Dip Nails vs. Acrylic Nails: The Battle of Artificial Nails


In the world of beauty and self-expression, artificial nails have become a popular choice for individuals looking to enhance their nail aesthetics. Two of the most prevalent options in the artificial nail industry are dip nails and acrylic nails. While both offer stunning results, they have their unique sets of pros and cons, catering to different customer preferences. In this article, we will delve into the key differences between dip nails and acrylic nails, exploring their impact on the industry and customer preferences, as well as their income potential for nail technicians.

Dip Nails: The Pros and Cons

Dip nails, also known as SNS (Signature Nail Systems) or powder nails, have gained immense popularity in recent years. They offer several advantages:


  1. Durability: Dip nails are renowned for their durability and longevity. They can last for several weeks without chipping or fading, making them ideal for clients with active lifestyles.
  2. Healthier Option: Dip nails are often considered a healthier alternative to acrylics, as they do not require the use of harsh chemicals like liquid monomers. Instead, they are applied using a bonding resin and colored powder.
  3. Odorless Application: Unlike acrylic nails, dip nails do not emit strong odors during the application process, making them a more pleasant experience for both clients and nail technicians.
  4. Versatile Designs: Dip nails come in an array of colors and can be customized with various designs, including ombre, glitter, and French tips.

However, dip nails also have their drawbacks:


  1. Limited Repairs: Dip nails can be challenging to repair if they break or chip. Fixing them often requires professional intervention, potentially inconveniencing clients.
  2. Removal Process: The removal process for dip nails involves soaking them in acetone, which can be time-consuming and potentially damaging if not done correctly.
  3. Initial Investment: Nail technicians may need to invest in specialized equipment and products for dip nail applications, which can be cost-prohibitive for some.

Acrylic Nails: The Pros and Cons

Acrylic nails have been a staple in the artificial nail industry for decades and continue to be a popular choice among clients.


  1. Strength and Flexibility: Acrylic nails are known for their strength and flexibility, making them less prone to breakage.
  2. Versatility: Acrylics offer endless possibilities for nail designs, including 3D nail art, sculpted nails, and intricate designs.
  3. Easy Repairs: If acrylic nails break or chip, they can often be easily repaired by a skilled nail technician.
  4. Cost-Effective: Acrylic nails are typically more affordable than dip nails in terms of initial investment for nail technicians.

However, acrylic nails also come with their set of cons:


  1. Strong Odor: The liquid monomer used in acrylic nail applications emits a strong odor that can be unpleasant for both clients and nail technicians.
  2. Potential Damage: Improperly applied or removed acrylic nails can damage the natural nails, leading to thinning or weakening.
  3. Shorter Lifespan: Acrylic nails may not last as long as dip nails, requiring more frequent salon visits for maintenance.

Customer Preference and Income Potential

Customer preferences in the artificial nail industry often depend on individual needs and priorities. Some customers prioritize durability and a healthier application process, making dip nails their preferred choice. Others may prioritize intricate designs and versatility, favoring acrylic nails.

Nail technicians who offer both dip and acrylic nail services can attract a broader clientele and increase their income potential. Offering a variety of options allows nail technicians to cater to the diverse tastes and needs of their customers, ultimately boosting their revenue.


The dip nails vs. acrylic nails debate continues to thrive in the artificial nail industry, with both options offering distinct advantages and drawbacks. Ultimately, customer preference plays a significant role in determining which option prevails, and nail technicians who can offer both have the opportunity to thrive in this dynamic industry. Whether it’s dip nails or acrylic nails, the choice comes down to individual tastes, lifestyles, and priorities, ensuring that the artificial nail industry remains a vibrant and evolving sector within the beauty and self-care realm.

Louisville Beauty Academy - Nail Technology

Who is a Nail Technician?

A nail technician is a skilled professional who specializes in the care of hands and feet, specifically in treating and beautifying nails. Their responsibilities include:

  • Manicures and Pedicures: Cleaning, shaping, and beautifying fingernails and toenails.
  • Nail Extensions and Overlays: Applying artificial nail techniques like acrylics, gel nails, and silk wraps.
  • Nail Art: Creating designs on nails using various techniques and materials.
  • Client Consultation: Assessing client’s nail health, discussing desired outcomes, and providing advice on nail care and products.

