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Jo Avatar

You’re not the worst, Christine! I applied no color nail polish in 2022, and none in 2023 so far, either. I do use a clear treatment type polish, but that has been it. My issue is that any time I have painted them in the past, it seemed that no matter how long I let them dry, they were never really hardened because they’d still end up getting messed up looking, like wrinkled or chipped. I mean, I could paint my nails in the afternoon, and they’d seem okay, but they’d end up with imprints from my pillow case from sleeping that night, I have nice brands of polish. I have tried quick dry polishes, but those seem to end up looking kind of patchy and thin, if that makes sense. If anyone knows of a good quick dry formula, I’d love to know what it is. 🙂
(Also, as I write this I realize that I probably needed a top coat all this time, but I never ended up using top coats because I was so impatient with my initial nail polish drying, that I didn’t want to bother. This sounds like a “me” thing the more I think about it, lol).

Jill Avatar

I’m 100% team ILNP, however Dazzle Dry won my heart this past year. I can do my mani and 5 minutes later go scrub an oven with zero chips, wrinkles, dents, divots. (To clarify, I have actually done exactly that, done my nails and then scrubbed an oven, with gloves of course– I moved recently and had to scrub my apartment oven for move-out and I still have to scrub my new oven now that we are moved-in.) It’s amazing. It’s expensive, you have to follow the instructions and use the system together, there’s no lights or dryers or fancy appliances required. It goes on like polish, it cures completely in 5 minutes, it wears like gel, and removes like regular polish. And it doesn’t stain your nails yellow because it doesn’t have nitrocellulose.

What’s the catch? I think the colors are limited, I had enough polish at one point that I could’ve been a blogger so I know what cool stuff is out there. But they have enough of my “work horse” colors that I’m all for it. It’s hard to go back to a regular polish mani. This stuff is even better on your toes. There are salons that do offer Dazzle Dry out there so if you wanted to see if it lived up to the hype you could try it out. I was hugely skeptical, and I know I sound like I joined a cult. But you know what it’s like when you discover something that actually does what it claims!

Jo Avatar

Oh, wow, this brand sounds perfect for me! That’s the other thing about me, I will paint my nails and then five minutes later decide I need to do something like laundry or oven cleaning, haha.

Katrina Avatar

CND makes a spray that you spray over your nails when you’ve finished painting them and hardens them up real quick. Essie has a version of this that comes in a polish bottle with a dropper that’s fantastic, too.

BrandiD Avatar

I would recommend trying Seche Vite topcoat, which should both speed up the drying time and protect your nail polish from getting wrinkly/textured. It’s pretty much the only thing that has really worked for me.

Deborah Avatar

My favorite top coat is Essie Jet Setter. I usually do some online surfing after applying nail polish. That enables my nails to dry without causing trouble FWIW.

Jo Avatar

I’ll look into Jet Setter. My daughter has lovely, longer natural nails, but has the same issues I have, (probably because she learned how to paint her nails from watching me, lol), so she’ll be testing some of these tips and suggestions from everyone here.

Katrina Avatar

Most likely the reason you’re getting patchiness when using the QDTC is because you’re not using enough on the brush. You need to have a “bead” of topcoat on the tip of the brush and “float” it down the nail. The idea is that you don’t want to have to drag the brush down your polish and risk disturbing your manicure – unless you’ve smudged it or made some other kind of mistake, in which case the brush may help you smooth it out! The topcoat has the same solvents in it that the polish does, and when you pull a brush coated in topcoat down the nail, those solvents can soften the polish and thin out whatever you’ve painted. So if you have a small smudge or imperfection, that can be helpful, but if your polish looks perfect, you don’t want to disturb it, you just want the polish to float over it. Hopefully that makes sense?

If your nails are drying very slowly – or not at all – there could be a couple of things happening. Are you using thick or thin coats? Thick coats are more opaque, but they take longer to dry, and if you immediately do another relatively thick coat, the polish at the very bottom won’t be able to dry completely. The same is true of too many coats, even thin coats – too much polish will take a lot longer to dry completely. And most polish will be *effectively* cured in 15-30 minutes, but takes up to 24 hours to be *completely* cured. So the longer you can sit after painting them to give them a chance to cure, the better. If you ever have polish that seems dry and solid on top, but you can press gently on it and the whole thing will slide off sideways or crumple up like a fender, it’s not dry at the bottom. This can also happen in extremely humid environments, particularly if there’s not enough ventilation. Older polishes may sometimes also contribute to this problem (or cause bubbles in the manicure), if they’ve lost a bit too much of their solvents to evaporation, and are unable to dry via the normal evaporative process. (I know you said you have nice brands of polish, so likely it’s not the polish being old, but mentioning it just in case.) When in doubt, use very thin coats; by the time you finish the 10th finger, the first few should be functionally dry and you can move onto the next coat.

And as I noted above, a good quick-dry topcoat can fix a litany of sins when it comes to manicures. People in the polish community all have their favorites they swear by from various brands, but the truth is that there’s really only a handful of formulas, with a few tweaks here and there to adjust for viscosity, add tint, holo, uv-reactive pigment, etc. Unless you’re a hardcore polish enthusiast, I’d suggest trying Seche Vite to see if it works for your purposes. It’s readily available at most drugstores and it’s extremely popular for a reason. (If you’re interested in indie brands, I’m a fan of Anchor & Heart’s Mermaid Tears strengthening basecoat and the topcoat that you can get from KBShimmer or Girly Bits. Also, definitely use basecoat!) It’s a solid QDTC that should help dry the layers of polish for you, and is intended to be applied to polish while still wet (well, tacky-wet, not liquid-wet).

(Sorry if I went into way too much detail. Hopefully some part will be of use to you.)

Jo Avatar

It’s all very helpful! I’m thinking I do a lot of the things you describe that lead to issues with polish hardening properly, including using older nail polish. Because I don’t often do my nails. I’m guessing my polishes are pretty old. I ordered the first top coat you mentioned, and I’ll definitely check out the others. Thank you for taking the time to respond. 🙂

BrandiD Avatar

OPI’s My Solar Clock is Ticking. I like a warm rose or terra cotta color like this one, and they’re hard to find. I run a lot, and I really have to wear medium to dark nail polish on my toes so people can’t see my gnarly discolored toenails.

Nina Avatar

A Dior pale pink polish only two coats, I like seeing my nail under a healthy pink. I’ve never wanted to hide my nails with colors or coat upon coat of any polish.

Brian Avatar

I’m wearing a creme skittle right now of Cirque’s Carnegie and Rockaway, KBShimmer’s Take Back CTRL and Hugs and Wishes with Morgan Taylor’s Tailored For You. Before this it was a skittle of BKL shimmers that I cant remember the names of and on New Years day I was wearing Frost Light and Rainbow Snow from Holo Taco.

joy Avatar

christine, you have fully converted me to a ilnp convert. i’ve never gotten so many compliments on my nails before. every single color in my collection gets complimented on. that’s never happened before.

i’m currently wearing ilnp mirage and on the rocks. applied day before nye but only showing a bit of tip wear. their formula dries faster and self levels better for me than all other brands too!

LK Avatar

Since we got a puppy last May, I, too, have had much less time to apply nail polish and wait for it to dry. The first and so far only for 2023 was Chanel Brun Fumé, a LE shade from 2021 autumn collection. Looks more khaki than brown, though!

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