Fail-Proof Tricks for Keeping My Newly-Painted Nails from Smudging

Posted 06/13/12 at 06:15AM by Audrey Fine

If you're anything like me, it's nearly impossible for you to leave a salon without wrecking your newly polished nails. I nick, smudge, or otherwise render hideous my mani pretty much every single time. And, when I do them myself? Disaster.

Because I have a big event (a high school reunion, shoot me) looming large, I decided to talk to a couple of pros about how best to keep a manicure smudge-free.

Here are four tips the experts recommend you try for a perfect set every time.

1. Allow the first coat to dry for at least 5 minutes before applying the second. If the first coat's not completely dry, the second one makes the whole thing mushy and you'll have to wait three times as long for the polish to harden.
2. Use a quick-dry spray -- they really do work -- and they don't have to be bad for the environment. (My fave? OPI RapiDry Spray. It reduces drying time by nearly half and, unlike many others, is in a pump bottle instead of an aerosol can so it's not harmful to the ozone layer.)
3. Apply oil to freshly painted nails to help expedite the drying process. It'll also impart a nice (albeit temporary) sheen. (Tip: Empty a bottle of clear polish, wash the brush and fill the bottle with olive oil.)
4. Dip your hands into a bowl of ice water. The cold helps solidify the polish.

Oooh, and here's a great trick for being able to tell if your nails are truly dry: When you suspect that they are, gently touch two nails together -- they're good and ready when they pull apart without a tacky, sticky feel.

Do you have any "save my manicure" tips to share?
And the survey says...
1-5 of 5 Comments

  • Posted by GigiSD on 05/03/13 at 02:27pm

    I have a different brand of nail spray which ABSOLUTELY works! So does Sally Hansen's "Nail Dri." Oil works as well. Great tips!

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  • Posted by morgan_ledford on 02/25/13 at 12:53pm

    Great tips!

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  • Posted by Nicole2814 on 07/16/12 at 09:24pm

    great

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  • Posted by alictasia on 06/20/12 at 05:16pm

    If you use the oil method to fast dry, you can't put on a second coat of polish, can you?

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  • Posted by Foxylil on 06/20/12 at 12:56am

    Thanks for the great tips on making my nails dry faster. I am always rushing to make them dry as fast as possible so I can run after my kids. I am going to try the cold water and oil.

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