It set faster than I was able to smudge or nick it.

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nails inc nail polish
Credit: Nails Inc.

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I’m a gels girl. Or rather, I was a gels girl—until coronavirus (COVID-19) hit. The at-home beauty boom that happened in the wake of a global pandemic enveloped millions of individuals who’d rather have left the dirty work to a professional, taking me and my paint-outside-the-lines mani skills with it. It turns out coronavirus doesn’t care about my lack of left-hand brush-wielding skills.

It’s been months since I’ve seen the inside of a nail salon or chatted up a friendly nail tech. So how is it that on a recent link-up with a member of my “pod,” I got side-eyed about my “professional-looking nails”?

Nails, Inc.’s latest product solves one of the most common at-home nail flubs. The 45 Second Speedy Gloss lives up to the promise in its name by delivering record-fast setting times, dramatically reducing the opportunity for smudges or nicks. A fresh coat of the polish dries down in 45 seconds flat, while a double coat applied immediately after takes just slightly longer.

Sally Beauty 45 Speedy Nail Polish
Credit: Courtesy

Shop it! $9,

The groundbreaking formula is a big deal—I’ve dabbled in quick-dry drops and alleged at-home gel products previously to no avail—but the carefully cut brush is just as impactful in the seamless application of polish. A curved tip picks up the tinted liquid and distributes it evenly across the nail bed without getting caught in the cuticle or along the edges.

Earlier this week, my toddler hands swiped on a Malibu Barbie pink shade called Ladbroke Grove Grooving, hesitantly at first. But as I saw the creamy layers settle into place on my nails, as though with a mind of their own, I gained confidence. The pigment was even forgiving as I filled in the nails on my dominant hand, not clumping or dripping.

At this point in an at-home manicure, I tend to lose patience. There’s always an eyebrow to itch or a fly to unzip before the varnish is fully set, requiring a sloppy touch-up or “f— it” moment when the color gets inevitably damaged. Nails, Inc.’s 45 second formula gets ahead of the curve, solidifying the liquid past the point of wreckage at just the right moment.

I’m sure I’ll head back to the salon when the risk dies down, but in the meantime, this quick, cheap solution is nothing short of a godsend for looking put-together.

Shop the 45-second nail polish exclusively at Sally Beauty for $9.

Sally Beauty 45 Speedy Nail Polish
Credit: Courtesy

Shop it! $9,