General Question

Taciturnu's avatar

Why does my nail polish stay "soft?"?

Asked by Taciturnu (6018 points ) November 18th, 2010

For whatever reason, I can’t get the polish on my fingers to harden and set. (Toes are fine.)

I’ve tried two thin coats, one thick coat, one thin coat- all with and without base/top coat. I’ve tried putting my hands in ice water afterwards, and have bought salon nail-dry spray. The brand of polish changes, and I’ve tried all kinds (quick dry, etc).

What gives?

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20 Answers

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

What brands have you tried?

chyna's avatar

Have you had this happen at salons also, or just when you paint your nails? Have you ever tried a salon?

JLeslie's avatar

The best of the inexpensive polishes are Revlon and Loreal.

Likeradar's avatar

Do you let the base coat dry completely before putting on your first layer of polish?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Is it old? Sometimes old polish won’t set.
I would suggest thin coats, but it sounds like you already did that. Do you allow each coat to dry before you put it on? Are you making sure your hands and nails are clean and dry before polishing?

JustJessica's avatar

I’ve had that happened if I don’t use a clear coat on top. I’ve found that the clear coat helps with that..

Pandora's avatar

What @TheOnlyNeffie said was right. It use to happen to me a lot but now I wait about 10 to 15 minutes before applying the second coat and I make sure to shake the bottle a lot before applying the nail polish. I think it gets clumpy and thick on the brush and in the bottle if you don’t shake it around. So as you apply it, it applies to some areas thicker than others. I will usually do it while watching a movie so I don’t feel in any hurry to do something with my hands till they are completely dry.

pinkpawn's avatar

Did you use polish remove before you polished new color?Try use hair drier

Taciturnu's avatar

Thanks everyone.
@papayalily As many as I could name right now- Sally Hansen, Revlon, Milani, OPI… You name it.

@chyna Yeah, has happened to me at the salon. Not when I’ve had fakes put on, just with my natural nails… But acrylic or gels only last about a week and a half before they fall off too.

@TheOnlyNeffie Sometimes the polishes are older, but I keep them all in the fridge. Sometimes I swear I’m just not supposed to have color on my nails. lol

@JLeslie What brand top coat do you use?

@pinkpawn I’ll try the hair dryer next time. Thanks!

JLeslie's avatar

I always use a base coat and a top coat. My favorite base coats are the ones that are not completely transparemt, kind of cloudy white; think I am usimg Revlon right now. top coat I like quick dry, but sometimes I use a regular top coat if I can’t find it. I used to buy a Loreal topcoat that was super shiny that I loved, but can’t seem to find it? OPI has a fast dry top coat that I think is ok also. I really stick to those brands mostly Loreal, Revlon, and OPI at times, but sometimes I am not hapoy with the OPI brushes, which doesn’t matter much ifit is a clear coat.

It takes me an hour to paint my nails. Base coat, which dries rather quickly, then first coat of color, and wait 10 minutes. Then the second coat. Ten minutes. Finally the top coat, and let dry a half an hour before I start using my hands again, being careful.

JLeslie's avatar

Also, fast dry peels off in a day. The top coat fast dry is fine, but don’t use fast dry polish for base coat or color.

Lastly, I find short nails lose polish faster, maybe because of how we use our fingers when we have short vs long nails. Not that they have to be crazy long, I just mean not to the tip of your finger, a little longer a milimeter or two.

Pharmacy_flunky410's avatar

Probably storing nail polish in the fridge is the basic problem here. Why would you not keep it at a “controlled room temperature” as it is intended to be kept?

JLeslie's avatar

Yeah, I never keep my nail polish in the fridge, and it lasts for years.

Taciturnu's avatar

@Pharmacy_flunky410 I’ve been told many times by nail techs and a friend of mine (a licensed comtetologist) that it keeps better- it doesn’t get thick. (You’re also not supposed to “shake,” but rather roll it in your hands to prevent bubbles. I do find it keeps the quality nicer.) So… I keep it in the fridge. It’s been long time battle, and since I haven’t chilled my polish all that time, I don’t think it’s related. I recently stopped biting my nails though, so I’m motivated to get it resolved. :)

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Taciturnu The thickness it gets is due to exposure to air and elements evaporating, not temperature. You can buy nail thinner at Sally Beauty or Ulta and it’s just a refill of the thinner that’s in nail polish already. Besides, if you can’t use it because it never hardens, who cares if it lasts years or not – it’s a waste of money either way.

JLeslie's avatar

Along with what @papayalily said, make sure you are closing the nail polish bottle every time you do a coat, and then re-open for the next coat. You can pour a little little bit of regular nail polish remover into the nailpolish bottle to thin it, very very little, if it is thick. You might need three coats.

I was a cosmetic buyer for a major department store, no one I know kept their polish in the fridge.

chyna's avatar

@JLeslie I keep mine in the fridge. My grandmother told me to. I do everything she told me to do. :-)

JLeslie's avatar

@chyna haha, I say that about my mom. I do everything she tells me to do.

cheebee's avatar

Are your hands normally quite warm? Nail Polish hardens best in cold air. Maybe your natural body heat is preventing it from curing? A bit out there…. but you never know…

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