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What is Quick Dry Nail Polish?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 21, 2024
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Quick dry nail polish is nail polish that is intended to dry and set on the nails within a few minutes. Most nail polish can take up to twenty minutes or more to dry properly, and in that time it is still possible to damage it or smudge it. Quick dry nail polish, on the other hand, dries much more quickly than regular nail polish, so one can quickly paint the nails and then get on with life without worrying about messing up the manicure.

Quick dry nail polish is often capable of hardening within one minute. It is available in a number of different colors, though the color selection may be somewhat limited when compared to all the many options for regular nail polish. This type of nail polish is available in a traditional bottle and brush form, or in a nail polish pen form. Nail polish pens are quick, convenient ways to touch up a manicure, but most people do not use them to paint all of the nails because the nail polish in the pen will then be used up too quickly. Nail polish pens can also be a great way to draw designs or nail art on the fingernails, which is much simpler than using a nail polish brush.

There are some downsides to quick dry nail polish. Even though it speeds up the time for a manicure, it also tends to chip and peel off more easily, and have less shine. Because it dries more quickly, it does not adhere to the nails as well as other nail polish. It may be best to apply a base coat first, but this tends to defeat the purpose of using this type of nail polish in the first place. In addition, keep in mind that for most colors of nail polish, it will be necessary to apply more than one coat to completely cover the nails.

Another type of quick dry nail polish is simply a nail polish top coat. One would paint the nails with a regular nail polish in any shade desired; then, the quick dry top coat is applied. The top coat allows the nail polish to harden quickly, but one is still able to use a favorite color of nail polish even if it is not quick dry. Then, the regular nail polish adheres well to the nails, and the top coat can be touched up throughout the week if necessary.

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Discussion Comments

By anon225632 — On Oct 27, 2011

@medicchristy: Also, another reason it appears bubbly is because you might keep it in the heat. A way to avoid this is to keep them in the refrigerator.

By calabama71 — On Jan 11, 2011

@medicchristy: I’m not sure why the fast drying polish would create more bubbles once it dries. The “bubbly” look that we sometimes get when we paint our nails is actually attributed to shaking the bottle before we use it.

You are supposed to gently roll your nail polish bottle between your palms instead of shaking it. When you shake it, it creates air bubbles in the polish and messes up your nails.

By medicchristy — On Jan 08, 2011

I have a collection of fast drying nail polish that I never even use. It seems to me that when I paint my nails with the fast drying polish, there tend to be more bubbles on my nails when it dries.

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