It was a recurring scene. After taking the time to carefully give myself a manicure the night before, I would awake the next morning to find smudges and sheet imprints on my now ruined manicure.
The problem is that even though I sometimes gave myself an hour for my nails to dry before going to bed, they weren't completely dry. Determined to perfect a DIY manicure, I tested several popular (and not-so-popular) quick nail-drying methods.
Theory: If you dip your fingernails in a bowl of ice water, it will dry your nail polish faster.
Verdict: There's almost a false sense of security when doing an ice bath for your nails. They feel dry at first, but that is probably because you can't feel your fingers. But once your hands are dry and are back at room temperature, I found that the polish wasn't 100 percent dry.
PAM cooking spray
Theory: Spraying wet nail polish with PAM will help nail polish set super fast.
Verdict: Where is Bill Nye the Science Guy to explain the science behind this method when you need him? I initially saw this on Pinterest and fellow pinners swear by it. However, I may be missing something but all it did was make my hands greasy.
Theory: Just like in a nail salon, a blast of cool air helps dry nails faster.
Verdict: It works ... if you have the patience to run the dryer across your nails for several minutes and don't bump your nails in the process of handling the dryer.
Theory: Similar to ice water, putting your hands in a freezer will dry and set your nails faster.
Verdict: I couldn't stand there with the door open and hands in the freezer long enough to determine if it will work.
Theory: Special topcoats dry nails faster
Verdict: I picked up INM Out the Door fast-drying top coat at Image Beauty in Marlton, N.J. on a whim and it was a game changer. My nails were entirely dry after 5 minutes. I changed my clothes, put away dishes, and went to bed and woke up with not one smudge or dent.
Final verdict? There are a lot of methods to quickly dry nail polish, but most only dry the surface coat, still making it easy to ruin your manicure. Go with a quick-drying topcoat for the best results.