Having my nails painted is like the cherry on top of my outfit–not necessary but a wonderful finishing touch. Whether it’s your schedule or your patience that prevents you from polishing your nails, these tips will help you streamline the process for a quick (and cheap) home manicure.
1. Use a quality basecoat
When you are trying to do your nails in a rush, adding a basecoat may seem like an unnecessary extra step. However, using a quality basecoat can extend the life of your manicure by days. I love the Orly Bonder Basecoat. It’s a rubberized formula that dries quickly and increases the wear time of some of my favorite polishes by more than double. If 3 minutes of extra application time can buy me 3 or more days of wear before chipping, then I’m all in.
2. Choose a no-fuss formula
The easiest way to cut time from an at-home manicure is by eliminating color coats. Choose a polish that can cover in one coat and you’ve saved yourself at least 5 minutes of drying and reapplying. My favorite drugstore formulas that cover quickly are the Wet’n’Wild MegaLast line and Sally Hansen Miracle Gel polishes. I shared the shades pictured above in my recent Spring Nail Polish Picks. Because they are drugstore brands, both of these are affordable and easily accessible, and both formulas also tout long wear times!
For an even easier application, choose a nude or pale pink shade close to your skin tone. It will look natural, suit all occasions, and be less headache-inducing for any of you messy painters. 😉
3. Use a quick-dry topcoat
You’ve laid down your basecoat and carefully covered each nail in color. The last thing you want to do now is wait 15 minutes for them to dry, during which time you will undoubtedly have to answer the door, reply to an email, or use the bathroom, accidentally marring your perfect artwork and pissing you the heck off.
This is where the quick-dry topcoat saves the day. One last clear coat and 60 seconds of waiting and you’re free. My personal favorite is Seche Vite because it is thinner than other formulas I’ve tried and, thus, dries quicker. It also creates an amazingly shiny finish. A decent drugstore dupe is the Sally Hansen Insta-Dri, though I found that it got goopy about halfway through the bottle so it wouldn’t be my first choice.
Quick dry topcoats are usually dry to the touch in about a minute, but I always like to run my nails under cold water for a minute as well to help harden all the layers ASAP. Otherwise, the polish may not be tacky to the touch but they could still be dented or smeared if you touch something with enough force. Putting them under cold water does the trick!
Do you have any tips for quick & tidy at-home nails?