Everyone who knows me knows that in my world, “on time” means five minutes late. Yes, I know this would get me disqualified from a go-see challenge on America’s Next Top Model, and yes, I’m working on it, but until then I will continue to run behind schedule. Sometimes it truly is out of my control (subways, stop lights, etc.), as if there’s some mysterious force willing me to never be on time. Other times, it’s because I’m perfecting my winged liner or decide I simply must paint my nails before heading out the door, which often inevitably leads to me smudging it all over myself.
Even if I have nowhere to go, I like my nails to dry fast. I mean, who really enjoys sitting there helpless, hands akimbo? But every quick-dry nail polish I’ve ever tried has either a) not lived up to its claims and takes just as long as a regular polish to dry, or b) dried quickly, but was streaky or lumpy. Still, each time I hold out hope that a five-minute manicure isn’t the stuff of myths. So when I got my hands on Essie’s new Expressie quick-dry nail polish, which just landed in drugstores, I was eager to put it to the test.
Essie’s big claim is that Expressie dries in “just under a minute,” which isn’t super specific, but is also fairly standard for a quick-dry polish. The bottle is taller and slimmer than Essie’s other bottles, and the angled brush is meant to “seamlessly hug” your nail, which is supposed to make it easier to paint with your non-dominant hand. Honestly, to me the most exciting aspect of the polish is the range of 40 new shades, which has some classics, but is mostly made up of cool, off-beat colors like camo green and earthy clay.
First and foremost, I was really impressed by the brush. It was wide enough to cover my whole nail in one swipe but didn’t make a mess. I breezed through painting both hands in about a minute. I needed to add another coat to get the opacity I wanted, but if I was truly in a rush, I could get away with just one. Here’s the real kicker, though: Not only did it take a minute to paint all my nails, but the polish was actually dry after 66 seconds. Yes, I timed it.
But because it isn’t enough for the polish to just feel dry, I decided to put it to the “purse test,” i.e., rummaging around my overstuffed bag to find my apartment keys. I didn’t mess around, I really banged them up as if I were running out the door and needed to lock up. To my surprise, there were no smudges, dings, or dents. We have a winner.
My only gripe with the polish is that it’s a little matte for my taste. That can easily be fixed with a topcoat, but if you’re going for speed that will only slow you down. Otherwise, I’m throwing these in all my bags for the next time I need a last-minute mani.
Bella Cacciatore is the beauty associate at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @bellacacciatore_.