What Is Dry Nail Polish?

S. McNesby

Dry nail polish is a film applied to the nail surface in place of traditional liquid polish. Since the nail polish goes on dry, there is no waiting time or risk of damaging the manicure. Once applied, dry nail polish is extremely durable, lasting about a week with no further care. Solid colors, graphic prints, and allover patterns are all available in this form. Since the polish strips are dry, they can be printed with images and applied without damaging the designs.

Dry nail polish lasts about a week.
Dry nail polish lasts about a week.

The application process for dry nail polish is simple. It will take about an hour for most people to complete the first time. Most dry nail polish kits come complete with everything needed for application.

Removing dry nail polish may require soaking the nails in nail polish remover.
Removing dry nail polish may require soaking the nails in nail polish remover.

To apply, open the package and choose the correct size nail polish strip for each nail. Peel the protective backing from a strip and place it on the clean, dry nail. Rub with the nail buffer to secure. Repeat for each nail; there is no need to wait for the nails to dry when the manicure is complete.

The finished look of a dry manicure is similar to that of a traditional manicure. Dry manicure strips come in solid colors and printed patterns, and can be mixed and matched as needed. As with a regular wet polish manicure, it can be difficult for an individual to polish her own dominant hand. Beginning with the non-dominant hand will help an individual master the application process before proceeding to the more difficult dominant hand.

Individual dry nail polish strips can be trimmed with sharp scissors before the backing is removed. The better the strip fits the nail, the longer the manicure will last. Pulling the dry nail polish strip over the top edge of each nail will help prevent chipping and fading as well. For best results, nails should be clean, dry, and free of polish before the strips are applied. Pushing back the cuticle with an orange stick or the blunt edge of a file will increase the nail surface and extend the life of the manicure.

A manicure completed with dry nail polish strips is generally very durable. This type of manicure can be so durable that the strips can take some time to remove. The adhesive is thick and may require extra soaking in nail polish remover to completely eliminate the strip. While experiences will vary, individuals can expect to get about a week of wear from a dry polish manicure.

The finished look of a dry manicure should be similar to a traditional manicure.
The finished look of a dry manicure should be similar to a traditional manicure.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


@simrin-- I like dry nail polish. I used to never have my nails done before because I'm a disgrace when it comes to painting my nails. I have no coordination and I can't seem to keep my nails from smudging even if I use quick dry nail polish. So I was super excited when I first heard about this product.

Obviously, we can't expect everyone to love it. But for people who can't manage to paint their nails properly, this product is such a life-saver! And I completely agree with you about the designs, there are so many. I really like the chrome ones, they are really cool!


@simrin-- I have used nail foils a couple of times. I think it's nice to use when you don't have time for a whole manicure routine. When I do my nails I generally put a base coat, two coats of nail polish and finally a top coat and it takes a long time to dry. Foils only require 1-2 layers of top coat only and my nails are ready much faster.

There are a few down sides to it though. What I didn't like about it is that it's really hard to remove. I had my nails sitting in acetone for a really long time, around 20-25 minutes probably until it actually came off. And I use like the best nail polish remover! It's nice and fast when you're putting them on but it takes a lot of patience while removing.

The other issue is that you have to put on top coat otherwise it starts to chip in a couple of days. When I put two layers of top coat, it lasts for a good week so you can't miss that step.


Dry nail polish, which I've heard of being referred to as "nail foils" as well, are so in this year! I love following beauty blogs and I think I've seen posts and reviews of dry nail polish on almost all of them lately.

I haven't tried them yet but I really want to. They look so nice and professional. I love the variety of designs that dry nail polish comes in. I usually spend hours trying to do designs on my nails with nail polish pens and brushes. It's hard and time consuming, not to mention, difficult to dry. It would be nice to get a beautiful and intricate design quickly.

Has anyone tried dry nail polish so far? What do you think the advantages and disadvantages of it are?

And I believe they're pretty affordable too right?

Post your comments
Forgot password?