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Published November 26th 2012
Find the best (and worst) places to dry your nail varnish
Obviously the best place to dry your nails is a nail bar but, if you're lacking the cash to fund a manicurist, here are some other ideas:
Three of the best places to dry your nails
1) The bath. NOT a shower. Nail drying is not something to be rushed. It takes a whole lot of precious time to get it right. And in the fast-paced flurry of modern living, a leisurely bath is one of the few places where I'm actually forced to sit still – if only out of guilt that I've used up so much hot water and don't want it going to waste with a quick dip. So lie back. Relax. And do some nail prep.
Have your polish balanced on the bath rim and do each hand with slow, precise brushstrokes. Then simply sit and wait. If you've had the foresight to run a small bowl of cold water and leave that on the side, even better. After a few minutes, slowly dip each finger into this bowl, as this helps set the polish, then return to sitting. And waiting. Finish with a top-coat. They'll be dry before you know it. Just check them before you start towelling down – polish looks much better on your nails than on your bath-towel.
2) Sports matches. Now if you're thinking: "Girls who watch sports surely won't want pretty nails" well, that's just social stereotyping. If you're a spectator in a sports crowd you are, in fact, in an ideal position to dry off those cuticles. Sky's highlights packages may have given you the impression all footie fans are leaping around like salmon or gnawing away at their nails every two minutes but, as any non-couch-potato-fan will tell you, there are vast swathes of tedium between those highs. These spells are the perfect place to do some nail drying. Indeed, my pre-match warm-up now tends to involve a visit to Fenwicks' nail counter in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where I help myself to some of the funky new tester shades. Turnstiles can, admittedly, pose problems to drying nails, so try to have your ticket to hand before you enter. Then, simply take your seat and wait. I guarantee your nails will be dry before you claim your half-time pie.
3) Your desk at work. I recommend you do this first thing in the morning, before too many colleagues get in and start hassling you to actually do stuff. Simply grab some polish out of your desk drawer and surreptitiously do one hand. Pause. Consult some emails. Then, when no-one's looking, do the other one. You'll be surprised at how much busy-looking stuff you can get on with while your nails are drying: answering the phone, moving your mouse around – even a spot of well-aimed typing. Of course, if your job is something more labour intensive – a chef or a brain surgeon, or perhaps a woodcutter, this may not be the best option for you.
Three of the worst places to dry your nails
1) Driving. I don't mean actually doing your nails while you drive – obviously this is not a good idea, Mr Policeman. But even slathering on some polish before you exit the house and leaving it to dry on your daily commute does not tend to work as well as you'd think. Driving is too fiddly a task to accomplish with unset polish on your nails. Changing gears, clicking indicators – even rooting around in your handbag for your keys (which I always end up doing) can become like a frantic game of Jack Sticks with the added challenge of tacky nails.
2) Cooking. You'd think this would raise obvious alarm bells, but it's surprising how often these two activities coincide. Usually, it's because you're in dinner party mode and in true Come Dine With Me fashion, you've prepped your food, set your table, tidied your house and left your own appearance until last. Which is fine if all you're planning on doing is bounding upstairs and flinging on some bling. But if impulse propels you into a bit of nail art while you're at it, I beg you – please, please, think again. Any varnish could tarnish not only your outfit but also your culinary offerings. And depending on the colour, any spillages could have a most unfortunate effect on your guests' stomach linings. There's a certain shade of vampish red that, if spotted resting in splodges all over your fingers as you answer the door, could give your guests the impression the neck of the poor coq au vin has been hand-wrung.
3) On the sofa in front of the TV. Now you'd think this would be the perfect nail-drying location. You plonk yourself down, you switch on the telly and, lo and behold, there's a 90 minute Downton Abbey special about to start. Huzzah! You unscrew your varnish, take out the brush and sit back – what can possibly go wrong? The answer? Everything. I guarantee that by the first ad break, you'll have leapt up to grab some snacks, or your eye will have landed on some menial household task that needs doing and – pow! – you'll slam your nails against a surface and they'll be ruined. Searching for the remote control is another hazard. As you reach down the side of the sofa or hiding beneath a pile of magazines, you'll kiss goodbye to those smooth pools of colour on the end of your pinkies. And even if you do manage to sit there motionless, like you're wearing a straightjacket, trouble will seek you out. The kids will come dashing in to slather your beautiful manicure with jam, or the cat will jump on your lap and attach hairballs to your fingertips. Even if you don't have a kid or a cat, somebody else's will seek you out. Nail-painting in front of the telly rarely ends well. Seriously – take yourself off to a footie match instead.
What do you think? Let me know about your nail-drying disasters.
Hi - I swear, very few people will even notice. Just quickly paint one hand, get on with sending some emails then, when you get a moment, do the other one. Most people can't tell the difference between wet or dry varnish on sight and there isn't much scent from most brands. Believe me - I've tested these scenarios and they definitely work!
Hilarious, that is why I rarely wear nail polish, just too much of a hassle.
I thought sitting and reading a book would be enough time to dry nails, but when you turn the pages, they always get smudged.