As a busy mom, finding time for a nail appointment is an impossible task, and as a result, I’m often relegated to bare nails. But, thanks to the latest innovations in quick-dry polish—they really do dry, completely, in one minute or less—I’m able to look pulled together in a flash for a big Zoom presentation or date night. These are seven polishes to try when you’re in a pinch.
Olive & June Quick Dry Polish ($7.50 each)
Available in 19 shades plus a high-shine topcoat—my favorite is a creamy light pink called Pointe—this vegan, 15-free polish dried in about a minute and lasted almost five days for me, and I wash my hands a lot. According to the brand, it’s the longest-lasting quick-dry polish on the market and stays on nails 45-percent longer than similar products.
This is one of those products that should be in everyone’s cabinet for those times when you need to look put together for a Zoom meeting, a selfie, or whatever else!
Revlon Ultra HD Snap Nail Polish ($8.50)
Revlon says you only need one coat of this quick-dry polish, and I couldn’t agree more—it’s that creamy and pigmented. Available in 24 shades, from fiery orange to military green (one of my personal favorites for fall/winter), it’s vegan, 20-free, made with 78-percent naturally derived ingredients and botanicals (including spinach, avocado and green tea!), and dries in seconds flat.
essie expressie ($10)
A 2020 NewBeauty Award Winner, this polish is 100-percent vegan, 8-free (no formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde resin, camphor, ethyl tosylamide, xylene, triphenyl phosphate) and dries in 60 seconds. It also comes in 48 shades, which is the biggest shade range I’ve seen in this category. This pretty pink is called “Crave the Chaos.”
Sally Hansen Insta-Dri ($5.50)
This best-selling quick-dry polish—it dries in 60 seconds—has a built-in base coat and topcoat and comes in 38 shades. The collection also contains glitter-infused shades, like Powerslide (black with white sparkles, which is a great holiday hue) and Confetti Pop (pink with rainbow sparkles).
Our 2021 NewBeauty Award Winner for “Best Quick-Dry Nail Polish,” Speedy Gloss dries in just 45 seconds and comes in several on-trend pinkish-white shades that flatter all skin tones. This hot-pink “No Bad Days In Nottinghill” shade pictured is a best-seller.
With a dry-time clocking in just 30 seconds, this is the fastest-drying of the bunch I’ve tested, and claims to last for up to five days (I get about three). It also features a built-in base coat and topcoat and super high-shine, making it a no-brainer for on-the-go and no-frill at-home manis. My favorite shade of the 18 is Ballerina Dropout (pictured), which is classic and universal.
For those who like a little shimmer, this Ice Ice Cherry Quick Bliss polish from Sinful Colors dries in a minute and is infused with cherry oil to protect nails from breakage. It currently only comes in six shades, but we’re hoping the brand adds more, because the formula is super glossy and lasts (after two coats)—no base coat or topcoat needed.
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