The latest trend in nails, SNS–Signature Nail Systems, also known as “dip” isn’t exactly new. Steady growth over the last two years is likely due to claims that its safer for your health and easier to apply than other nail techniques. Acrylic, gel and shellac, move over. I was ready to take the plunge.

Over the years, I’d shelled out dollars for a miracle in a bottle. DermaNail, Nailtuques, Sally Hansen and OPI Nail Envy did nothing for my brittle, paper thin nails. Over the last 20-some years, I migrated from acrylic to gel to shellac with many nail- breathing breaks in between. But like hair color, once I dove in, it was hard to go without. Having nails that didn’t rip, tear or chip became an addiction.

Is SNS Healthier?

The salon I chose for my foray into SNS had one nail technician trained in the process. Her face mask made conversing somewhat difficult, but what she communicated with ease was that SNS was “healthier.” The SNS technique does not use the drying lamp. I had obvious concerns with the UV lights, given the number of years my nails had been subjected. In recent years, more attention has been paid to the possible risks of the UV radiation emitted from the drying lamps, the types of lights (LED, fluorescent), as well as the person’s genetics and sensitivity to light.

Saving Money?

The process began with filing, a clear polish coat, dipping and shaking off. Repeat. And repeat. After the third polish, dip and shake, I wasn’t sure I liked what looked like a matte finish. But I wasn’t done— the last coat held the shine. I loved the way they looked.

  • They had taken a few minutes longer, but my nails dried on their own.
  • They weren’t thick, the way some acrylic or gel nails sometimes look.
  • They looked natural.

The cost was $50, more than what I had paid for shellac, gel or acrylic, but the tradeoff is that SNS nails are supposed to last longer.

Weighing the Pros and Cons

I have done SNS twice now and the jury is out. I like that the nails last longer, but they definitely are thicker than shellac. Both of my daughters tried dip nails before I did. What they loved most, in addition to the lack of UV lights? They are both going into week four without so much as a chip. That’s some staying power.