Smudging fresh nail polish is frustrating but common because it is difficult to know when your nails are truly dry. It can take nail polish up to two hours to fully cure, but you can usually resume using your hands and get back to life 15 minutes after applying polish. Fortunately, there is a way you can test your polish after this time to make sure 15 minutes is sufficient drying time.

Are We There Yet?

To see if your nails are dry, gently tap your pinky nails together. If the polish is dry, your nails come apart again easily without any resistance. If you feel any tackiness or pulling, your nails are not dry. Even this method can cause a divot in wet polish, but it looks much better than a tacky fingerprint and should not leave any marks at all as long as your polish almost dry.

Decreasing Drying Time

To decrease polish drying time, dip your fingers in a bowl of ice water after painting or set your hair dryer to cool and hold it over drying nails. Quick-dry spray solutions are available and spray-on nonstick cooking oils work as well. You can also refill an empty polish bottle with olive oil. Then use the cleaned brush to apply olive oil to your nails. Although it feels slower, your nails dry faster with three thin coats rather than with one or two heavy coats.