Licensing and Training Requirements

In most regions, becoming a licensed nail technician requires:

  1. Completion of a Cosmetology or Nail Technician Program: These programs, offered at vocational schools or community colleges, typically cover topics such as nail anatomy, disorders, sanitation, and various nail care techniques.
  2. State Licensing Exam: After completing an accredited program, candidates must pass a state licensing exam, which usually consists of both a written and practical component.
  3. Continuing Education: To maintain their license, nail technicians may need to complete continuing education courses.

Making Money in Nail Technology

Nail technicians can earn income through various avenues:

  • Working in Salons or Spas: Many nail technicians work in beauty salons or spas, either as employees or renting a booth space.
  • Freelance Services: Offering services independently to clients at their homes or in a personal studio.
  • Specialized Services: Focusing on high-demand services like elaborate nail art or premium nail care treatments.
  • Teaching and Training: Experienced technicians can become educators in beauty schools.

Earnings Potential

The earnings for nail technicians vary based on factors like location, experience, and services offered. For instance:

  • Basic Manicure or Pedicure: May range from $15 to $50.
  • Nail Extensions or Elaborate Nail Art: Can cost upwards of $60 to $100+ per session.

Is Nail Technology Right for You?

To determine if a career in nail technology is a good fit, consider:

  • Passion for Beauty and Creativity: An interest in fashion, beauty, and artistic design is crucial.
  • Interpersonal Skills: Being sociable and able to comfortably interact with clients is important.
  • Attention to Detail: Precision and a meticulous approach are key in this field.
  • Patience and Dexterity: Working with small tools and detailed designs requires steady hands and patience.


Nail Technology is a vibrant and creative field offering various opportunities for those passionate about beauty and personal care. With the right training, licensing, and skill set, it can be a rewarding and lucrative career choice.

Nail Industry – Origin and Correlation to Vietnamese Population today

The Nail Industry: A Look into the Past, Present, and Future

The nail salon has become a common feature in American towns, cities, neighborhoods, and shopping malls throughout the United States. The nail industry has grown substantially in the USA in the last two decades, with the major factor of growth being Vietnamese immigrants who transformed the beauty industry and implemented the market for affordable pedicures, manicures, and artificial nails.

According to research, there are more than 2000 businesses licensed to do manicures and pedicures in New York City alone. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated there were around 86,900 manicurists and pedicurists in the US in 2012, with a projected growth to around 100,400 by 2022. However, this count is believed to be low in comparison to the current number as of 2015. In California, there are currently more than 97,000 manicurists, with 80% of these technicians being Vietnamese immigrants.

The popularity and prevalence of the nail industry today has led to a lack of understanding about its origins and history. But where did it all begin? The nail industry can be traced back to ancient civilizations, where nail care was seen as a symbol of wealth and status. In ancient Egypt, for example, the rich and powerful would have their nails painted with henna, while in China, nail care was seen as a symbol of femininity and elegance.

Over time, the industry has evolved and adapted to changing trends and technologies. In the early 20th century, for example, the invention of the electric nail file revolutionized the industry, making it possible to shape and polish nails with greater precision and speed. The invention of acrylic nails in the 1950s also had a significant impact on the industry, as it allowed for the creation of longer and more durable nails.

In the last few decades, the nail business ownership and workforce have tripled in size; and dramatically to accounts and includes large numbers of immigrated workers. The estimated Vietnamese licensed nail technicians increase 10 times between 1987 and 2002 (Federman, Harrington, and Kryns


Alaves, V. M., Sleeth, D. K., Thiese, M. S., & Larson, R. R. (2013). Characterization of indoor air contaminants in a randomly selected set of commercial nail salons in Salt Lake County, Utah, USA. International Journal of Environmental Health Research, 23(5), 419–433. http://doi.org/10.1080/09603123.2012.755152

Agusthiyar R., & Narashiman, K. (2015). An ETL Based Framework For Data Cleaning In Multi Data Source. International Journal of Applied Engineering Research, 10(4), 1005–10014.

American Salon. (2005). Green Book. Cleveland, Ohio: Advanstar Communications

Brettell, C. B., & K. E. Alstatt (2007). The Agency of Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Biographies of the Self-Employed in Ethnic and Occupational Niches of the Urban Labor Market. Journal of Anthropological Research 63:383–397

California Healthy Nails Salon Collaborative. (2015). About Healthy Nail Salons | California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative. Retrieved from http://www.cahealthynailsalons.org/what-is-hns/about-healthy-nail-salons/

California State Board of Barbering, Cosmetology (BBC). (2006). Application for examination. Sacramento, CA, USA: California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.

