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Get the Perfect Manicure in No Time With These Tips

An at-home manicure is great — but sometimes, this wellness routine needs a speed boost. You don’t want to risk smudging those semi-dry nails as you leave for that important event or climb into bed to watch a movie. 

While drying time depends on your nail polish, a long-lasting, full-color manicure requires multiple coats. Typically, it takes an hour for nails to dry completely. But there are ways to dry nails quicker, no matter the product — and learning how to dry nails fast ensures you get the perfect manicure.

October 28, 2022
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5 tips for drying nails fast

Here’s how to dry nails at home — fast. The fastest way to dry nail polish is to use a combination of these methods to maximize impact.

  1. Cold water. After the polish has dried for a few minutes and feels tacky, run your nails under cold water. You can also dip your nails in a bowl of cold water and ice. This hardens the polish to make the drying process faster.
  2. Use a hair dryer with cool air. Fan your nails with cool air from your blow dryer — this replicates the nail dryers at the salon. 
  3. Quick-dry drops. These drops from ZOYA dry your nails in minutes. Apply a drop to the base of your nail and spread it evenly.
  4. Olive oil. Spread tiny drops of olive oil evenly on your nails, including the cuticles.
  5. Apply thinner layers of polish. Thick globs of nail polish dry slower than thin coats. If you want dry nails fast, gently drag the polish brush on the side of the bottle to remove excess polish, and apply it evenly to your nail. Give it time to dry before starting the next layer.

To ensure a speedy dry time, use quick-drying nail polish. These are designed to dry in minutes, saving you time and stress. Here are our favorite fast-drying nail polishes. 

  • JINsoon Ardor Nail Polish. JINsoon polishes are made with quick-dry formulas, so every color and style you can imagine is within reach without waiting forever. 

People also ask

What are the different types of nail polish?

  • Standard nail polish is typically applied at home and lasts 5–7 days. 
  • Quick-dry polish is differentiated by its dry time, which is shorter than your usual polish. 
  • Gel polish is an alternative to acrylic nails and regular polish. The gel is set under a UV or LED lamp, and the result is a chip-resistant, ultra-glossy manicure that lasts weeks. Gel manicures are available in most salons, or you can do it yourself with an at-home gel kit
  • Acrylics and press-on nails are alternatives to nail polish — a salon can create custom acrylics for you, or you can apply both types at home

Why should I use a topcoat?

A top coat adds gloss, protects your manicure from chipping, and makes it last longer. Some top coats also speed up the drying process. 

To use a top coat, let your polish dry slightly and then apply a thin layer. If the color polish isn’t semi-dry, the color could transfer to the top coat brush and add color to your top coat.

How do you fix a smudged nail?

There’s nothing more frustrating than filing your nails and painting the perfect nail art, then smudging them while waiting for them to dry. If you make a mistake on your first coat of polish, you may be able to cover it with another coat, but this only works if the smudge doesn’t produce a dent in the polish.

If you see a smudge after several layers of nail polish, or to an unsalvageable extent, the easiest way to fix it is to take a cotton swab with nail polish remover and remove all the polish on the nail. Using a cotton swab rather than a cotton ball will make cleaning the polish from the smudged nail easier without accidentally removing the polish from your other nails. 

Re-paint the newly cleaned nail and let it dry. While it may be time-consuming to start over, trying to cover a noticeable mistake with globs of nail polish will only cause more problems.

If you’ve smudged your nail polish while doing something more impact-heavy, like breaking a nail, first treat the broken nail before dealing with the smudged polish. 

Step up your manicure game

The perfect manicure doesn’t have to take forever — if you’re on a tight schedule, speed up the drying process and enjoy long-lasting, smudge-free nails. 

For more manicure tips and tricks, check out Flip's product reviews. Our community shares their favorite products and beauty secrets, so you can create salon-quality manicures from home.

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