I tried the new Gelish Dip manicure system | 9Lives
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I recently attended a media demonstration of the new Gelish Dip manicure system, which will be launching into salons from March and promises to change the game for long-wear colour.

What is it?

Gelish Dip is an acrylic dip system from the creators of Gelish and Morgan Taylor, launching into salons from March.

It can probably be best described as something between gel and acrylic – not as soft and flexible as gel but not quite so hard as traditional acrylic. That means it feels lighter and thinner, and it isn’t prone to cracks and chipping like acrylic nails. There is also much less damage caused by overenthusiastic nail techs buffing your nails down to the nerve.

The thing that has me really excited though is that it takes under 30 minutes to complete – much, much quicker than gel or acrylic manicures.

So how does it work?

Your nails are lightly buffed (not as aggressively as one would with acrylic) after which it is painted with a thin coat of Gelish Dip Prep, followed by your Gelish Dip Base Coat. The nail is then dipped into a pigment powder, set with the Gelish Dip Base Coat and dipped again once or twice more until the coverage is perfect. Once the final layer of colour is on they will even it out with a nail buff before applying the Gelish Activator and then the Gelish Dip Top Coat. There is no UV curing at all and the entire process took about 30 minutes.

At the end my nails had a beautifully even, glossy finish and while the colour coating was thicker than polish (and perhaps a neatly-executed gel mani) it was much thinner than acrylic. Some other beauty writers did experience sore nails afterwards, but I had absolutely no issues.

The nice thing about the Gelish Dip system is that you’re not as reliant on your manicurist’s skills to give you good results. With gel and acrylic you need someone who knows their stuff or you will end up with thick, uneven nails that might chip and peel in next to no time. With Gelish Dip the process is so simple, most technicians should be able to pull it off.

That being said, we had our nails done by their top technicians so it will be interesting to see how basic salon staff fair.

The Gelish Dip system is available in a wide range of colours including glitters, shimmers, metallics and five French manicure shades. One thing to keep in mind is that the colour of the pigment powder is quite a bit lighter than the final shade on your nails. The pigment I chose was dark grape and the final colour was deep cherry. So reckon this in when you select the shade.

How long does it last?

When I published this my nails were 10 days old and in near-perfect condition. It still has great shine without any colour fade. I have noticed very slight chips on the corners of my nails, and some very light wear on the tips, but it is not really noticeable (and I’m a perfectionist so you can trust me here).

I took the nails off at 3 weeks. By this point they were mostly grown out, and only showed two or three chips. Overall I am really impressed.

Taking the nails off is an easy process. It gets soaked off like gel – not buffed like acrylic nails (make sure you tell this to your nail technician if they’re unfamiliar with Gelish Dip). You only have to soak it for about 15 minutes longer than you would with gel.

The condition of my nails was pretty good after removing the Gelish Dip. As with gel and acrylic, my nails were slightly thinner, so I would recommend resting your nails between applications.

What does it cost?

The price is going to vary from salon to salon but you can expect to pay between R50 – R80 more than your standard Gelish application.

Overall I am super excited by this new technique and I would definitely choose it over  other long-wear mani options. Go give it a go and let me know what you think.


I am a lifestyle blogger from Cape Town trying to find the best ways to spend my time, take care of my body and express myself. I am slightly obsessed with fragrances, sneakers, Jamie Oliver and Masterchef Australia. Oh, and I probably drink way too much wine.


  1. Estelle Tennant Reply

    Goeie more

    Wil graag hoor waar kan ons van julle prodickte koop ons is n klom vrouens wat belang stel

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