Middle Aged Beauty Queen

How Fast Really is a Quick Dry Top Coat? 5 Brands Tested

Posted on: April 25, 2013

So, I have all these ” fast dry top coats or quick dry top coats and I got to wondering, which quick dry top coat is really the fastest? Let me preface this by saying it takes a full 24 hours for your nail polish to dry completely, but with the quick dry top coats you can get on with your life without waiting 10-15 minutes for your polish to dry.

The first thing I did for my “test” was to paint my nails in my half and half manicure using 2 OPI colors from the same collection. Since I have 5 quick dry top coats I painted them in the order shown in the picture, with my thumbs being used first with the Seche-Vite, pointer fingers with the butter LONDON and so on. I’m sure you get the picture. Then I set my timer on my iPhone and checked each nail starting with 1minute and checking every 30 seconds after that.
I was a bit surprised at the results.

I wasn’t surprised that SV was dry in 90 seconds but I was surprised that the Sally Hansen Insta-Dri was dry in 90 seconds. Also, the Out the Door Super Fast Drying should be named Out the Door and Maybe Dry in 5-6 minutes. It never actually dried during my test. The only other surprise was OPI Rapid Dry Top Coat, it did dry in 2 minutes but it pooled around my cuticles, which would cause me to pick at, and that would be no good !

Once again Seche-Vite is number 1 for me, But, if I was a younger woman wanting. to have kids some day I would go with the SH Insta-Dri. There is no warning on the SH product and even though I’ve researched SV’s warning and I believe it to be safe, I just wouldn’t take any chances. You can read my Seche-Vite post here, where I researched each ingredient and explain why I don’t think it is harmful to use.

Are you surprised by these results? Which top coat do you use? If any? I must say I need a quick dry top coat in my life! I’m just not very patient when it comes to waiting for my nails to dry!

πŸ’… As always, thanks for stopping by!

12 Responses to "How Fast Really is a Quick Dry Top Coat? 5 Brands Tested"

I bought some Out The Door because lots of folks rave about it. It never dried on me either. I eventually had to throw some SV over it. I don’t get it.


Thanks for this research Judi.I really like SV too.I have tried others but always go back.Essie is not bad either,it just is not as thick and shiny.


this was such a great review! i have never tried the opi or the sally hansen in this bottle. i really didn’t like out the door. i bought it once and thought there are such better ones. the revlon one is a good one too, but i can’t remember if revlon is cruely free or not. is the sally hansen insta-dri the same one that is in the red bottle? i don’t know the difference. anyways, great review!


That is a good question, I do like the SH one in the red bottle so maybe they are the same thing. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one with problems with Out the Door. I swear it still isn’t dry! Thanks for the comment Holly, I appreciate it and I’m honored you read my blog. I love your blog, it’s just how I want mine to grow up to be! πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œ

Sent from my iPad


I have never tried Essie top coats. Once I get through all these I’ll have to try them. Thanks for the suggestion. 😊

Sent from my iPad


I know! I had to remove the polish on the nail I used the Out the Door on and do it over using SV, I’d still be waiting for the Out the Door to dry. I bought 2 bottles, at Sally’s like an idiot because they were having buy 2 and get a free China Glaze np. I’d been better off buying the polish outright! Oh well, lice and learn -right? πŸ™‚

Sent from my iPad


When I got into quick-drying top coats the only one available around me was SV. Since then I changed and started ordering on-line so pretty much everything else was available to me, yet I am so happy with SV that I do not want to explore anything new.
I am also worried about the ingredients, but this is more like an automated response from my part. When I stop and think about it, I am more scared about the things I eat and breathe than the ingredients of my top coat.


I was “concerned” about the ingredients of SV, with that warni g on the bottle and all, but after researching and reading up on it I really am not one bit worried about using it. Like you said, our food and what we are exposed to in the air is probably much worse. Thanks for the comment Marianthi! I appreciate it. πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œ

Sent from my iPad


Great review I will have to try SH insta dry. I did try OTD I like the shine it left on my nails but, you are correct it took about 3-5 mins before I felt dry. I have tried the SV and I don’t recall how long it took to dry but I liked the shine on that one and I felt it helped keep the polish from chipping as least for a few days.


Thanks so much, I’m glad you liked it. I think if you try the SH one, you will like it, it is very comparable to SV. Thank you for commenting, I appreciate it! πŸ™‚


This was so helpful. I have used out the door for years thinking it was the best available. It did dry for me but not nearly as fast as the SV I just tried. This stuff is great. Now I can change my polish more often. I have a very busy schedule and there’s no time for watching polish dry. THANK YOU for the post.



I’m happy I could help! I couldn’t imagine using the Out the Door, I’m just not patient enough for it! Thanks for the comment. πŸ’œ


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