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You paint your nails. You marvel at how well you did. You blow on them. You add a second coat. You blow on them again. You gracefully wave your hands back and forth. You check whether they’re dry. You smear all your hard work.
Sound familiar? We’ve all been there. So once you’ve perfected the at-home manicure, how can you keep your nail polish looking perfect?
Here are our four easy tips for how to dry nail polish fast.
1. Chill out To some degree, we all know that the cold helps harden nail polish, otherwise we wouldn’t wave our hands around trying to get cool air on them for faster drying. But there’s a really simple way to take that concept to the next level for even quicker drying: giving your nails a cold water bath. Not only is it super easy, it’s also highly effective.
Step 1 Fill a bowl with cold water and a few ice cubes. You don’t want it to be unbearably cold, but you do want it to be closer to Arctic than lukewarm. Make sure the bowl is big enough to submerge all ten fingertips at once.
Step 2 Paint your nails – with either one or two coats as normal – and let them air dry for about one minute. You want the paint to be set enough so it doesn’t move around when you dunk your nails. You’re just trying to reach that stage where the paint is tacky but secure.
Step 3 Submerge all ten nails in the cold water bath for two to three minutes. When you take them out, you should notice the water bead up on the top of the polish as it runs off your fingers. This is how you know you’re all set. Simply dry off and you’re good to go.
Bonus tip: If you’re having a hard time removing chipped polish, use the opposite method to ease the process. A short dunk in warm water will help to loosen up stubborn polish for a far easier nail polish removal session.
2. Lighten up If cold water submersion techniques aren’t for you, consider the art of layering. People often layer on thick coats of nail polish thinking that they’ll cover more ground, but if you’re looking to shorten your drying time, consider using thinner layers of paint. Choosing a highly pigmented colour, like L’Oréal Paris Color Riche Le Vernis a L’Huile, will help ensure that a thin layer doesn’t mean an uneven application. Simply wipe the applicator brush on the inside of the nail polish bottle to remove excess paint and apply in thin, even coats. Wait a couple of minutes, then apply a final coat if needed. It may feel counterintuitive and as though you’re extending your drying time, however it actually cuts time by half in the long run.
3. Get breezy If you’ve ever had a salon manicure, you’ll know that they often use fans at the end to help speed up the process. The at-home version? Your trusty hair dryer. The key to using a hair dryer to set nail polish is simply to use it on the cool setting. As you will have read above, heat works against you in keeping your freshly painted polish in place.
Simply paint your nails and then, holding the dryer about six inches away from your hand, apply the cool air for about a minute. Gently tap your nail to see if it’s still at all tacky and apply more air as needed. For multiple coats? Use this method between each to really add nail polish staying power.
4. Choose wisely We all have certain nail polish shades we’re attached to, but when looking for new colours, opt for quick drying formulas. Colours like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Nail range offer gel-like finishes (with top coat included!).
All it takes is a two-coat application and a quick swipe of top coat for a hard, gel-like finish that lasts for up to 12 days without chips or cracks.