Know the Difference Between Cured and Dried Nails

Do you know the difference between dry and cured nail polish?

When you are at the salon for a traditional manicure or pedicure you may need to grab a magazine and sit in the waiting area for a few minutes after your service to give your polish time to dry. However, dry and cured are not the same thing.

Beach design in turquoiseDry nails mean your polish is no longer tacky so you can leave the salon confident you can drive home without worry of messing up your polish. Cured polish means the polish is hardened enough to tackle taking keys out of your purse, participating in an athletic activity, taking a nap (yes we know sometimes you just need a nap) or finishing the day’s house work without getting crease marks, smudges, or chips in your polish.

Drying time usually takes 15-20 minutes but the polish will NOT be cured for another 2-3 hours. Other factors like the type of polish, amount of coats, and even the weather can make the cure time take even longer.

This time of year we have a lot of guests who come in for manicures and then go to the pool just minutes after their appointment. You know what happens to their nails? They get chips, lots and lots of chips. Pedicures can be just as problematic. Recently a guest came in for a pedicure and then went and had a massage (lucky!). The problem was her toenail polish was dry but not cured. She came back to us after her massage with toenails that looked terrible. What a bummer! She had no idea her polish wasn’t hardened enough to be wrapped up in the warming towels.

We don’t always know your activity schedule after you leave the salon so talk with your technician about your busy day to ensure you give your nail polish enough time to cure. You may also want to consider getting a Shellac manicure if you know you have a busy day ahead of you. Shellac polish is a hybrid of gel and traditional polish that is cured under a UV light. Your polish is cured in mere minutes and will last 10- 14 days without chipping.

Now you know. Dry and Cured are not the same thing. We hope this little tid bit of information will help you keep your mani/pedi looking fantastically fresh a little longer. If you have a topic you would like us to cover, please email

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