About 5 years ago (thanks, TimeHop), I was talking with my grandmother and she came out with the gem, “patience is not a Castagna virtue.” I laughed because it is so true! My whole family hates waiting; we’re too busy and on the go for anything to take longer than [we think] it should. Compound genetics with the fact that I am a straight up Jersey girl and it’s a little amazing I’m capable of any patience at all.
Lacking patience plays a big part in how I do my nails. I want them done perfectly in 20-30 minutes and be able to use hands without fear of smudges. I used to get so frustrated when I was in high school and college because it took forever for my nails to dry and I would smudge them, ding them up, or get sheet imprints in them. Even when I went to a salon and my nails were perfect, I hated waiting for them to dry because I wanted to pay, tip, and leave at my leisure (read: as fast as possible), so I always ended up with at least one messed up nail on my way out.
It was only when I first really started getting into nails/nail art/indie polish that I realized I didn’t have to suffer anymore. I was reading a tutorial on The Nailasaurus and she mentioned using a quick dry top coat. Oh my god, duh.
I quickly hopped on to a few indie brands’ websites and did some searching. Very quickly, I made a decision. My first quick drying top coat purchase was “Clearly On Top Quick Dry Top Coat” from KBShimmer. It performed as promised – drying quickly and never shrinking my glitter polish. What a winner!
Also as the descriptions promised, it got really thick a few months in and I couldn’t use it anymore. Not having the patience to wait for shipping (and knowing nothing about nail polish thinner), I went to my local CVS and picked up Orly “Sec’n Dry” top coat. It certainly dries everything fast, but it also shrinks glitter nail polish. Not only can this ruin the look of your manicure, I’ve noticed it accelerates the rate at which my nails chip. No good.
I recently got a quick dry top coat from Dream Polish to have a point of comparison on the indie spectrum (and I really wanted in on that scented action!). I got it in the limited edition Sun & Sand scent, which is pretty awesome. Much like the KBShimmer top coat, it works very well and seems to not shrink glitter polish.
In an effort to demonstrate the shrinkage vs. non-shrinkage, I tried out all three of my quick dry top coats. Ultimately, the results were inconclusive, but I promise I’ve noticed shrinking action on my glitter polish with the Orly – so beware!
My final thoughts? I’m an idiot for not doing some basic research and looking on Amazon or any other beauty supply seller for nail polish thinner to revive my KBShimmer top coat sooner (that being said, I recently ordered and got both). The scent can be a bit strong on the Dream Polish top coat, so it’s not going to be my go-to. Orly is a good runner up to both of these though: you can buy it in most stores, which is really convenient, and it does the job of drying polish quickly.