Eckstein, S., & Nguyen, T.-N. (2011). The Making and Transnationalization of an Ethnic Niche: Vietnamese Manicurists. International Migration Review, 45(3), 639–674. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1747-7379.2011.00861.x

Elizabeth Arden, Inc. (2015). ABOUT ELIZABETH ARDEN. Retrieved September 7, 2015, from https://corporate.elizabetharden.com/about-elizabeth-arden/

Federman, M. N., Harrington, D. E. and Krynski, K. J. (2006). “Vietnamese manicurists: Are immigrants displacing natives or finding new nails to polish?” Industrial and Labor Relations. Review, vol. 59, no. 2, pp. 302–318.

Gilels, D., Gorman, A., Huang, P., Liou, J., Mendiratta, A., & Philip, D. (2008). The U.S. Nail Salon Industry. Women & Environments International Magazine, (76/77), 18–21.

Greenhouse, S. (2007, August 19). At Nail Salons, Beauty Treatments Can Have a Distinctly Unglamorous Side. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/19/nyregion/19nails.html

Hondagneu-Sotelo, P. (2001) Dome´stica: Immigrant Workers Cleaning and Caring in the Shadows of Affluence. Berkeley: University California Press.

Lacey, A. & Wright, B. (2009) Employment Outlook: 2008-18, MONTHLY LAB. REV., 82, 111.

Ly, M., & Tufts University. (2003). Assessing and communicating occupational health risks to Vietnamese nail salon workers (honors thesis). Medford, MA, USA: Tufts University.

Madnani, N. A., & Khan, K. J. (2012). Nail cosmetics. Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology & Leprology, 78(3), 309–317. http://doi.org/10.4103/0378-6323.95445

Min, P. G. (2006). ‘‘Korean Americans.’’ In Asian Americans: Contemporary Trends and Issues. Ed.P. Gap Min. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press. Pp. 230–259.

NAILS. (2010). Industry Statistics. Nails Magazine 2010 Big Book. Torrance, CA: Available from: http://files.nailsmag.com/Market-Research/bb2010–11stats-reprints.pdf

NAILS (2013). Nails magazine 2012-2013. The Big Book. Retrieved from http://files.nailsmag.com/Market-Research/NAILSbb12-13stats.pdf

Nisbet, R., Elder, J., & Miner, G. (2009). Handbook of Statistical Analysis and Data Mining Applications (1 edition). Amsterdam ; Boston: Academic Press.

Roelofs, C., & Do, T. (2012). Exposure Assessment in Nail Salons: An Indoor Air Approach. ISRN Public Health, 1–7. http://doi.org/10.5402/2012/962014

Salon City Inc. (2009). Salon City Reports on Professional Beauty Federation’s Capitol Hill Event. Retrieved September 7, 2015, from http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/salon-city-reports-on-professional-beauty-federations-capitol-hill-event-1200838.htm

The New York Time (NYT). (1910, January 6). TAKE YOUR BUNIONS TO THE FREE CLINIC; New Corporation Will Undertake Also to Kill Your Corns Without Charge. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=990CE7D91730E233A25755C0A9679C946196D6CF

Thu Quach, Kim-Dung Nguyen, Doan-Billings, P.-A., Okahara, L., Fan, C., & Reynolds, P. (2008). A Preliminary Survey of Vietnamese Nail Salon Workers in Alameda County, California. Journal of Community Health, 33(5), 336–343. http://doi.org/10.1007/s10900-008-9107-7

U.S. Department of Labor (2015). Occupational Outlook Handbook: : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition. Retrieved September 7, 2015, from http://www.bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/manicurists-and-pedicurists.htm

US Patents. (1915, April 13). Finger-nail shield.  Retrieved from http://www.google.com/patents/US1135382

Wahowiak, L. (2015). Health advocates helping US salons nail occupational safety. (Cover story). Nation’s Health, 45(3), 1–10.

Waldinger, R. (1994). The Making of an Immigrant Niche. International Migration Review 28(1):3–30.

Walsh, S. A. (2012). Beyond the Polish: An Examination of Hazardous Conditions in Nail Salons and Potential Solutions for the Industry in New York City. Journal of Law & Policy, 21(1), 243–282.

Woodbury, W. A. (1910). Beauty culture: A practical handbook on the care of the person, designed for both professional and private use. G.W. Dillingham.

Woodbury, W. A. (1915). The Care of the Hand: A Practical Text-Book on Manicuring and the Care of the Hand, for Professional and Private Use. Forgotten Books.