Pro Logic: Quick-Dry Nail Polish Tips to Avoid Annoying Bed Sheet Marks! Friday 04 January, 2013
After one too many run-ins with my bed sheets, I’ve decided to turn to a pro manicurist to find out how to make my fresh manicure retain it’s glossy finish all night long.
I’m a self-polisher by nature. Rather than hit a salon for a professional manicure (like I should because, let’s face it, they do a much better job), I’ll sit and swipe each layer of polish with serious concentration. Why do I skip the salon? Not because I don’t want to go—I do—but I think it boils down to a lack of time. I’m so often skedaddling to events or typing my hours away, I just forget to take care of myself in that way.
Because of this, when I do polish my nails, it’s at night—late at night. Like, during Project Runway (9 p.m., EST). And, though I know bedtime is just a few short hours away, I need to fit in that manicure. I can’t have chipped nails. Not these days.
Each time I finish coating my nails in lush lacquer, I sit back and admire my polish job—I polish a pretty mean nail, if I do say so myself. Conceited? Nah. I admire the fruits of my labor immediately after I administer that last swipe of top coat for one simple reason: I know I only have a few hours to look at my polish job in it’s most pristine state—hyper-glossed with not so much as a nick. Why’s that? Because come morning time, my perfectly lacquered nails now brandish bed-sheet marks—and tons of them.
A recent polish job using one of my favorite Spring 2013 nail polish hues (L’Oréal Paris Not a Cloud in Sight—a beautiful, creamy, full-coverage turquoise) left me near tears. That high-shine finish? Dulled with sheet indentations that are the opposite of “cool texture.” I didn’t want to remove the nail lacquer—I just polished them, for chrissakes!—so instead I covered my tracks with a few artful swipes of a holographic polish (Color Club Halo Hues Angel Kiss). But I was miffed—miffed to the point of action. Miffed to the point of wanting to squelch this problem, once and for all. So I turned to manicurist Shirley Cheng and begged her for some pointers.
(Here’s my botched manicure, made better with some artful color-blocking using Color Club Halo Hues Angel Kiss.)
First, Shirley set me straight. “Polish can take up to three hours to fully dry. Within an hour, it’s dry enough to do everyday things, like typing or handling money,” she says. OK, so my typical two hours of dry time isn’t cutting it. Point taken. “Polish can take even more time to dry if it’s thick or opaque. More pigmented polishes take a bit longer to dry,” she adds. Well, then: I always use thick, creamy polishes—but I’m not giving them up.
Not all is lost, Shirley assures me. If I follow some simple rules, I can awake to mirror-like nails. Here, she offers her best quick-dry tips, which she swears takes your dry time from three hours to just 15 minutes (plenty of time before hitting the sheets!).
“To avoid smudges and sheet marks, ensure each layer is thin, especially the base coat,” Shirley says. “Two or three thin coats is better than one thick coat. Polish thickens as it is exposed to air, so if it’s too thick, use another color. The first layer should be slightly transparent.”
If you want thinner layers, you need to give your bottle some TLC. “To keep polish thin and in it’s original consistency, make sure to clean the neck of the bottle after each use,” Shirley says.
Before you blast your nails with a hot blow-dryer in a last-ditch attempt for a quick solution, Shirley says step away from the heat. “Avoid heat while waiting for your nails to dry. It slows the drying process and can make your polish bubble. Also make sure to let each coat dry in between.”
“Don’t put your hands in ice water,” Shirley warns of this oft-used trick. “That doesn’t actually work.”
“Quick-dry top coats are your best friend! Lately, I’ve been loving Floss Gloss Gloss top coat,” Shirley shares. “It’s fast-drying, super-glossy and three-free (unlike cult favorite Seche Vite), and comes in an adorable bottle with an amazing brush!”
“In addition to quick-dry top coat, use quick-drying drops,” Shirley says. Her go-to: Qtica Half-time Polish Drying Accelerator. “Drops with a thinner consistency work best. They penetrate through the layers of polish and help the polish evaporate quicker,” she says. Or, try a few drops of cuticle oil. “A thin cuticle oil will work in a pinch. The oil will add a bit of moisture back into your cuticles and act as an extra layer of protection,” she says.
Now that you’ve followed Shirley’s foolproof steps, how do you truly know you can go about your business (which for me means: hit the sheets!). “To determine if your nails are dry enough to go to bed or go about your day, lightly touch two nails together. When you can’t feel any tackiness, your nails are dry!” she exclaims.
Of course, if the mani gods still don’t answer your quick-dry prayers, Shirley offers up this trick (which I use often): “If all else fails, use glitter. It hides the imperfections and gives your nails an extra sparkle.”
Do you have any quick-dry tips for nail polish jobs? Sound off in the comments!