Ain't nobody got time to be waiting around.

By Dianna Mazzone
Updated Aug 15, 2020 @ 2:00 pm
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Painting Red Nails Lead
Credit: Getty Images

You’ve successfully applied two coats of Essie's Wicked without spilling or turning your cuticles bordeaux. Well done! Now all you’ve got to do is sit still long enough for your nail polish to dry.

But when there are emails to write, texts to be sent, and Instagram photos to post, you can’t afford to be digitally sidelined for long.

That's why we tapped New York City-based manicurist Liang for his tricks to make nail polish dry faster.

1. Get a Blowout — for Your Mani

The cool-shot button on your dryer can do more than seal your hair's cuticles — it can set nail polish, too. “It’s probably the most effective way to dry nails fast,” says Liang, who notes that hot air actually prevents polish from hardening.

Blast that chilly air about six inches from your nail beds for about a minute. Then gently tap nails to gauge if they’re still tacky.

2. Take a Dip in Cold Water

Now that we know cold air helps polish harden, employ the same cool principle with water: Dip wet nails into a bowl of cold H2O, says Liang. (Just be sure to wait at least a minute before doing so to allow your polish to set preliminary.)

A two-minute dunk should dry nails to the point that you can go about your business as normal.

3. Try Quick-Dry Drops

Give your nails a few minutes of drying time, then apply one to two drops of dry drops to each nail, and voilà! Just make sure to tip your hands so the formula covers the entire nail. Within five minutes, you'll have a rock hard mani that won't smudge.

There are a few different brands that offer dry drops, but we love Essie's Quick-e Drying Drops as well as Zoya's Fast Drops.

VIDEO: The 10 Best Nail Polish Colors of Summer 2020

4. Invest in a Quick-Dry Nail Polish

If you can't get your hands on any drops, switch your usual top coat for a quick-dry version, says Liang, who favors longtime InStyle Best Beauty Buy award winner Seche Vite.

5. Grab Some Oil

Get some baby oil, or even cooking spray, and apply a layer of oil on top of your nails. In about a minute or two, you should have a dry finish.

The oil essentially works by soaking into the polish and thinning out the paint. Once you see it starting to bead a the top of your nail, you can gently (and safely) wipe it off with a tissue.