The Fashion Spot Momtastic

How I Foil Nail Polishes' Attempts to Smudge and Ruin My Manicure

Posted 01/27/12 at 10:25AM by Audrey Fine

Things that annoy the you-know-what out of me: my post-twins belly button, people who litter, Larry the Cable Guy, and nail polish smudges.

Since I can't do anything about the first three, I've become hell-bent on figuring out how to make ruined manicures extinct. Here are the pro tips I've culled from legions of experts and, if I do say so, they work like a charm.

Tip 1: Allow the first coat to dry for at least five 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.

Tip 2: Use a quick-dry spray. I love 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.

Tip 3: Empty out an old bottle of clear polish, wash the brush, and fill the bottle with olive oil. Apply the oil (using the brush) to freshly painted nails and it will help expedite the drying process -- and impart a nice (albeit temporary) sheen.

Tip 4: Dip your hands into a bowl of ice water. The cold helps solidify the polish.

I also learned a cool trick for being able to tell whether or not your nails are really and truly dry; when you suspect that they are, gently touch two nails together -- you're good to go when they pull apart without a tacky, sticky feel.

Now that you have these tips, it's time to pick your polish -- this snazzy OPI app will help.
And the survey says...
1-6 of 13 Comments

  • Posted by GigiSD on 02/10/13 at 09:52pm

    I also use an electric nail dryer spray. In a real hurry? I brush on Sally Hansen's "Insta-Dri." I don't know what's in it, but my nails are perfectly set within minutes. You offered great tips!

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  • Posted by EricaC123 on 12/29/12 at 04:37pm


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  • Posted by Nicole2814 on 07/23/12 at 07:19pm


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  • Posted by beautybody on 03/25/12 at 08:19pm

    I think I need to wait longer in between coats. That might be my problem.

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  • Posted by MssDani on 03/23/12 at 02:41pm

    Seche Vite top coat is a home manicures best friend. I have not had my nails smudge since I started using it.

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  • Posted by powerwoman033 on 03/14/12 at 10:29am

    I have never heard the olive oil tip! I will be trying that! I have a few nail polish tips to add. First, gently file the top of your nails and this will help hold your base coat. I always use the Perfect Formula Strengthen & Seal Sheer Pink Gel Coat as my base coat. It is a treatment that keeps your nails healthy and strong and protects at the same time. Then, I always use a quality polish (OPI or Orly) and I also allow the first coat to dry at least 5 minutes before applying another coat. I usually use an OPI shatter topcoat (which dries extremely fast), and then the OPI top clear coat. My nails will stay looking great for up to 2 weeks. My last tip is to reapply the top coat every 2 days or so to restore shine and protect your polish. Great article!!

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