How to Dry Nail Polish Fast and Without Smudges
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 Instas to post, you can’t afford to be digitally sidelined for long. So 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. Invest in a Quick-Dry Nail Polish
Trade your usual top coat for a quick-dry version, says Liang, who favors longtime InStyle Best Beauty Buy award winner Seche Vite ($10; ulta.com). For extra insurance, invest in drops, like Liang’s favorite, Essie’s Quick-E Drying Drops ($15; kohls.com), formulated with special resins to speed up dry time. Apply just a droplet to each nail after your top coat for best results.