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Why Are My Dip Nails Not Shiny? [And How To Get It Back]

One of the main benefits of dip powder nails is the high shine they give. Naturally, it’s super disappointing if they don’t come out shiny, to begin with, or quickly lose it in time. Either way, what are the causes of dull dip powder, and what can you do to restore the shine? Here is everything you need to know. 

So, why are my dip nails not shiny? There are several different reasons why your dip nails are not shiny, but the likely causes are incorrect nail prep, not leaving enough drying time between coats (insufficient drying time), using old or unmixed dip powder, or using an impure topcoat. 

Chances are you still have questions!

So let’s go through some of the reasons in much greater detail before turning to those simple yet effective ways to restore the shine!

Reasons Why Your Dip Nails Are Not Shiny

There are five main reasons why dip nails are not shiny, either to begin with or if it is something that was lost in a few days.

Not Dry Enough Between Coats

This is one of the most common causes of lackluster, matte finish dip nails.

In fact, not allowing your dip nails to dry properly between coats can cause so many issues, such as cracking and lifting also. 

It can be tempting to rush your application, especially if you are stuck on time, but try your hardest not to.

Leave plenty of time between each coat so that your dip powder nails are fully dried and hardened between each coat. 

This should definitely help the fight against an unwanted matte dip nail finish.

Old Or Unmixed Dip Powder

Most dip powders can last for a good couple of years, but as they age, they will slowly lose a lot of their desirable attributes. 

If you use a slightly less high-quality dip powder, the life span of this powder will be shortened even more. 

The way you store your dip powder can cause it to decompose even faster as well, so make sure they are stored somewhere that doesn’t get too hot or cold.

Sometimes the ingredients in dip powders will separate slightly, and this can affect the gloss finish of your dip nails. 

The best way to ensure this isn’t what affects the finish of your nails is by giving the dip powder pot a good shake each time before you use it.

Impure Topcoat

Your topcoat is the one product that gives your dip powder nails that beautiful glossy shine, so if it has been contaminated, it can affect how shiny your nails end up. 

This could be from loose powder that makes its way into your topcoat or even if you accidentally drop the topcoat brush and forget to clean it before using it again. 

Make sure your topcoat solution is free of any impurities and keep the brush as clean as possible. 

If you think it is the topcoat that is stopping your nails from maintaining a glossy finish, it may be best to just buy a brand new bottle.

Incorrect Nail Prep

When it comes to dip powder nails, your nail preparation is one of the most important steps to beautiful, long-lasting dip nails. 

I definitely recommend not rushing this part of your dip nail application process and making sure your nails are free of all excess oils and any debris that may affect the final finish. 

How Do You Make Dip Nails Shiny?

By applying a new layer of your chosen topcoat, you can usually restore your dip powder nail’s shine

This is the best way to restore your dip nail’s shine, especially if they are relatively newly applied. 

However, if your dip nails have lost their shine because you have had them on for a while, you may need to put in a little extra work.

Older nails will likely have developed scuffs and marks, so you may need to buff back the top layer to make them nice and smooth again before applying a new layer of topcoat to restore that glossy shine. 

Make sure to use as the minimal number of strokes with your topcoat as possible. The more strokes you use, the more likely it is that you will have streak marks that will affect the finish of your dip nails.

To help with this, pick a top coat polish that has a nice wide brush. 

This is more common with higher quality brands as lower-cost brands tend to scrimp on their polish brushes and use slightly harsher materials for their bristles.

How To Ensure Your Dip Nails Are Shiny Going Forward

Knowing how to restore the gloss finish of your dip powder nails is a super important trick to have up your sleeve, but I bet you’d rather avoid the issue altogether. 

Here are a few ways to reduce the risk of dull and lackluster dip powder nails so you’ll never have a matte dip nail again – unless that is the look you are going for.

Nail Preparation

Having a tried and tested nails prep routine is the first step to beautiful glossy nails. 

Nail prep can actually take up the most time when it comes to dip powder nail application, but that should tell you how important it is to not skip a single step here. 

If you are going to prep your nails properly, this is what you have to do at the very least.

  1. Wash and dry your hands thoroughly
  2. Push back your cuticles
  3. Buff your nail beds lightly
  4. Remove all particles, debris, and excess oils from your nails
  5. Wash and dry your hands again
  6. Dehydrate your nails *this step is optional, but it really does help

Think of it this way; nail prep is basically just removing anything from your natural nails that will affect how your dip powder nail products work.

Say No To Buffing Your Dip Powder

Lumps and bumps plague the nails of every dip powder nail beginner and sometimes even the most expert of dip nail creators. 

So, it’s common that many will buff out those unsightly uneven spots. 

Most of the time, this is totally ok, but some brands just can’t handle this buffing very well, and it can cause them to lose some of their shine. 

If you do have to buff your dip powder nails, make sure you are using a brand that can hold its own against a little buffing, and ensure that you remove all of the debris that gets left behind after you have buffed the surface of your dip nails with a lint-free wipe.

I would strongly recommend the DipWell buffer set – this is an affordable yet premium product that you should use.

Use A Gel Top Coat

A Gel top coat not only gives your dip powder nails a super boosted level of protection but also adds extra shine to your nails. 

Most gel topcoats will need a 30-second blast under a UV lamp to cure and harden, but these kinds of topcoats have a thicker, more reliable consistency that helps your nails keep their glossy shine for longer.

If you are using a gel top coat, make sure to ‘cap’ the end of your nails – basically, give the edge of your nail at the end a little swipe with the gel top coat – this will help reduce the risk of chipping and peeling aking your nails last longer and keep their shine for longer too.

Use A Minimum Of Two Gel Coats

We all know the more coats of varnish and topcoat you use, the stronger your nails will be, right? 

So, go ahead and use at least two coats of your gel top coat to give your nails even more protection. 

Although, I’d say any more than three will be overkill and may even cause your nails to crack or lift earlier than you would like. 

If you use a dip powder top coat instead of a gel top coat, you may need to use four coats as this type of topcoat is far thinner and will need extra layers to build up the kind of shine and strength you will want and need.

Don’t Rush

Take. Your. Time. Seriously, choose a time when you aren’t going to be interrupted or rushing to be somewhere when you decide to apply your dip powder nails. 

You want to be able to work through every step calming and in no rush at all. 

In the beginning, you may find taking your time means a good 45 minutes to an hour spent on your nails, but as you get more confident with the process, you could have your dip powder nails finished within 20 minutes.

Like this? Then you may want to read my other dip powder nail articles: