SNS Nails

sns nails| the pros and cons

Self care. Much like we are embracing the word NO as being a full sentence, I’m hoping the broken record like mentions of self care in our mom spaces will eventually help us to understand that the mere level of such abilities to juggle like a million things at once will make us understand how important it is to find that one thing for ourselves and do it. Often.

This year I pondered over what would be my non negotiable when it came to self care in 2016. I don’t care for the hair salon, I love clothes but I’m not a big shopper so I pondered and pondered on that one thing that would be affordable and convenient and I came up with keeping my nails done. As a reformed nail polish hoarder, I no longer have a desire to do my own nails so I decided to sign up for bi-weekly visits to the nail salon. My sister visits Hyannis nail salon all the time and her nails always look great, so I thought I’d try it for myself.

At just a month in I am hooked. Something about looking down at my nails as I type or drive makes me happy. After having tried manicures with my real nails that barely lasted for a few days and having gel done in the past and not caring for the light used to dry them or the thickness I decided to try the SNS nails option at the recommendation of a mom at the kids school. SNS stands for Standard Nail System

Got in the nail salon and didn’t have a clue what the process looked like for SNS nails but I liked hers so decided to give it a whirl and I am hooked.

Basically SNS is supposed to be a natural and healthy alternative to gels and acrylics. It overlays over your real nails no matter how short and consists of putting a clear top coat on your nails and then dipping them in a colored powder, that process is repeated twice. Your nails are then filed and evened out before a gel coat seals in everything.

The end result lasts for two weeks with amazing shine and no lifting. Sure you could stretch to 3 weeks but how my self care regimen is set up I’m on a bi weekly schedule….for now.

I love this process so much, here is a little more on my pros and cons.

SNS Pros:

  • Two minute drying time with no light
  • End product is very thin. Feels like your real nails
  • Minimal filing down of your real nails
  • The vitamin E and calcium in the powder strengthens your real nails

    SNS Cons:

  • More expensive. Unlike gels or acrylic there is no such thing as a fill in, the color has to be soaked off every time. I pay $25 each time.
  • Takes longer than other nail options
  • It is hard to gauge how the color will turn out as it is in a powder form. You have to rely on the nail dummy instead of seeing the actual color in a nail polish bottle.

I hope you are practicing some form of self care this year. If you are not please find that thing or things to satisfy yourself.

Do you keep your nails done?


About the author
Mom, wife and friend. I moonlight as a cooker, baker, laundry folder and organizer. I like to think I do it in style. Unlikely Martha is my contribution to the internet in helping women "Keep House and Stay Fly!"


  1. Never heard of this procedure, but your nails look great!

    I am a polish hoarder and I do my own nails – every Sunday night. I love doing them.

    I made a similar self care pledge this year. I now have my locs washed and re twisted (at Walmart!) once a month and it has been marvelous.

  2. I’m all about that quick drying time. Gel manicures here cost more than $25 so I’d be saving money with this option. I’ve never heard of SNS nails. Your nails look natural and that’s what I love about gel manicures. One of my goals for this year was to stay on top of my nail care and at least polish them regularly.
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  3. I just started getting my nails done last year , after years of doing them myself. I absolutely love it, I try to get them done when I get a pedicure evryy two or three weeks. I have never heard of SNS but it cheaper than the gel I get down here, so I will be looking into trying them out. I’s just something about doing something for yourself every once in awhile that puts a little more pep in your step:)

  4. I was/am such a nail polish hoarder also. Lately I’ve been getting my nails done too. I’ve never of SNS but I will definitely try it out.
    Your nails look great! Google here I come.

  5. I have been getting French gel, but I don’t like the way they look after about a week. The white tips have taken on another color—pink the first time I had them done and then greyish the second time. They looked dirty. I painted over them myself, but it isn’t lasting.

    Where did you have them done? A friend of my recommended the salon near Publix on Eagle’s Landing. Very reasonably priced.
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    1. Using any type of hand sanitizer will change the color of gel polish, especially white. I found this out the hard way, they turned grey and dirty like I had something sticky on them. My nail salon has been asking me if I am interested in SNS. Based on this, I will give it a try.

    2. If you gel polish is changing color it’s because you nail tech is using cheap product….. Look at the bottle…. Either poi or gellish brand will not turn unless you smoke or tan.
      As for the sins dip it’s a great product and a lot of nail shops are charging more just because they can….

  6. I just got my and manicure today. Love than there is no light cure. Just got squamous cell carcinoma removed from the top of my hand due to use of uv light.
    There are a lot of steps, but it’s just so cool. Seems to be a little less glossy/shiny than gel, but, I like that it’s actually good for Nails, and NO UV LIGHT!!

  7. i just found out about the SNS nail system had it done for first time about two weeks ago due to fact my nail stylist was useing it and her nails looked natural i was using the gel and hated how thick it made my nails look but im in NH and have found out that the SNS here is about ten dollars more then gels but its so dang worth it !

    1. So. Dang. Worth. It!! Indeed looks more natural and while not as shiny I think it totally works and lasts for a good while. I’ve even gone 4 weeks when using natural colors. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. I’m on the second tour of SNS and I love it. But, alas! I hate the color. It was lighter on the model nail. Other than taking it all off, is there anything I can do to change the color ? Color over it maybe ?

    1. I’ve had that happen before and unfortunately that is a down side. When I asked if I could get a polish change she said it would all have to be soaked off and the process started again. Let’s just say I lived with it for two weeks!

    1. Hi i painted over with opi colour turned out fine and can change if wanted too. Use a non acetone based polish remover to remove opi colour….

    2. Yes you can paint over them with your own nail color and top coat. Had see throw nails and didn’t like it because they looked dirty. The acrylics hurt when they filed my nails. Not as much filling.

  9. Just a minor correction to an otherwise great post – there’s no such thing as ‘natural’ or ‘healthy’ when it comes to any system of falsifying nail appearance.


    Because it’s not the products used, it’s the technician who applies them that determines whether nails will ultimately suffer long term damage or not.

    There’s a lot of word play and downright false advertising when it comes to artificial nail products – but in the end, it’s not the product that will determine the condition of your nails; it’s all down to the one who applies them.

    1. True!!!!! I recently started working in a small town ( I went from big nail shop after 10 years) clients are resistant to gel polish or sns because other techs have damaged their nails 🙁

    2. I don’t agree. The SNS is just has hard to come off as acrylic. I don’t know how much it take 30 minuto take the polish off but I tried it and it took me 2 hours. My nails do look good when I get it done.
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  10. I’m always cautious of these new systems, I’m a nail tech and trust me when I say that these companies know how to sell you a product.

    As Shari above said it’s not always the product that can be dangerous but the person applying it.

    I’m a bit worried about “dip” systems if someone is dipping all clients fingers into the same pot of powder. I’m hoping that they are sprinkling it on or using some sanitary method rather than the one that’ll be more cost effective. I say this after having seen help wanted signs accepting untrained and uneducated nail techs and seeing such places closed down for it.

    1. I had one nail lift on my first set, after three weeks. According to the company’s website that happens when you put it on over the cuticle. You should stay a hair’s breath away from the cuticle to prevent this. The salon I go to dremel’s the cuticle before and after application and it hasn’t happened on my current set.

  11. Dont use SNS nails. The acrylic powder caused an allergic reaction on my fingers. The acrylic lifts after a couple of weeks and allows moisture to get in. You know what that means. Now I am going to the doctor to get an ointment to clear it up.

    1. Wow your nails must grow fast! Hope that infection cleared up!
      Maybe try doing them yourself? I like the idea of keeping everything sanitary and I don’t guarantee salons do that 🙂

    2. I am serverly allergic to acrylic and just did a tester on one of my nails with SNS the other day and i didnt have an issue, seems to be nice a secure to no sign of lifting. sorry it didnt work for you are you sure they used SNS ?

  12. I find my nails only lifted when they were too long, I was being too hard to them haha
    Get them done a few times to let your nails grow nicely, then invest in a kit.
    100% do a clear base coat of powder, dark colours are not fun getting out.
    Make sure your hands/the bowl underneath your acetone soak off bowl are warm/hot.

    Planet nails are awesome, pay them a visit.

  13. Unfortunately these cost $50 a set where I live. I tried them once and loved them so may go again soon. But the price…ugh.

  14. I’ve had SNS on and off for a year. Find that the quality is very dependent on the tech – if each dip isn’t smoothed down with a dremel, the end result can feel and look quite thick. That said, I’ve never had acrylics so this is in comparison to my natural nail. The color is the toughest part – powder color doesn’t look at all like the finished product and the color samples aren’t much better. I’ve had a couple of colors come out with a sparkle/shimmer that I didn’t want. Red #268 is a great non-sparkly red. ‘Tis the season.

  15. I am also hooked on SNS nails! I love that there is no UV light! I just wanted to correct one thing on this article. You CAN get them filled. I have my natural nails and have had them filled the past 4 times (which for me means I remove them once every 3.5 months). I love this bc you can avoid much of the acetone removal process. There is a great article on the SNS website on how to do a full if your technician isn’t familiar. So wonderful!

  16. Just be careful ladies – SNS is marketed as not being acrylic, but it is. and it is applied with a substance very similar (look at the ingredients listings) to super glue. The vitamins that SNS mentions are only in the oil that they apply at the end, and is less than 1% calcium and less than 1% vitamin E.

    I own a salon and I do use a dipping system, however as someone mentioned above – with all nail enhancements/polish, everything – it depends on the technician. A nail technician should be able to apply/remove acrylic and gel nails without damaging much of the natural nail.

    Good luck on your nail journeys! 🙂

    1. Ived used SNS for 6 months and noticed by the 3rd month my nails became paper thin. So much for a healthy alternative.

    2. I totally agree. As a nail technician and not a SNS salon yet, I am getting a bit worried after a few clients move to the SNS system one by one. I am very close to decide that I will have to perhaps follow suit with other salons and provide SNS even though I do it against my belief. So much glue is used hence strength and the dipping in the same pot for so many people. In dilemma.

      1. I think since you have to soak off with acetone, anything dangerous would die. Also, nails usually ribbed with alcohol to cleanse, at least where I go, so it’s not something to be too concerned about. If all else fails, ensure each client washes theirs hands before any service is performed …

  17. I love the look but hate the hassle of removing them. Mine lasted 3 weeks and then started breaking and chipping. I clipped and filed them and eventually soaked them off (check out WikiHow). I decided I won’t do this on a routine basis, only for extra special events. I will also find another nail tech. The tech made them so thick and clunky… not a fan of that. She did not dremel them enough.

  18. I use SNS but I have found that my nails have become very soft and the break and peel. I thought the product helped keep nails healthy and strong. Every time I go to get my nails done I debate about not having SNS. Tech talks me into having it done. I love the look. It am afraid my nails are ruined

    1. My nails are the opposite. They are so strong now. I’m afraid to not use the SNS anymore because I know they will break. I am contemplating maybe just trying manicures with my real nails and see how long they last.

  19. Just had SNS done 4 days ago, 2 nails chipped and thumb has a huge crack. Otherwise love the look. Any thoughts why it’s done this, should I go back?

  20. I just tried SNS for the first time a few weeks ago and I love it! I used to do acrylic, but got tired of how heavy they felt. Then I switched over to gel manicures for about 2 years. They look great for the first 5 days or so, but start to chip/peel and my nails weren’t getting any stronger. My salon only charges $30 for SNS, which is just $5 more than I was paying for the gel. Totally worth it!

