Beauty Test Drive: The Super Fast Magical Manicure-Drying Ice Bath

As I’ve mentioned before, one of my best talents is ruining fresh manicures. Since I’m always finding new ways to smear and chip my delicate, drying nail polish, I thought it was time I got proactive about finding new ways to not ruin my manicures. Which is why I Googled “How to dry nail polish quickly” and happened upon this article, which claims dipping your freshly painted nails into a bowl of ice water for three minutes will result in flawlessly dried polish…

I didn’t have high hopes, but since this was just about the easiest beauty tutorial ever, I decided to give it a try this weekend. After painting my nails with two coats of OPI’s “You Don’t Know Jacques,” I slowly slid my hands–wet nails and all–into a metal bowl full of ice water. And sweet mother of God, did it hurt.

“Are you sure it says three minutes?!?!” I screeched to my boyfriend, quickly followed by “Can you Google how long it takes frostbite to set in?” quickly followed by, “How much would it affect our relationship if I didn’t have fingers?”

I made it about 30 seconds before I had to lift my poor, freezing digits out of the water. Then I took a deep breath and dipped them back in. Twenty seconds later, I couldn’t take it and had to take them out again. This tutorial might be easy, but damn, it’s painful. After my third dip, I gave up. My fingers were in the water for around a minute and a half, total. I thought I had failed this beauty challenge, but when I lightly touched one of my nails, expecting it to smear, this crazy thing happened: the nail polish was dry.

You guys, it totally worked.

My hands were in severe pain, but my nail polish was rock hard, and completely smooth. There wasn’t any kind of indentation left where my finger had touched it. I dabbed my hands dry with a towel, and my manicure remained flawless. The best part? This technique even passed the dreaded Bed Sheet Test. I woke up the next morning with a smooth, shiny nails–no sheet imprints or smears. Game. Changer.

A couple random tips:

The water should be ice cold, but make sure there aren’t any actual cubes still floating in there. I’m not 100 percent sure, but I suspect bumping into a cube with your finger could mess up your nail polish. I filled a bowl with cold water, added a bunch of ice cubes, and then fished them out before dipping my hands in.

The original article claims that the ice bath will also melt away any splotches of nail polish on your skin, but I didn’t find that to be true. Not that I care at all–I mean, perfectly dried nail polish in 1.5 minutes?! That leaves me plenty of time to do touch-ups.

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