Can You Use Brush On Nail Glue For Dip Powder? The reason why yes or no?

Dip powder nails are an amazing alternative to acrylic nails that DIYers can dive into at home!

Whether you have ever tried this mani yourself and experienced “dip blu”, or the bottles are simply empty, and you want to find something that works like your normal dipping liquids, it is crucial to make sure that they are safe before taking the plunge.

There is a myth that brush-on nail glue can be used just as a dip base coat for dip nails. But, can you use brush on nail glue for dip powder?

Dip Powder Nails
Dip Powder Nails

Can You Use Brush On Nail Glue For Dip Powder?

No, brush-on nail glue should not be used as an alternative to dip liquids in a dipping system as due to the disparity in the consistency. The result is an unwelcomed blotchy coat of powder at the end.

A dipping nail system involves using nail acrylic polymer powders and dipping liquids to seal the powder into your nails.

However, the base coat and top coat of the powder dipping system do not come cheap. Because the ingredients in the brush-on nail glues are similar to the base coat, many people want to use nail glues as an alternative. Yet, is it possible?

The key distinction between dip base coat and nail glue is their consistency. Dip base coats are thicker, in general.

This means nail glue is thinner or even “too runny”, and thus, does not give enough substance for the dip powder to hold onto if used as a base coat.

The result is that your nail will look like having powder glued to it. So, we would not recommend using nail gels to replace the dip base coat for aesthetic reasons.

Of course professional nail artists have the experience to use brush-on nail glue at their will as a base coat for dip powder manicure. Yet, if you’re an amateur, you’d better off paying the extra for the dip liquid to remove some of your manicure’s margin for error!

In the same vein, brush-on nail glue is also not a viable substitute for the dip top coat. The glue just won’t dry clear and shiny, which is something that a top coat in the dipping system is expected to do.

What Is Nail Glue?

Nail glues contain cyanoacrylate – a substance that is frequently found in the majority of household super glues. Nail glues are typically used to adhere acrylic or artificial nails, embellishments such as gems or crystals onto your nails.

These products often have a low viscosity, which means they are incredibly fluid. For this reason, nail glues are ideal for small cavities or flat surfaces. Unlike traditional glues, many nail glue brands also add specific ingredients into the formula to promote nail growth.

Brush-On Nail Glue
Brush-On Nail Glue

What Are Dip Liquids?

Dip liquids are among the primary ingredients in the dipping system. They work to create long-lasting dipped nails.

Usually, a dipping system usually has instructions and order of application of these liquids and the powder that you should follow to make the most out of the nail kit.

The typical order of application as follows:

  • Primer: The primer is critical to prepping your nails by cleaning and dehydrating. It makes sure you’ll get the best possible foundation for the dip powder to stick to.
  • Base Coat: The base coat is a thick and viscous liquid, which acts as a glue for the powder to properly adhere to.
  • Activator: This element cures, seals, and dries the powder. It gives the dipped nails a more eye-pleasing, pained look.
  • Top Coat: Similarly, the dip top coat is also the same liquid as the dip base coat. Its main function is to add durability and shine to the dipped nails.

Base Coat

Dip liquids usually come in two forms: a base coat and a top coat. The base coat is often made of cyanoacrylate, a similar raw material used in nail glues. This base coat is considered the “glue” that will hold the powder onto your nails once you dip.

Top Coat

The top coat is a monomer or solvent-based liquid and has thickening agents and amine catalysts in the formula. This is a glue-like liquid that adds durability and shine to your nails.

Things That Can Be Used To Replace Dip Liquids

Interestingly, the top coat and base coat are virtually made of similar ingredients.

The two main elements involved in the making of these coats are glue (which is the same thing used in nail glues) and UV reactive liquids. The viscosity and thickness of the reactive liquids enable the powder to easily adhere to.

In other words, the top coat and base coat are the exact same liquid. However, the dip top coat should not be sticky, and that’s why it needs to be cured to be dry and hardened properly.

The popular alternative to your dip liquids is regular nail polish. All you need to do is apply a thin coat of nail polish while leaving a space between the cuticle and the nail.

Normal nail polish, however, is not as long-lasting as dip liquids. You’ll notice they peel more quickly. Hence, the dip top coat and base coat is always recommended in our book if you want a perfect DIY dip powder manicure.

There are some regular nail polish top coats that work with your dip nails. Gel top coats, for example, are compatible with activators and thus a great substitute for your dip top coat.

Gel coats are glossier than dip top coats. Matte coats, however, are not a match with most activators as they are likely to seize up.

As mentioned, you can skip using the activator and apply the top coat. In this case, any regular nail polish top coat is safe to use on your dip nails.

Without the presence of the activator, your manicure won’t be as durable, yet you do not risk your coat seizing up in case they clash with the activator.


Can You Use Any Base With Dip Powder?

Normally, you can use a dip power base coat with all brands of dip powder.

Due to the way the binding process works is quite similar, you can freely mix one brand of powder with a different brand of dipping liquids.

Can You Dip Powder Without Activator?

Yes, you can use dip powder without an activator.

Activator is crucial as it cures the powder while minimizing chipping. However, your dip nail manicure is still fine when you go without an activator.

The activator in the dipping system is in charge of curing, sealing, drying the powder, and is used before you apply the top coat. The main ingredients in an activator are:

  • Urethane Acrylate
  • Hydroxycyclohexyl Phenyl Ketone
  • Isobornyl Methacrylate
  • Trimethylbenzoyl Diphenylphosphine Oxide
  • Ethoxylated Trimethylolpropane Triacrylate Esters

You can skip this step if you want, but make sure to add a top coat to keep the power in place. Either an air-dry or gel top coat is recommended in this situation. Apply two to three layers to safeguard your dip nails.

The Activator “Cures” The Dip Powder
The Activator “Cures” The Dip Powder

Is There Any Alternative For Activators?

If you run out of activator that comes with your dip powder kits or simply want an alternative, we recommend 99% isopropyl alcohol or acetone.

While these solutions don’t have the same curing effects as your activator, they can dry and seal the powder to your nails and prevent premature breakage.

However, because these solutions cannot seal your nails as an activator, make sure you apply a top coat in the last step. Alternatively, you can use a brush with some monomer solution and wipe over your dip nails to activate them.


Although nail glue contains quite the same ingredients as dip base coat and top coat, it is not a substitute due to the difference in the consistency.

For this reason, nail glue does poorly create a platform for the powder to stick to when used as a base coat, whereas it won’t add shine and durability as a top coat.

Our advice is to get a new bottle of each type of dip liquid to make sure you have the best dip powder manicure at the end!

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