Acrylic Powder

There’s no one-size fits for acrylic nails or powders. So, you’ll find the market saturated with different acrylic powders. And understanding these different types is key to knowing the acrylic nails that best suits your manicure.

Here are some of the common types of powder.

Colored Acrylic Powder

How does adding a pop of color to your dip powder manicure sound? Well, it sounds interesting. Whether you’re a bold or subtle colors fan, you’ll benefit by getting colored powders.

The acrylic polymer will add color as part of the additives during the polymerization process. So, whether you use them without or with your acrylic liquid, you will surely have that beautiful-looking manicure.

Water-Cured Acrylic Powders

Water-cured powders are quite similar to traditional acrylics. You’ll need to mix them with a dip powder activator (usually a form of monomer liquid). The only difference is they need warm water for them to cure. 

So, you’ll need to place the tips in warm water to harden. Otherwise, you’ll be dealing with not-so-stable acrylics, which will fall off quickly.

Acrylic Powder According to Size

When thinking about types of dip powder, it’s good to mention their type according to size. You’ll find small, medium, and big-sized acrylic powders.

But if you’re looking for that long-lasting manicure, we recommend using medium-sized powders. A manicure from small-sized powder particles will be cracking within no time. And if the particles are too big, you’ll have a dough-like acrylic texture, giving an ugly manicure. 

Benefits of Using Acrylic Nail Powder

But is acrylic nail powder really necessary? What are the benefits of using acrylic nail powder?


Let’s take your mind back to when you had your first acrylic manicure. Beautiful acrylic designs have enticed you. The possibility of a longer-lasting manicure enticed you more.

And this brings us to our first benefit of using acrylic nail powder. It’s longer lasting than other manicures, such as gel nails.

While other nails will start chipping within the second week, you can expect the acrylic manicure to stay chip-free for up to six weeks. But that’s on condition that you handle your nails gently and go for regular fill-ins.


Another benefit of using acrylic powder is that it’s less messy and odorless. No one wants to do a messy job while doing acrylics, especially if they are DIY acrylics.

And with acrylic powder, you’ll only need to dip your acrylic brush in liquid monomer, then onto the acrylic powder, and you’ll have an acrylic bead formed within no time.

This makes the process more manageable, not to mention its quick-drying capabilities, which reduce the possibility of a smudged manicure.


And a bonus benefit? You can get an odorless variety. So, you don’t have to look for well-ventilated spaces to get your manicure done.

Saves Time

We’ll admit that long hours at the nail salon can be draining. So, if you are looking for a manicure that will allow you to spend as little time as possible in the nail salon, then an acrylic nail powder manicure is your best bet.

You’ll find that most acrylic powder manicures have little to zero drying time. The ones that have drying time will take up to three minutes. And this reduces any long processes of UV light drying. And what contributes to this zero drying time? The acrylic nail powder speeds up the process by far.

Step by Step on How to Use Acrylic Powder

Now we understand the basics of acrylics, including why it’s beneficial to have them on. So, let’s move on to a step-by-step guide on how to use acrylic powder.

Nail Prep

Getting acrylics done without sufficient nail prep is setting yourself up for failure. Your nails won’t adhere well to the natural nails. And they’ll pop off a few days or even hours after your manicure.

Prepping your nail will start by using nail polish remover to remove any traces of nail polish. Or, if you previously had acrylics, use an acetone polish remover. Then proceed to trim your nails to the recommended size.

Remember, you’ll have to leave a little white part of the natural nail when trimming. You should then push the cuticles back and buff the natural nail surface. Acrylics require a roughed-up nail for maximum adhesion.

Lastly, use a primer or a nail dehydrator in the nail prep process. The presence of oils or dust on nails threatens adhesion.

So, you need to dehydrate the nail completely. And the dehydrator and primer will handle this job quite well. Now you’re ready to get to use the acrylic nail powder.

Add Artificial Tips

If you want some artificial tips, now is the time. You’ll start by spreading some glue at the edge of your artificial nail tips. Then, immediately press them onto your natural nails.