      1. I pay $35 and it’s really seemed to make my nails stronger. Went 3 weeks with no SNS. Nails didn’t peel or break like they used to prior to SNS. I like the thin look and still have the strength. Acrylic fills here were $40. New set of SNS look better for less.

  21. The first time I got SNS, my nail chipped. I went back and they repaired it for free. I haven’t had the issue again.

  22. Just got them done for the first time today!! In love with it so far! I paid 35$ may need to shop around! I have the most paper thin brittle nails and they were destoyed from years of acrylic overlay! Havent touched my nails in 6 months and you are right, it is important to do something just for you! I feel so much better after nails pedi & brows today! Feel like a new girl!😉

  23. If I have allergies to acrylic, will I have allergies to SNS? I have been using OPI gel for about 6 months, before that I used CND schellac for 4 years or so. Do you think this SNS product will last on me? I have heard that SNS is all natural, is this true?

    1. SNS is not supposed to be acrylic. In my town, a lot of salons use powder dip, but when I started asking, they are not using SNS. Other products are not as good. I actually bought all of the products myself and it is really quite easy to apply. Found an SNS1280-Training Manual online and it gives step by step instructions. I probably invested about $150.00 for all of the supplies, including the several powder colors. That will do lots and lots of manicures! The only salon here that I found that uses SNS product charges $40.00. My first try at home was ok, but my second time I did a lot better. Only use a regular nail file and a buffing file. No electric tools and they turn out just fine. Just want to stay off the cuticles or they will lift. The instructions say 2 hairs from cuticles…lol That will definitely take some practice.

  24. Yes i just got sbs nails todau and love them I’ve getting my nails done for about 9 years and my nails where always feeling weak and i thought about trying the sns today after my acrylic nails started lifting and coming off

    1. HI Linda , i just tried SNS the other day I too suffer servere allergic reactions to acrylic so far so good 🙂

  25. You actually can get fill-ins. I had mine filled in today. Apparently, you can have them filled up to three times.

  26. does anyone else struggle getting the top coat to dry glossy, mine start out glossy for a min or so then dry splotchy??? I tries contacting SNS but no phone call back

  27. I loved my SNS nails but they don’t love me at all!! I’ve developed a severe reaction to the product applied last – like a top coat that sets and shines them. I have awfully painful Littke weeping blisters around each nail which itch all night. I’ve now developed a rash on my neck that I can only assume came from my nails – scratching something in the night. I’ve also developed what I thought was hay fever but it’s all related. Sore eyes and runny nose.
    I contacted SNS in USA to see if they had an alternative product but you know, they couldn’t give a toss!! So now my SNS are gone and mt nails are like paper underneath. I just have to wait I guess for mine to grow again. So do be careful.

    1. Dear Jane:

      I had my nails done for the fourth time with the SNS powder. The previous set lasted only one week because of technician error, I suspect. Up until last friday the SNS nails were removed by soaking a cotton ball in acetone and wrapping the cobbton ball on each finger with tin foil to hold it in place and prevent the acetone from evaporating. The tech last Friday had me soak my finger tips in acetone for about 20 minutes and then began to rub off the old product, dremel a little and then resoak my nails. He did a good job of application, etc, and my nails lok fantastic but by Saturday I had the little water blisters around my cuticles, the tips of my fingers under the nails seemed to be developing cracks like hangnails and yesterday my face brok out with the itchy rash that burns and itches like crazy. My dermatologist is on vacation and I can’t get in to see his partner for a week.

      What did you do to treat your condition?

  28. Has anyone tried the new OPI Powder Perfection line? I’m very curious to see how it compares to SNS in quality and price.

  29. Has anyone experienced a sever sinus reaction from breathing in the dipping powder during application I has this method for the first time 23-hours ago. After 5 hours of application I’ve been experiencing extreme sinus issues–coincidence or something to be concerned about?

