How do I make winter pedicures work?
February 28, 2015 3:12 PM   Subscribe

Okay, I feel a bit goofy asking this question...but here goes! I just got back from my trusty nail salon. For the second time this winter, the nail polish on my toes was completely destroyed on the brief 10-minute walk home from the salon. Any advice on keeping polish looking nice when open-toed shoes aren't seasonally appropriate?

Both times this has happened, I've hung out with my toes under the dryer for about 20 minutes, until the polish was dry to the touch. After that the nail tech has put some oily stuff on my nails, wrapped my feet up in saran wrap, and I've put my socks and boots on over top. This is the first winter I've had this trouble, so I'm really at a loss! Is there some magical step I/the nail tech can take to make sure this doesn't happen?

Bonus question: I'm going back tomorrow to get a manicure (I have an important event at work late in the week, I since my fingernails start to chip at around the 3-day mark, I wanted to buy myself as much time as possible). Would it be appropriate to ask them to fix the toes that are messed up while I'm there? As background, I go to this salon often and tip generously (usually 30% or more).

Thanks all!
posted by schroedingersgirl to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
They weren't dry enough. You needed to stay under the dryer for longer. It might have felt dry to the touch but wasn't solid. Also, bring your own polish so you can do your own touch-ups at home.
posted by Aquifer at 3:19 PM on February 28, 2015 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Any idea how long would be right? The nail techs try to usher me out after 10-15 mins, so even 20 is stretching it (in their eyes...I'm happy to read my book!).
posted by schroedingersgirl at 3:23 PM on February 28, 2015

Best answer: I find at least 45 mins is the minimum. In summer, of course, you can just head out the door with flip flops on, but winter, I think you just need to be firm and spend the time under their dryer.
posted by nanook at 3:24 PM on February 28, 2015 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Or you can get the gel polish in the winter! It's dry when you're finished the pedicure.
posted by barnone at 3:28 PM on February 28, 2015 [11 favorites]

Best answer: Yes I would ask them to fix it, and don't let them pressure you out next time. Hang out in the "lobby" for the extra 20mins. Other options are to wear loose shoes and drive home.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 3:31 PM on February 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

I have this problem. Even if I do use the dryer for 45 minutes, my toes are shaped such that shoes tend to put a lot of pressure on the nail area, so the nail polish often looks like it's been gouged a bit. I haven't found a total solution, but I do like to bring my own nail polish (even though half the fun of a salon pedicure is picking out a color), so that even if the polish gets messed up a bit, I can touch it up at home. Plus sitting under the dryer for as long as possible.
posted by peacheater at 3:37 PM on February 28, 2015

I just had a pedicure yesterday and the fellow who did my toes told me an hour must pass before the shoes go on. 45 minutes is probably safe, though.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 3:46 PM on February 28, 2015

I use a combination of quick-dry top coat, which I bring from home (I like Deborah Lipmann Addicted to Speed) and a quick-dry spray over that. (Formula X Drying Spray is one I use.) Then I hang out in the lobby with my feet under the dryer for a half hour or so, one more squirt of the quick-dry spray, and off I go. I wear the most loose-fitting shoes I can (like my Uggs) - and, this being California, I can often actually wear sandals, but that is obviously not an option for most people in the winter.

You might also like to try a shellac pedi with the gels. Those are practically indestructible.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 4:09 PM on February 28, 2015

Seconding comments about finishing quick-dry spray- that, plus 20+ minutes in under the dryer, has worked well for me in the past.
posted by derogatorysphinx at 4:31 PM on February 28, 2015

Nail Polish takes 2 hours to fully cure! 45 mins is surface dry, can wear socks if there's no pressure on them. In the land of winter I use to drive and wear sandals (with socks if I waited an hour first). Walking in boots, you are still going to have smudging and loss of gloss after waiting only an hour.
posted by saradarlin at 5:17 PM on February 28, 2015

I just get gel in the winter, because otherwise I feel like I'm spending half the day at the nail salon.
posted by ThatSomething at 5:26 PM on February 28, 2015

Nthing shellac. Also, the place I go wraps people's feet in saran wrap, then has them put on socks and shoes. Might be worth trying.
posted by hepta at 6:29 PM on February 28, 2015

I've heard nail techs say that different colors take different amounts of time to dry, and that red in particular takes the longest. I have no idea if this is actually true, but my anecdotal/confirmation-biased experience says yes. Light colors, like Ballet Slippers, seem to dry the fastest; super darks like Lincoln Park After Dark take a little longer, but reds take forever.
posted by Charity Garfein at 9:01 PM on February 28, 2015

Sandwich bags. Both under and over your socks, to minimize friction. This worked even that time I had only 20 minutes under dryer then had to put on wool socks and steel-toed clogs, and the polish was OPI Malaga Wine.

And yes, ask them to repair the smudged toes. They shouldn't charge you, but I personally would tip anyway.
posted by wonton endangerment at 9:06 AM on March 1, 2015

I've done the sandwich bag trick (Saran Wrap also works) over quick dry spray and then a little bit of the drying oil for at least 20 years. This is after waiting at least 20 minutes. I've never had a problem. Throw some socks and shoes on and you're good to go.

I've always brought my own polish (in case of chips), but they should be willing to fix the smudges since you're going back today.
posted by dancinglamb at 9:55 AM on March 1, 2015

Agree that you should be staying longer. Unless you walk in a way where your toes continually scrap the pavement, it shouldn't be coming off that easily. I stay under that fan for a long time, and if they have that aerosol nail drying can, I hit my nails with that too toward the end. "Not wet to the touch" is not the same as "not soft enough to be pushed in or off the nail." The polish needs to solidify all the way through.

Why are you wrapping your feet in saran wrap? I have never heard of that and that sounds weird and unnecessary.

I would ask them to fix the nails, explain you were there yesterday, and I would stay much longer to let them dry. If you can press your nail into it and make a dent, it's not hard enough. (And you just caused a dent you're stuck with, womp womp.)
posted by AppleTurnover at 10:26 AM on March 1, 2015

Echoing the gel/shellac recommendations. It costs a little more but the fact that it's totally dry and smudge-proof when you leave is the best.
posted by gingerbeer at 12:30 PM on March 1, 2015

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