Your client dashes through the front door, 20 minutes late for her appointment. You graciously accommodate her, even though you know your next appointment will be delayed. You do a quick yet flawless manicure. Still breathing heavily, your client pay’s you and sprints to her car. Just as you greet your next client, you-know-who rushes back through the door, and suddenly you’re confronted with the last thing you needed- a smudged nail!

What nail technician hasn’t experienced this scenario? Having to redo your work because your client was too impatient to wait for nail polish to dry is an all too frequent occurrence. It consumes both your time and money. But these days, most technicians know they no longer have to put up with long waits for polish to dry when there are so many products on the market that speed the drying process. These timesaving products come in a variety of forms-sprays, brush-ons, and light-cured-and they can be a boon to your business. They’ll get your clients out the door faster and you’ll only have to do the manicure once.

“One type of quick-dry product is the liquid or spray.” says Jan Bragulla, president of Creative Nail Design (Carlsbad, Calif.) “It’s oil-or silicone-based. The way it works is you apply all coats of nail enamel   (a base coat, two layers of polish, and a top coat), wait for the polish to dry, and spray or brush liquid over the surface of the nail.” The oil makes the surface of the nail polish slick, protecting it from smudging and smearing as it dries. The top layer of polish dries. The top layer of polish dries to the touch within minutes, while the remaining layers dry in approximately one hour. After applying the spray, clients can do basic tasks such as writing and get away with it, but they can’t do any heavy-duty work.

A fast-drying brush-on top coat contains extra solvents, which causes it to dry faster. The higher the ratio of solvents to the other ingredients the formulation, the faster the nail polish dries. Like quick-dry sprays, fast-drying top coats usually dry the surface of the nail. “If you apply fast fast-drying top coats on wet polish, you can trap moisture between the layers of enamel,” says William Martens, executive vice president of Seche Inc. (Beverly Hills, Calif.), which makes a top coat especially formulated to be applied over wet polish, “If your client bangs her nails on something or runs her fingers through her hair, she’ll damage the manicure.”

Drying machines are also used to speed the drying process of nail polish. They have a fan that moves the air and helps the solvents evaporate a little more rapidly, says Martin Weisman, vice president and technical director of Sher-Mar Cosmetics (Canoga Park, Calif.) UV-light drying systems have become very popular. The Systems usually work with a particular top coat product and they dry to a very hard finish in less than 10 minutes.

Polish drying times with quick dries range from 5-7 minutes, depending on the product you use and how you apply the polish. Thick layers dry slower, while thin layers dry faster and more evenly.



Why Use Quick Dries?

Probably the most valuable benefit of fast-drying products is that they save the technician time and allow a client to get out of the salon quicker without damaging her polish. “Nail technicians love the products because their clients are not sitting around waiting for polish to dry,” says Rick Fisher, vice president of Flossie Diamond Cosmetics (Sunrise, Fla.).  “When we do tradeshows, we hear all the time how fast-drying products get clients out of the salon quickly so that technicians can spend time with other clients.” He says fast-drying products also increase client turnaround, and, therefore, profit.

“I think a common complaint among clients is that they have to be so careful with wet nails after a manicure,” says Kay Fehrenkamp, a nail technician at Beauti-Nails in Pasadena, Texas “When they get out of the parking lot, they’ve already hit a couple of nails on something” After using quick-dry products, not many clients damage their nails, she says. “You get an extremely hard, durable finish, which makes customers happier,” says Kurt Kittle-son, president of Pro Finish USA Ltd. (Phoenix, Ariz.), a UV-light system manufacturer. Kittleson says the nail finish with the UV system is very durable. “You can take an orangewood stick and tap your nail and it’s not going to damage the polish,” he says.

Profit Margin

Quick dries are excellent salon retail items, says Susan Weiss-Fischmann, executive vice president of OPI Products Inc. (North Hollywood, Calif.) , “Nail dryers have the potential to be the third or fourth best sellers among the retail items in the salon, “ she says. “Quick dries are practical, easy to use, and they don’t require and technical skill.” If nail technician test the quick-dry product to ensure it serves their clients’ needs it should be an easy sell, Weiss- Fischmann notes. Salon markup on 2-oz. bottle of quick dry can be as high as 150%

“We include quick-dry product in our home maintenance kits that are sold to salons,” says Fran Peterson, national manager of education at Develop 10 (Plainview,N.Y.). “Once we get nail technicians turned on to it, they love it.” Clients using the products at home can also benefit from their fast-drying ability. “A woman can polish her nails, get into bed, and never get sheet marks” Bragulla says.

“One of my customers tried a fast-drying top coat and scrubbed her nails with Soft Scrub to test it” says Nicole Forest, a nail technician at Nails By Nicole in Chicopee, Mass “The fast –drying top coat didn’t come off and she loved it. Every time she’s halfway out the door, she buys another bottle!”

Fehrenkamp, who also retails fast-drying products sell themselves. “After I polish my clients’ nails and put the quick dry on, the response is. “Wow! This is gorgeous!’” she says. “Some people who are really rough on their nails will come to the salon about three or four weeks. After a manicure and say, ‘Look at this, the shine is still there!’ I tell my clients that I have fast-drying products for sale if they’re interested; and nine times out of 10, they are.”

Some technicians profit simply by maintaining loyal clients who like the results of the fast-drying products. One technician who used to charge more when she used a fast-drying product at the salon found that there were rewards in not charging extra.

“I used to charge $3 extra for using quick dries,” says Adilita Osiborski, a nail technician with Hair Color Experts and More in Warren, Mich. “Sometimes clients used to get it and  sometimes they didn’t use the quick-dry products came back with smeared nails. Now I use the quick-dry products on all my clients and I don’t charge at all.” Osiborski says her clients keep coming back because they appreciate the extra service.

Room for Improvement

Although technicians rave about fast-drying products, many say they’d still like to see some changes. “I wish I could use quick-dry products between coats to help the layers dry even faster,” says nail technician Roberta Fearon of M.E.I. Salon (Valley Stream, N.Y.). “I do nail art. I polish the nails and then do airbrush designs. The polish has to be completely dry before airbrushing. If there’s any type of oil on the nail, the airbrush paint won’t adhere properly.” Spraying between each layer, she says, would help the polish dry faster and allow the airbrush paint to adhere better.

Forest, who also does nail art, says sometimes the fast-drying top coats take off the acrylic paint she uses. “I would apply the base coat, two color coats, and do the nail art,” she says. “Then I’d want until the acrylic paint dries, apply the fast-drying top coat, and it would smear the colors.” Forest says she now uses a drying machine with fast-drying coats, a process that dries the polish completely in four to five minutes. Some Companies have removed from their fast-drying top coats a component called nitrocellulose, which can cause thickening of fast-drying top coats and yellowing of the nails, says Michael Reyzis, president of Art of Beauty (Cleveland, Ohio). Nail technicians complained that the fast-drying top coats thickened when they were three-quarters of the way through the bottle.

One technician who experienced the problem in her salon says she used to charge her clients $3 extra for the product to make up for the money she lost when the top coat thickened.

Despite the improvements nail technicians would like to see in some fast-drying products, most agree they are better off today than they were in the past.

“You didn’t have many fast-drying products to choose from 10-15 years ago,” says Peterson. Now nail technicians can choose from an array of quality products and focus more on meeting their clients’ needs. “My clients are teachers, nurses, business owners, and college kids,” says Fehrenkamp. “They don’t have a lot of time. They come in and the minute they’re through, they’re panicked because they’re running late and they have 5,000 things to do before they get home.” The bottom line is that clients want a quality service and they want it fast. With fast-drying products, technicians can meet that challenge.

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