Finally Nail the 5-Minute Manicure

Time-busting mani tips from a fashion week nail artist who knows a thing or two about being short on (drying) time.

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Tip No. 1: Prep Your Nails

There's no way around this one: A manicure is going to look its best if your nails are healthy. "Pay attention to filing in one direction to prevent splits," says Gina Edwards, a manicurist with Kiss Products, Inc. who's done nails for Solange, Rita Ora, and Alexa Chung. "Also, never peel off remnants of old polish, as it removes layers of your actual nail."

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"Moisturizing your hands can keep your nails healthy and fresh in between manicures," Edwards says. Keep a small tube of hand cream on your desk, in your purse, or on your bedside table for easy access.

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Shea Butter Hand Cream, $12, usa.loccitane.com.

Tip No. 2: Use a Lighter Polish

Since we're in the depths of winter, it's easy for us to go for the dark and brooding colors, such as wine, navy, and of course, black. But, a lighter hue could brighten your day and shave off some of that annoying dry time.

"Lighter colors take the least amount of time to to dry because they have [a lower] concentration of pigment," Edwards says. "Wait three to five minutes for polish to dry, which will help it last longer."

Professional Nail Lacquer in Beach Babe by Morgan Taylor, $9, ulta.com.

Tip No. 3: Easily Fix a Smudge

When you're going way too fast on your manicure, smudging and denting becomes inevitable. Breathe and repair the color in 30 seconds. "Dab a drop of nail polish remover on your nail and lightly smooth out the color with your finger," Edwards says. "Then, immediately polish over it again." Easy, right?

Instant Nail Polish Remover Wipes, $5, sephora.com.

Tip No. 4: Carry a File

A nail file can be a lifesaver for both quick fixes and preventative measures. "Travel with a nail file because it can bring down the free edge of the nail and prevent a problem later," Edwards says, explaining that this will stop the pain that comes with a nail tearing too low.

Eco File, $12, deborahlippmann.com.

Tip No. 5: Fake It

There's no shame in taking a shortcut to achieve a pretty manicure. "Crunch time is a good reason to apply fake nails," Edwards says. "Just peel off and press—it takes minutes and requires zero drying time." And in case one falls off, just make sure you have a backup!

Gel Fantasy False Nails by Kiss, $8, target.com.

What does your manicure look like right now? Send us a picture of pretty nails at @wearesweet!

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