How To: The Fastest Manicure You’ll Ever Do

Zoya Magic PixieDust

Photo Credit: Zoya Nail Polish

There’s a certain added confidence that comes from having a fresh manicure, while it’s still glossy and chip-free. You sit a little straighter, hold your head a little higher, and maybe even take longer strides through the office hallways. However, I’ve never been great at painting my own nails. Perhaps because my daily dose of espressos means I don’t have a very steady hand or maybe because I don’t have much precision when wielding small tools. On the other hand, one of my coworkers is such a pro that she’s able to paint her nails while sitting at her desk and talking on the phone (and somehow still having real conversations with people). I’m secretly jealous because she changes her nail polish color every two days and her nails always look perfect and shiny. Whenever I want to paint my nails, I need to either go to a nail salon, or set aside 2+ hours of my day in order to apply the nail polish very carefully and ensure that it comes out just right.

Nonetheless, despite my lack of artistic prowess, I still crave the added polish that comes with perfectly manicured hands. My practical solution is usually to have someone else do my nails, so I’m always looking for salons that run mani “specials” (usually on a specific day of the week) and for products that will help extend the life of a mani. But then real life happens, and I spend the day juggling meetings and deadlines and people, so my “plan” to go get a mani during lunch often turns into merely wishful thinking.

The biggest problem arises when there’s an unexpected dinner or date right after work and I realize my once beautiful bold mani has deteriorated into mere splotches of paint. As panic sets in, I often improvise and take out one of those portable non-acetone polish removing wipes and simply get rid of the offending color. And while bare nails are fine, they’re not very fun.

Looking for the formula of a pretty on-the-go manicure, Stranded called Rebecca Isa, Zoya’s Creative Director and Color Designer, for a heart-to-heart on polish theory and her “mistake proof” mani.

Rebecca instinctively knows the solution to our problem: textured polish! She tells us, this is “the fastest mani you are ever gonna do.” The trick she says, is to use holographic or glitter-based nail polish which is “fun and easy.” Zoya has en entire collection of them, called Magical PixieDust, which create a cool effect by mixing different sizes and shapes of glitter together.

STEP 1: Apply two coats of holographic polish on bare nails.

STEP 2: Apply 2 drops of Qtica Half-time on each nail to flash dry in 5 minutes.

That’s it! No base polish or top coat needed. Even better, this type of polish is very forgiving and doesn’t require alot of precision when applying so Rebecca adds that it’s virtually “mistake proof.”

In terms of color choices, she gives us a few suggestions based on your mood or occasion. If you’re looking for a versatile basic, try Bar. This is a “Champagne color [that] looks like Britney’s VMA spangly outfit.” She adds, “if you knew you wanted something more adventurous” try mixing colors by using a solid base and topping it with a sparkly holographic polish. For example to create purple, “take Blue (Ling) for one coat, and layer over Pink (Harper).”

This same tip can be applied to fix manis that don’t actually need to be fully redone. For example, it’s been a lifesaver on trips or on vacation when my mani chips in a really obvious way. I then use holographic nail polish to cover only the nails that have chipped, and in approximately 30 seconds I’ve effectively turned them into “accent nails” –which makes it look both stylish and intentional.