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Express Nails

How To Do Your Nails Fast

When you are in a rush, decisions have to be made. Prioritize. Do you shape or polish? Do you quick-dry or go the long, slow route? New formulas allow for snap decisions:

Speed-dry enamels are worthy of their name (you can open mail, search for keys, or put on your tightest long-sleeved shirt within seconds), but there's a downside: "As fast as they dry, that's as fast they chip," insists manicurist Elisa Ferri, so save them for emergencies. Eke a few extra days out of a fast-dry manicure by doing a daily touch-up with a quick-drying coat.

In the other corner, there are strong, chip-resistant formulas - the torttoise of the polish race. To pick up the pace of these tougher enamels, like L'Oreal Shock Proof, carefully submerge freshly painted nails in a bowl of ice-cold water for 30 seconds to harden still-groopy polish.

Light or sheer shades are best for hasty manicures, Ferri says. "You can even get away with just a wide stripe down the center" rather than painstakingly painting the entire nail.

If a manicure is beyond the repair of a topcoat or two, face facts and call in the remover. You can keep single-use packets of nail polish remover (Cutex and Get Fresh make them) on hand so you can strip away color on the run.

When there is no time for polish, just clean underneath the nails, rub on a buffing cream, and shine them with a chamois buffer.

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