As someone who has a standing DIY mani appointment on her couch every Sunday, I know the peril of finishing what looks to be a perfect paint job, and then ruining it with the slightest move. Sure there are products that help fix an innocent smudge, but let’s face it, that one nail never looks quite the same. Here, two top experts spill their tricks for speeding up your dry time to avoid messing up your just-polished nails.
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1. Celebrity manicurist Bethany Newell says to use a drying spray (she likes Demert Nail Enamel Dryer, $4) between coats, but not after the top coat so you don’t dull the shine.
2. After you apply the top coat, wait a few minutes and then run your hands under cold water or dip them into a bowl of ice water—don’t use soap and only dry your hands on the palm side.
3. Be patient! “Wait a full 10 minutes and do absolutely nothing with your hands,” says Essie celebrity manicurist Michelle Saunders. “It’s much harder than it sounds, but that’s where patience comes in. I’ve actually set a timer for my clients and they’re not allowed to get up during that time! It’s really important to do this for a longer-lasting manicure because if you ding the tip of a wet nail, thats the surest place it will start chipping first.”
4. “Sometimes, if you’re in a real pinch, you can use a blow-dryer on the cool setting to dry your nails,” says Newell.
5. After your nails have set for about five minutes, use your favorite quick-drying nail oil. Saunders recommends Essie Quick-E Drying Drops, which leave a slick surface on the nails that can help avoid dings or clings. Newell adds, “If you don’t have nail oil on hand, try using cooking oil—grapeseed, olive or coconut oil—which I’ve found to be a nice solution.”