The Gloss Investigates: Do Nail Quick-Drying Drops Really Make a Difference?

Essence Nail Art Drying DropsThe number one complaint for nail polishes wearers has to be how long it takes for your manicure to dry. It can take up to forty minutes for your manicure to be completely dry if you’re doing a base coat, two coats of color and a top coat. That is a long time to not use your phone or do pretty much anything. There is nothing worse than thinking your nails are dry before then, touching something, and smudging your freshly painted nails. Ugh.

(Related: Nails Inc. Paint Can Spray-on Polish Is as Cool as It Sounds)

Any product that promises to speed up drying time is definitely worth a shot. At-home gel manicure kits allow you to use your hands once you’re done with the steps, but the process involves a lot of coats and a lot of “curing” under the light. The easier option for regular nail polish wearers is quick-drying drops. They claim to speed up the drying time of your polish so you can get back to your routine faster, but do they actually work, or are they just a gimmick? I decided to put them to the test.

I chose Essence Nail Art Express Dry Drops, $2.99. They cost less than your average bottle of drugstore nail polish, so they are waaaay less expensive than investing in an at-home gel manicure kit. Here’s the description from the Essence website:

“Sometimes every second counts. With express dry drops, nail polish dries in 60 seconds! The fast-drying formula includes vitamin E and almond oil to nourish nails and cuticles.”

A dry manicure in a minute and some bonus cuticle nourishment? Sounds amazing. To use them, you use the dropper applicator to apply one or two two drops over freshly polished nails.

(Related: The New Julep Zodiac Nail Polish Collection Is Specially Curated to Fit Your Star Sign)

For test one, I applied two coats of nail polish, then rubbed my nails on a tissue to see what would happen. (FYI: I’m using Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy Nail Enamel in Wild Card, $7.99) Note that I applied the polish alternating between fingers on different hands for more accurate results. Here’s what the tissue looked like: Nail Drops Tissue Comparison Seconds There are some smudges on both sides, but you can see there are a lot few on the side the drops were used. Here’s what the hand looked like that I used the nail quick-drying drops on: Nail Drops After Seconds Not bad. There are a few smudges on two of the nails, but pretty good. Note that I did not clean up the edges of my nails after any of the applications. Here’s how the hand without the drops compares:No Nail Drops After Seconds You can see more prominent smudges and there is a piece of tissue stuck on my pinky nail. Plus, there is a lot of tissue fluff on most of them. Here’s a side-by-side comparison:Nail Drops Seconds Comparison The manicure on the left looks pretty good, while on the right my nails are fuzzy and they have lost their shine.

Click the next page to see how the drops worked after five minutes!

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