For those who are not a fan of extremely long nails, you’ll be tempted to trim the artificial tips at this point. But don’t. You’ll have plenty of time to trim and file them after applying nail polish to the nail.

The Acrylic Nail Powder Now

We’ve all been looking forward to where the acrylic nail powder comes in! Take your acrylic nail brush, dip it into monomer for acrylic nails, and then into the dip powder. This allows the monomer liquid to mix with the powder and form an acrylic bead.

You’ll then spread the mixture on your fingers. Proceed to cover your acrylic nails with a nail polish of your choice. Then after the nail polish dries up, you can file the nails to your liking.

Pro-Tip: Mix only some of the powder and acrylic liquid at once. The acrylic liquid mixture may be set before you get a chance to apply it. And that screams loads of wastage which you shouldn’t have to experience. 

Can I Substitute Acrylic Powder?

What happens when you’re out of acrylic dip powder and want an acrylic manicure? Can you substitute it?

Well, we don’t recommend ever substituting it. Manufacturers always intend for an acrylic liquid to be used with powder. Why?

There are several components used in the manufacture of both. And mixing these components from different brands could lead to detrimental results to your nail health.

However, if the manufacturer has explicitly stated on the package of the potential substitute that you could use it as a substitute, by all means, go ahead.

It means the manufacturer has ensured the chemical components of the substitute can work well with acrylic liquid monomers.

Acrylic Nail Powder vs. Normal Acrylics and Gel Manicures

There are endless choices in the market today. And we’ve just made you more aware of another choice-acrylic dip powder.

How does acrylic dip powder compare to normal acrylics and gel manicures?

Normal Acrylics vs. Acrylic Nail Powder

Honestly, normal acrylics and acrylic dip powder nails are similar. They tend to last longer and can also both be shaped quite creatively. However, the difference comes in with the time spent getting them.

 Normal acrylics will be more time-consuming than acrylic dip powder nails. They’ll also be more costly and invasive. After all, getting normal acrylics can take quite a long time. Not to mention how it requires loads of filing and nail buffing.

Acrylic Nail Powder vs. Gel Manicures

How about acrylic nail powder vs. gel manicures? Well, the one major difference is the use of UV technology. By now, most of us have probably heard of the damaging effects of UV. Unfortunately, gel nails require UV light to dry.

And these issues make more people prefer acrylic nails. You’ll also find that acrylic dip powder nails are more long-lasting than gel nails.

So, most people who want a long-lasting manicure solution will tend to go for dip powder nails instead of gel nails.

How to Use Acrylic Powder without Acrylic Liquid 

What liquid do you use with acrylic powder? Acrylic liquid, right? But what if you don’t have the acrylic liquid monomer? Can you use acrylic dip powder without acrylic liquid?

You could use acrylic dip powder without acrylic liquid. And here’s how that goes.

Nail Prep

Similar to any manicure, when you want to create acrylic nails, you’ll start by prepping your nail. That involves using nail polish remover to eliminate any traces of nail polish. Then, trim your nails to a reasonable size.

And because we never forget to repeat this, trim your nails to a size where you can see the white part. Don’t eliminate the entire white part.

Then, you’ll file, buff up, push cuticles, and dehydrate your nails.

Fix Artificial Tips

Next, fix your artificial nails or fake nails onto your nail bed. Using some nail glue is important to allow the artificial nail to adhere well. Remember, apply the nail glue onto the artificial nail, not your natural nail.

After you’ve stuck the artificial nail, press it onto your nail bed until all the bubbles disappear.

Apply Nail Glue

Then apply a sufficient layer of nail glue on your ‘now nail.’ Make sure you apply the nail glue as close to the cuticle as possible.

Add Acrylic Dip Powder

Add the acrylic dip powder on top of the nail glue. The nail glue will make an acrylic powder stick. If you wish, add some acrylic paint to your nails. And after you’ve finished painting the acrylic paint, the color pops.


With this guide on using acrylic dip powder, we’re sure you are on your way to getting those celebrity-like nails. You can use acrylic dip powder with liquid acrylic monomer for the best results.

Or without your acrylic liquid when you only have acrylic powders and want to do your own nails. You’ll only need to add some glue, and you’re good to go. 

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