The Best Way To Fix Smudged Nail Polish Without Starting All Over

Nothing is more disappointing than taking the time to paint your nails, only to have them smudge while drying. That feeling might be even worse if you paid to have a nail technician professionally paint them at the salon. A smudged nail is nothing to cry over, especially if you know a few hacks to salvage your manicure. That being said, it still helps to know the dos and don'ts of properly drying your polish to prevent the issue from arising regularly.

Healthline notes that many polishes take at least 10 minutes to fully set on the nail. When you've already spent 20 minutes painting them, however, you might feel like you don't have much time to spare. One way to speed up the drying process is to use a quick-dry top coat — the clear top coats you see next to the colorful polishes at the store. Best of all, a top coat can reduce chipping and extend the life of your manicure.

A couple of minutes after applying your last coat of polish, you might also want to consider dipping your fingers into a bowl of ice water. Submerging them for about five minutes may be all you need to help your manicure fully set. Even after trying these tricks, however, there's no guarantee that you're safe from smudging until your polish completely dries. If you're having a smudged nail emergency, here is how to rehab your manicure without starting over.

How to quickly fix smudged nail polish

One easy way to remedy a smudged area of polish is to use a nail polish corrector pen, per This pen will thin the smudged polish, allowing you to essentially erase it from your nail. If you don't have a corrector pen handy, simply dip a Q-tip into a small amount of nail polish remover, and rub away the smudge. Now you're prepared to re-polish the nail and give it a fresh look.

If you don't have nail polish remover or a corrector pen but your polish is still a bit wet, All Women's Talk recommends using your finger to smooth out the smudge. Once it is dry, apply another coat of polish over the smudged area to give it a seamless look.

If you lack the tools to salvage your smudged nail polish at home, or you don't have the polish color you need from the salon, there are a few other options available to you. DeBelle Cosmetix recommends trying your hand at some nail art. Using a few different colors, add some splashes of polish to all of your nails to create a unique, artistic look. Don't be afraid to reach for nail art stickers, either. If you aren't feeling particularly creative, a glittery top coat might be all you need to mask your smudge and revamp your manicure without starting over.

Making the most of your manicure

Once you fix any smudges and allow your nail polish to completely dry, you can take a few precautionary measures to extend the life of your new flawless manicure. HuffPost recommends applying a thin layer of top coat to your nails daily, even if you already used one. This adds an extra line of defense to your polish. Lili Salon Spa also advises caring for your cuticles by using cuticle oil daily. Doing so can not only keep your manicure looking fresh, but prevent unsightly cracks and dreaded hangnails.

However, many of those who wear nail polish regularly know that the key to a lasting manicure is in the preparation. HuffPost notes that it's critical to wipe your bare nails with either isopropyl alcohol or white vinegar before applying any polish. This will remove oil and dirt from the surface of your nails, giving you a truly clean slate.

Additionally, you might want to consider buffing your bare nails, especially if you have ridges. These ridges can cause your polish to crack once it has settled, ruining your manicure. While you're buffing, be sure to do so in one direction for consistency and smoothness. Finally, don't forget to push back your cuticles before you begin applying polish. This will make sure your manicure lasts long and looks as good as the first day.