Thursday, August 15, 2013

Fast Drying Nail Polish: Seche Vite vs Dry Kwik


So, this isn't the fairest fight I've ever instigated. These two products have a similar function, but they are not at all the same thing. One is a top coat, and one is a drying agent + cuticle rub. But they both claim to dry your nail polish in record speed, and being a busy Mom with a nail polish addiction - that's something I need in my life! Here's how they compared, for me.

Seche Vite

For my birthday last year, my husband found a bottle of Seche Vite on Amazon for only $3 and scooped it up as a gift. It was the tiniest gift in a stack of heartfelt offerings, and yet...I was more excited to receive it than anything else. (I don't know, we can talk about priorities some other time.) The wrapping paper hadn't been removed for more than five minutes before I was using it in the hopes that I'd have perfectly painted and dried nails in time to go out for my birthday dinner. I chose a grey polish that I adored, but was notorious for chipping before a full day was through, so I could really see what a difference this "miracle" top coat I'd heard so much about would make.

I was instantly hooked. My nails dried quickly, the top coat was gorgeous, and my nails were chip-free for a good 4 or 5 days. Even my husband was asking to see my nails to check for chips to see if it was $3 well spent. Seche Vite is usually about $8 in beauty supply stores, so we got a crazy deal - and thank goodness, because in the end, I think $3 is about the limit for how much I'd pay to use Seche Vite again.

The wonder and amazement only lasted for about 3-4 uses. And for a girl that paints her nails 1-2 times a week, that's not really a long time. With every use, it got thicker and gloopier, and I started noticing some really annoying qualities it had. For example, it shrinks. As it dries, it pulls away from the edges of your nail, taking some of the color with it, but shrinking even inside the coat of color underneath it. I googled around, and apparently that's a pretty common complaint. I am WAY too OCD about picking failing or flawed nail polish to handle that. I kept telling myself that I'd use it anyway, because it helped dry my nails quickly and made my nails gorgeously shiny. But with every use, that became less and less true. I only made it halfway through the bottle before I ended up tossing it and saying, "OH well!"

The last straw? I found out it contains toluene, which is a chemical that is known to cause birth defects. Uhhh, no thank you. Thankfully, my heaviest use of this product was before we even started trying for baby #3, and I usually skip painting my nails all together for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, just to play it safe. And by then, Seche Vite was in the trash. But had I not learned about this? Who knows. Scary stuff, man.

Sally Hansen Dry Kwik

On a recent trip to Essie land, I noticed some nearby products that I hadn't tried before. Wanting something to replace my Seche Vite, I concentrated on the quick drying products before selecting this one for about $4. I have a vague memory from a childhood sleepover in which a friend had this magical stuff she put on my nails that instantly dried my fresh polish. Over the years, I thought I may have imagined it, or this friend of mine had magical powers I didn't understand, but when I saw this product looking more liquidy than a top coat and claiming to pretty much just dry polish and nothing else, I thought it just might be what I've been looking for. I still don't know if it was the product from my memory or not, but I was excited to give it a try either way.

Basically, you put your polish on, and after the final coat you wait a couple minutes, lightly paint on your Dry Kwik, and then wait a few more minutes for your nails to be dry. At which point you rub the excess into your cuticles, because it's mineral oil based and it just kind of sits on top of your nail once it's done doing its job.

My complaints about this product are that yeah, it's a bit oily (but not overly so), and it seems that if you put it on too soon after your polish, it'll cause bubbles. The directions say to only wait a minute after applying your color, but I find that I get less bubbles by waiting a few minutes or more. This is still usually okay for me, in terms of drying quick, but it would be nice if it just went on and did its thing without making my paint job look all bubblicious. Also, if you want the look of a paint job with a top coat on it, you need to add that later (or use the dry kwik after your top coat). Which can create an extra step for you, but I usually skip the top coat anyway unless I'm painting my nails for a special occasion.

The Winning Quick Dry Product

For me? Sally Hansen Dry Kwik. It does its drying job faster than Seche Vite ever did for me, doesn't cause your color to pull away from the edges of your nail, doesn't dry up and get gloopy, and it does its job for a much longer period of time. It's also typically cheaper (at $4-something a bottle compared to the $8 Seche Vite costs in beauty and department stores). I find myself reaching for it often, and as long as I don't push its limits, I am always happy with its quick drying abilities.

Have you tried either of these? What do you think?

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