    1. Yes, I do my own SNS at home and the first 3-4 times I got severe bronchial issues and wheezing. I now wear a full mask when I do my nails as I was sick for weeks without it. Toxic stuff….be careful.

    2. Severe reaction to doing my own dipping x3! The first couple time I also did a hike the same day/same hike, so I thought it was maybe something blooming – this time/third time, didn’t go on a hike and I could hardly breath for two days, going on my third day of sneezing, wheezing, terribly stuffed nose and runny eyes, but feel like I’m starting to get better. I had nail dipping in the salon without reaction at all, so I agree with other posters, I think it depends on the quality of the product. My husband lives in the house with me, so not doing the mask and exposing him to such toxicity – it’s crazy how messed up my breathing is from wanting nice looking nails!!

      1. When using dip powder or acrylic, the room you’re working in must be ventilated, just like in a nail salon. Whether I’m doing gel or dip nails at home, I open my windows for a breeze in the summer or turn on my hepa air filter during the winter. I never use a drill or file without ventilation either, unless I’m just filing my natural (completely product free) nails.

  30. It is absolutely impossible to contact this company by phone or email. And I understand why!! They claim the product does not yellow. That’s totally false! I get the French and within 2 days my nails are the most horrific shade of yellow!! They are disgusting. This process is not cheap and I might as well throw the $$$$ out the car window! I am one very unsatisfied ex customer!

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  32. Love, love , love it but….. keeping getting nail fungus. Now 12 month in and on my second try, nail fungus again so won’t be going there again, not even sure I want to try anything else now. It is a shame as it is a great product but with dipping you finger in a pot other people have as well, you never know what you will catch.

  33. I love SNS but not the price my alternative is to let them grow out about 3 weeks and then file like acrylic and do a two coats of shellac on top. My nails last 6 weeks this way 🙂 I have shellac kit at home with uv light.

  34. I just want to say – I had an allergic reaction to Gel – it tightened around my nails and caused me so much pain. I tried SNS to a salon friend and it costs $50., lasted two-three weeks, but no pain. There was also a light feeling that the gel didn’t give me. The only down side was that I can’t get any designs because I was told it effected the integrity of the SNS polish. I think if the salon has you wash your hands before dipping – in a powder- it should be safe. If not – there is a coat of polish put on your nails before they even dip your fingers, then a coat of polish and a sealer on top of the dip. I think if the salons don’t want to get into the present, they will lose money on this deal. It costs more than gel, and women from several sites are getting the message that it feels better than gel. To the person who had trouble with it – it may have been the tech. I have had bad ones too, but try someone new before you give up on SNS. It is definitely worth it!

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  36. I got my first SNS manicure almost four weeks ago and, although my nails have grown out way too much at the base, there is not one chip, scratch, or break–and I have been packing books! I love the fumeless process and the color is deep and rich…I got a red sparkle for Christmas. I’m moving in two weeks and I hope I can find an SNS salon in my new town.

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  38. I just got my first application of SNS…$40, 6 layers, and they used the UV light! They asked me how I heard about it and the other employees were watching. He obviously doesn’t know what he was doing…omg, I was a guinea pig!!!

    1. Ugh. How unnecessary! I had this happen once at a salon that claimed to use SNS. Once they had my old SNS polish off, they proceeded to pull out an off brand. I think it was SPS…looked like a DIY label. I went ahead with it because I was traveling for work the next morning and didn’t have time to let regular polish dry (gels are a no no for me). Adhesive was smelly and they used a UV light. My regular manicurist had a heck of a time removing it a week later.

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  41. agree! And I’m envious about your talent for at-home SNS! Every negative experience I’ve had with “SNS” is tied to non-SNS materials. The salon says they use SNS and they don’t. For example, they use the SNS powder but not the brand liquid coats or they use an entirely different line.

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