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I'm what a lot of people would call "high maintenance". I put makeup on every day, I watch my weight, I do my hair, I get Botox and chemical peels, and I love getting my nails done. All of these things let me be my best self, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. That said, when I heard about the "at home dipping" trend, I decided to check it out. That led me to Peppi Gel and Kiara Sky, two popular at-home nail-dipping systems. (read more)
NAIL DIP POWDER ALLERGIC REACTION VIDEO
If you'd like to watch me talk about this instead of reading it, here's a video. I'm sick in the first part, and I need to point out that this sickness (allergy) seems to get progressively worse for me. So, if you're suffering with this, please take it seriously.
I'm not great at painting my nails, but I always thought it was because I never took the time to get good at it. After all, nail polish on me lasts a few days at best, a few hours at worst, so it wasn't (and still isn't) worth the time or effort. Also, I have a thumbnail that has apparently been injured at some point in my life because when it gets even slightly longer than my nail bed it cracks right down the middle. It snags on everything and can be quite painful if the crack gets too deep.
When I discovered "dipping" in my local nail salon, I was over the moon. It was the first time any nail polish had the ability to stay on for an extended period (forever, until I take it off) and strengthen my thumbnail enough to keep it from cracking.
That was a few years ago, and I've been getting my nails dipped ever since.
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So when I saw the Peppi Gel ads start popping up in my Facebook news feed, I was intrigued. If I could do this at home I could save myself a lot of money. Some quick math told me that I was spending about $1500 a year getting my nails done. That was with getting my hands done every three weeks, my toes done three or four times a year, and tipping each time I go.
I can paint my toenails at home, that's never been a problem, but I figured since I was at the salon anyway, I might as well have them take care of it.
Peppi Gel advertised a starter kit for $64.99 on their website, so it didn't take much convincing for me to get on board. I had already purchased a different brand of dipping powder kit (we'll talk about that further down), but I was so impressed with the Peppi Gel support group that I just really wanted to be a part of their clan. I made my purchase and waited eagerly for my kit to come in.
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At this point I had already ordered the Kiara Sky French Starter Kit on Amazon (I have a problem with waiting for regular mail, so the two day Amazon Prime thing really floats my boat) and applied my first at home dip. It turned out really nice, and I was very happy with the product. Still, I liked the Peppi group on Facebook a lot, so I was pretty certain I'd be switching over if Peppi was half as good.
Here was my first Kiara Sky dip. You'd never know I didn't have it done in a salon.
WE'RE REVAMPING OUR KID'S ALLOWANCE WITH THE GREENLIGHT DEBIT CARD FOR KIDS
ALLERGIC TO DIP POWDER NAILS
Anyhow, the big day came, my Peppi Gel kit arrived, and I quickly removed my old manicure and got ready to apply a gorgeous orange manicure with a really pretty gold accent nail.
The directions were easy to understand, and application went smoothly, no problems at all. It wasn't until later than night that I started to feel unwell, and it wasn't until two applications later that I realized the reason I was feeling so bad was because I was having an allergic reaction to dip nails.
Your symptoms may be different than mine, but here's what my allergic reaction to dip powder looked like for me:
* Onset of symptoms within 6-8 hours of application
* Irritated lungs, cough, mucus
* A lot (I mean abnormally so) of sneezing, snot, etc.
* Watery/itchy eyes
* Just in general feeling miserable
And, since I am asthmatic, it also meant I began having asthma attacks even though I generally use my inhaler only once or twice a year.
Still, I didn't put two and two together. I figured there was something in the air or that I was getting sick. I grabbed my bottle of Zinc lozenges and started taking them every four hours to ward off whatever bug I seemed to have contracted. What I did NOT think was that I was allergic to dip powder.
Turns out, it's not the powder.
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After three days, the symptoms went away and I forgot all about it until a couple of weeks later when I removed my manicure and put on a new one. I did another french manicure, this time still using the Kiara Sky powder that came with the starter kit, but using the binding agents that came in my Peppi Gel kit.
Once again, it went without a hitch, the manicure looked great, and I was happy. Until that night, when once again my allergic reaction to dip nails reared its ugly head, and I got extremely sick. If anything, I felt worse than the last time, and I spent three days feeling miserable. Still, I didn't equate the manicure with the illness.
A few more weeks went by and I once again removed the manicure so I could do my nails for a Disney trip my mother and I were taking. I had some super cute overlays I'd purchased on Etsy, and I covered those with a clear powder from Kiara Sky and used Peppi's binding agents once again.
The nails turned out adorable, and I got sick, two days before my trip. By now the dip nail allergy was becoming very apparent.
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This time, something clicked in my brain. I went to the Peppi group and did a search for "allergy". Turns out, there are a ton of women in there who have the same problem. You'll see all sorts of search terms when you Google it, as well:
allergy to dip nails
allergy to powder dip nails
can you be allergic to dip nails
nail dip powder allergic reaction
dip nail polish allergy
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They're all listed, and more. Apparently this is a fairly common occurance.
While I wasn't in love with the idea of using Peppi anymore, I did really want to see if their suggestions worked, so I committed myself to trying some of their fixes for the problem.
First off, I purchased a mask, a particle mask, just in case I was being bothered by the powder and not the binders. It looked like something you'd wear while doing some heavy duty work on your house, tearing up sheetrock or something. It wasn't a big expense, easily purchased on Amazon, and I figured if I didn't end up using them, my husband could use them while mowing the lawn.
I will say this mask helped a little. I still got sick, but it was much less severe and lasted only a day or two. Still, I didn't want to get sick at all, so I went a little further.
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The next mask I purchased was exactly like the ones I'd seen the nail techs use at my local salon. I looked through the reviews and actually saw some ladies comment that they purchased the mask to use while dipping their nails, and that it did keep them from getting sick.
The Muryobao mask was good quality and came with 6 filters which were easily tucked into the mask whenever one needed to be changed.
I looped it over my ears, went to my well ventilated room, turned on a fan, and got to work.
Six hours later, my chest was feeling a bit irritated, but only about 10% as much as without the mask. I still sneezed for a couple of days, but it was nothing like before. Perhaps, were I not asthmatic, I wouldn't be so sensitive to it, but I am, and it is what it is.
I really wanted no symptoms at all after doing my nails, so once again I went back to the Peppi group.
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Their last suggestion was a full on gas mask, I'll post a picture below, but you probably already know what I'm talking about. Not a mask that will remove some fumes and particles, but a mask that is meant to filter all fumes, complete with cartridges that you can replace, etc.
I'm going to be honest, I don't want to wear something like this while I do my nails, but I want even less to go back to the salon, because dipping at home just saves me SO MUCH money.
I don't have the gas mask yet, it'll be here in a day or so, and I'll update this post once I've used it.
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Half-Face Gas Mask
Well, this was my last ditch effort, obviously. I'm not sure there's any way to get more filtration for the air I was breathing while dipping my nails. The mask worked great, fabulous, no issues AT ALL.
It was very easy to breathe in, which was my biggest concern. I didn't find it claustrophobic or stuffy. So, in a nutshell, it worked.
But, there are cons, of course. First and foremost, this thing is large and cumbersome. It leaves a mark on your face, you have to make sure it's tight and that the gasket is sealed.
Second, you have to buy refill cartridges every 40 hours or so. If a manicure takes you an hour, this mask will last a long time, but you will need to buy refills.
Ty's At Home Nail Dipping List
If you'd like to see everything I use to do my nails at home, feel free to check out my Amazon list. Just click the button below.
PEPPI GEL ALTERNATIVES
You may or may not have the exact same reaction to other products. When I wrote this post, I could have sworn I was symptom free on my first dip, which was with Kiara Sky. However, after I wrote the post and went to verify that I really did not have an allergic reaction to Kiara Sky, I did my nails with their powder and binders, without any face mask at all, and I am currently as sick as I have ever been.
That said, if you're going to dip at home (while taking the correct precautions) and you're looking for a Peppi Gel alternative, let me recommend Kiara Sky. It's a great product, with the bonus that you can purchase the kits and powders on Amazon with free two day shipping and easy returns. The manicure looks great, and I like that they include a brush saving liquid and a cuticle oil in the kit as well. If you get the French Manicure kit, it also comes with a dipping tray so you can make perfect smile lines.
For me, the biggest difference in Kiara Sky vs Peppi Gel is that Kiara Sky is much more user friendly. Peppi Gel has a list about a mile long of things you need to do exactly in order to get a good manicure and not screw up your brushes. Kiara Sky isn't like that, and still delivers, which means less of a headache for me.
Apparently, no matter what I do I'm going to be wearing a half-face gas mask, so I may as well use the product that has less of a learning curve.
They offer a few different starter kits, from french to colors, and they have a great group on Facebook that regularly offers tutorials and has moderators that are quick to answer questions.
So, if you are having a Peppi Gel allergy and you're looking for an alternative, definitely check out Kiara Sky. Maybe you'll get lucky and you won't be allergic to another brand.
There's the color starter kit.
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Here's the French Manicure Starter Kit.
A FEW OTHER THINGS
These are a few things that make my at home dip manicures easier, so I thought I'd share them.
First up, a small Melody Susie nail drill. This is great for smoothing out your dip coats before applying your shine, and is also quite good for new dippers who get too close to the cuticle. It makes clean up easy and helps your nails look fantastic.
And, at under $20, it's a great price.
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These Dashing Diva nail guards are a life saver. You put them on after you lightly buff and prep your nail, then apply the dip over the nail guard. When it's time to remove the nail guard, you simply push up an edge, apply a little bit of adhesive remover, and pop the dip off your nail.
This saves you from having to use acetone, ever. No more cotton balls, baggies, sticky fingers and endless wait times. I'll post a video below of me putting the nail guards on, and one of me removing my nail guards. It's simple.
NAIL GUARDS - APPLICATION AND REMOVAL
Applying the nail guards is simple and takes much less time than you'd spend removing your dip nails with acetone. Removal is also simple. I demonstrate both in this video.
I hate that you're having a nail dip powder allergic reaction like I was, and I really hope this post has helped you with some ideas to fix it, or alternatives, if you're just allergic to home dip nails in general.
If you have any questions, please let me know. I'm happy to help if I can.
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