I Swear by This Underrated $10 Manicure Essential That Dries My Nails in Just 5 Minutes

I depend on it for a smudge-free finish.

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Underrated Manicure Essential
Amazon / InStyle.

IMO, perfectly polished nails — in all their glossy, streak-free splendor — make for a good day. The converse is also true: Smudged nails sour my mood (and bare nails feel equally glum). As someone whose internal clock perpetually seems to run 30 minutes behind, I’ve smudged countless DIY manicures mid-scramble. In my haste to feel polished prior to leaving my apartment, I’ve typically ended up with nothing but a mess on my hands.

The OPI Drip Dry Lacquer Drops have single-handedly saved me from smudges. When applied to your finished, wet manicure, the drops expedite the polish-drying process thanks to solvents that evaporate components of the polish without disrupting the visible sheen or color of the polish itself. IMO, the product is a seriously underrated necessity for anyone who paints their own nails, especially given its formula packed with skin-conditioning ingredients like jojoba and vitamin E, which soften dry cuticles for a nice side of TLC. 

OPI Drip Dry Lacquer Drying Drops


Shop now: $10; amazon.com

OPI Drip Dry Lacquer Drying Drops significantly enhance the speed at which nail polish dries, thus reducing the risk of accidentally smudging a fresh manicure while it’s still wet. Nail polish on its own typically dries in around 15 minutes, but with the Dry Drops, you can cut about 10 minutes off of waiting time. According to the brand, the drops “dry nails to the touch in one minute,” and, within five minutes, render polish “completely dry,” at which point they’re impervious to smearing. 

As far as how to use Drip Dry, consider it the final part of a DIY paint job. In other words,  apply them after you’ve layered your base coat, color polish(es), and top coat. (Sidenote: thin layers are always best from a drying perspective, both generally speaking and in terms of using Drip Dry.)

Applying the drops is a million times easier than applying nail polish. The formula dispenses via a dropper-style pipette, dropping in single, neat beads of liquid. In my experience, a single drop per nail suffices for short to medium nail-lengths, and for longer nails, two drops works best. After dropping the product onto each individual nail (which takes approximately 10 seconds), I wait about 60 seconds before resuming any sort of movement. After five minutes, I’m entirely free to sift through a drawer in search of a specific red lipstick, wrestle into a sports bra, or  even clasp my own necklace without pulling my boyfriend out of a very important work call in the other room. 

Shoppers swear by the Drip Dry drops, too. One reviewer who tends to paint their nails before bed calls the drops “magic,” as they wake up to smooth manicures instead of pillow-creased polish. Another shopper, who was initially skeptical of the product’s claims, reports that “it actually works,” adding, “I can’t imagine not having it now…trust me, it’s life-changing!”

I wholeheartedly agree. For $10, this product has saved me ample time and frustration and allowed for the glossy, fresh manicures I love. If you paint your nails at home, I implore you to shop the OPI Drip Dry Drops; fewer smudges, less stress, and more shiny manicures lie ahead, even for those of us who tend to scramble.

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