Must Have Accessories for Incredible Dipped Nails at Home

So you want to dip your nails at home. Maybe you bought a dip powder kit but still need to know what other accessories and products you need to get started. The instructions in your dip powder kit tell you how to apply the product, but surely you need more than that right? Of course you do!

Work Space for Dip Nails

This might seem pretty common sense, but you should have a dedicated work station for nails. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but having a specific nail station has several benefits.

The biggest benefit in my opinion is the reduced risk of spilling or dropping product. Nothing kills new manicure excitement faster than dropping acetone on your new tile floor (trust me, I’ve done this!) or ruining your dining room table with base liquid. I use an old desk that family passed down. Since I got it for free, I feel comfortable using it as my nail station.

Then decide what you want to cover your work space with. I like old towels. You can use all sorts of things though….a cookie sheet, a specially made nail mat, tray table, etc.


If your work space already has storage, that’s great! The desk I use has several drawers. However, if your dip powder obsession takes over then you might need additional storage. You want to keep in mind that whatever storage you choose must fit the dip powder jars and liquids so you might have to measure everything to make sure it fits in the drawer. Rolling carts are popular too, but keep in mind you’ll probably need something else to store your liquids.

Alex Drawers from Ikea

Check out this Alex Drawer from Ikea!

Check out the Variera drawer inserts (also from Ikea) that work great with the Alex Drawer!


Lighting is extremely important for getting a good manicure including clean cuticle lines. If your home has crappy lighting like mine (one small light fixture with a couple dull bulbs in the bedroom I do my nails in) you’ll probably need additional lighting.

I started with an old desk light on the left side of my desk which helped a little bit. Then I bought an LED desk lamp which was much better, but still not good enough. I didn’t know how much I wasn’t seeing until I bought an 18″ ring light. I bought the ring light for video conferences, but now it’s my designated nail light. I can see perfectly! Other options could include a head lamp.

Check out the Neewer 18-inch SMD LED Ring Light Dimmable Lighting Kit with Light Stand that I purchased on Amazon. Link here.

Dust Collector

I love using a dust collector! A dust collector is essentially a table-top vacuum that catches all those little dust particles that would otherwise end up all over your house or in your lungs! I turn my dust collector on when I am filing my nails during the manicure and also when I use my electric nail file to start removing my manicure. I recommend one with a HEPA filter, such as Makartt’s Dust Collection Machine 60W. Link here.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

I suggest wearing a mask for safety. A disposable earloop or tie-on mask is better than nothing, but I suggest wearing a respirator mask if possible. Safety is always important, so I don’t think there is such a thing as too safe when it comes to masks and dip powder nails. I use an R95 mask because that’s what I had leftover from some home renovation projects. However, there are folks out there who are more sensitive to the dip powder products and use a half-face or full-face respirators that can filter out vapors as well.

Nail Tools

Some of the dip powder kits come with files or buffers, but you may need a few more items. Here is what I like to have on hand, at a minimum.

For pushing cuticles back, I like using a metal cuticle pusher. Then, I use a banana-shaped course grit (100/180) buffer to remove any leftover invisible cuticles. I find the rounded banana shape is great for working around cuticles.

On the left is a banana-shaped nail file and on the right is a metal cuticle pusher

Of course, you’ll need files as well, and I generally use the same 100/180 grit ones. However, the 240 grit is better for filing the natural nail as it reduces the risk of tearing the nail. I like keeping several files on hand because they get dull quickly especially during shaping.

Next you need nail buffing blocks. There are full-size ones (Polar White Four Sided Buffer) from Sally Beauty Supply. Or you can get mini nail buffing blocks from Amazon.

Buffing blocks used for nail prep for dip powder nails
A stiff nail brush is great for getting off all the excess dip powder in between dips

Dip Liquids

If you didn’t buy a kit with dip liquids, then you’ll need to buy the liquids specially made to do dip powder manicures. At a minimum, you need a base coat, activator, and top coat. It’s also great to have the brush saver liquid to clean your brushes.

If you need a good brand of dip liquids, check out the high quality brands we stock at our sister shop, the You Can Do Nails Boutique. Click here.

Dip Powders

The dip powders are probably the most fun items to buy. I have three different types of dip powders. The first is the “natural” colored dip powder that can be used as the first dip powder layer. Natural is great for building an apex (good for longer nails) and under glitters to make them easier to remove. The natural powder looks similar in color to a real nail.

The second are all the fun colors. Collecting colors gets addicting fast! The third powder is the “clear” dip powder used to encapsulate the colored powders as a last step for powder. Clear powder is necessary for chunkier glitter dips and recommended for all colors. It will help prevent filing or buffing off the layers of color.


There are several options for removal. In the past, I have used an electric nail file to file off the bulk of the product. I bought a professional-grade electric nail file from Kiara Sky, and it is worth every penny.

Then I follow up with the baggie method. The baggie method involves a bowl with hot water, a sandwich or freezer bag, acetone and paper towels.

If you don’t want to go that route then you can use peel base. To buy Sundara’s Peel Off Base Coat in our sister store, click here.

Other Nice to Have Items

There are a few more items that are nice to have. Some of those include lint free wipes, cuticle oil, hand cream, toothpicks, and dip liquid replacement brushes (if you have crappy liquids that get contaminated easily).

Lint free wipes are perfect for wiping excess activator off before top coat

Need suggestions on some good dip powder brands to try? Check out our dip powder shop the You Can Do Nails Boutique where we stock unique dip powders from 10+ amazing small companies!