So you finally finished painting your nails and you proudly look at what you’ve accomplished. There have been no spills and all the coats went on evenly… Now it’s time to play the waiting game. You have to sit long enough for the polish to dry. This process usually takes about 10-15 minutes but sometimes it can feel like forever as time seems to stretch on. Plus if you’ve got chores to do or emails to write, it’s hard not to do something or even scratch an itch without ruining your nails. I mean it seems like even just fanning your fingers seems to create dents and smudge all your hard work.

While the best method is to just sit back and enjoy the whole process sometimes you just need a fast solution. You’ve got things to do and people to see and we totally get it, girl! You’ve come to the right place. We’ve rounded up a list of our favourite tips, tricks and even hacks that will speed up the drying process.

Keep reading to check out a few tips and tricks and avoid a manicure mishap with your wet nails:

1. Choose your colour wisely

If you’re short on time and need your nails to dry fast picking the right colour can be crucial. In this case, picking a lighter colour or even sheer or metallic shade is your best bet because they dry faster with fewer coats. Darker shades sometimes take longer to dry because of the strong pigment. Also by choosing a light sheer shade, you’re likely to make fewer mistakes.

2. Paint thin layers

The most important rule when painting your nails is to go in with thin coats. If you go in with thick layers it’ll take longer to dry and you really don’t want globby polish, do you? Be conscious of how much product is on your brush and remove any excess polish before painting your nails. It may seem like it’s slowing down the process but it makes a huge difference in making the overall drying time faster.

3. Allow time to dry between coats

We’ve all made the mistake of being impatient and just layering on coat after coat. Not waiting for the previous layer to dry before going on with another can increase overall dry time and not to mention create a globby mess. Depending on the formula of the polish you should wait between 2-5 minutes between coats. This makes a world of a difference and will decrease the chance of bubbles forming. Yes, it may take you time to paint but it’s all worth it to avoid any smudging or smearing of your nails.

4. Use a blow-dryer

Salons usually use some sort of fan to help speed up the drying process but if you’re at home any fan will do. But if you’ve got a blow-dryer with a cool setting that works just as well. Remember to hold down the cool button continuously when drying. The warm air can cause bubbles and melt your polish, preventing it from hardening. Blast the cool air a few inches away from your nails for about a minute then gently test to see if they’re still tacky. Keep in mind you don’t want the dryer on full blast either it too can disrupt and dry out the cuticle areas. So remember to keep your settings on the cool temperature and low fan speed.

5. Place your hands in the freezer

Cold air is really the most effective way to solidify the polish faster. If you don’t have a cool setting on your electric fans or blow dryer, try holding your hands in the freezer. I know it’s cold but it’s a great trick and TBH we’ll take any chance to avoid smearing our nails before they’re dry. Hold it in for only around 2 minutes. The cold air will at least help harden the top layer of a polish quicky. Just remember the layers underneath might not be a hundred per cent set so be careful with your tips.

6. Cold water

Yes, another cold method—are you freezing yet? It might seem silly but it’s the oldest trick in the book. As we’ve mentioned before, frigid temperature helps in the drying process and dipping your hands in cold water employs the same principle. Before you start painting your nails fill a bowl with ice cubes and cold water on top. Once your done painting your nails wait for a minute or two for the polish to initially settle and set. Then gently dip your nails in for about a minute. The cold water will shock the formula in place. Remember to let the ice melt a bit or remove any excess cubes so your nails don’t bump into any of them.

7. Quick-dry drops or topcoat

Applying a quick-drying topcoat or quick-dry drops really cuts down the drying time. Adding more product to your nails can seem silly and counter-intuitive but these drops work without dissolving the colour layer under. Luckily we have a variety of these products available to us at the drugstore so we can easily do our nails at home.

8. Fast-drying nail polish

This one pretty self-explanatory. With so much variety available at our fingertips fast drying nail polish has to be one of the best inventions for manicure lovers. So many brands have launched quick-dry nail polish finishes that literally require no extra steps once the polish is dry. Just paint them on and be wowed by how fast they dry. One word of caution though, when investing in this formula always make sure the cap is sealed tight and the bottle is stored carefully otherwise you the run the risk of drying the whole bottle out very quickly.

9. Drip oil on the nails

Another old school hack, just like quick-drying drops the oil works to speed up drying. Olive oil or even baby oil works in pinch and hey it works to hydrate your nails too! Apply a layer of oil on top once your polish has settled a bit. Wait up to 2-3 minutes, gently tap to test the polish then wipe it off with a dry towel. And ta-dah, you should have a dry finish.

10. Finish with a spritz of hairspray

You can get a nail-drying spray at the drugstore that helps your polish set quickly. But if you’ve got some hair spray at home give your nails a quick spritz. Yes, this too helps dry the nail polish faster. However, remember that like a nail-drying spray it only hardens the top layer of polish no the base layer below. So while you can go about your day normally be careful not to bump your nails until it has completely set.

Have you tried any of these tips and tricks before? Which ones did you find most effective? Let us know in the comments below.

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