Mani Facts and Fiction: 6 Things You Need to Know About Your Manicure

Ever wonder how long it really takes nail polish to dry? Or if there's really a such thing as "chemical-free" nail polish? Yep, we did too! That's why we've decided to debunk the nails myths you've heard, once and for all. We caught up with beauty insider Tricia Lee , owner of Polish Bar Brooklyn, to get the ultimate answers to all of the questions you've had about your nails!

1. True or False: It takes darker colors longer to dry than lighter 

This is typically true.

Yes, true... mainly because there is more pigment used to create the lush colors. They are essentially more dense, so it takes longer to dry down. But not all brands are the same. You always want to give polish adequate time to dry on the top, but then almost an hour to dry to the base. The reason is because it's not just the polish, it's the treatments (base/top coats) as well, and how thick or thin those items may be. Just put the phone down and give it time. Or wear the right shoes. I swear that Uggs boots were specifically created for winter pedicures.

2. True or False: Gel nails are healthier than acrylic 

This is sort of true.

"Healthier" nails are your own nails, period. Your skin, hair and nails need air and water to thrive. So when you cover or place tension on them, they are not the "healthier" option. But gel polishes are less damaging than acrylic. The biggest issue I have with gel polishes is "addiction." My friends and clients love gel polishes, but I always remind them to give it a rest. Let your nails breathe a bit. 

3. True or False: Peeling nails are a sign of poor nutrition

Possibly true.

This would depend on the person. If it is an ongoing concern, it may be linked to anything from Vitamin A to Iron deficiency to onychoschizia (the peeling of the nail bed). One factor is nutrition; another would be outside elements such as sun, water, or chemical damage. If there has been a change in your habits or environment, then you will see the effects of it. If it's something linked to nutrition and deficiencies, you can and should get to the bottom of it, because it's simply a sign of something more serious. I always tell clients, "Use your dermatologist for everything." They're not just there to treat acne and wrinkles. If something in the system has a "check engine" light on, they will find it.

4. True or False: Soaking your nails makes for a good manicure

False.

It's funny, because what's great for a thorough cuticle treatment isn't necessarily great for nail bed and polish. I would always suggest minimal soaking, and choosing salons that use treatments for their services, not just water and soap. A proper cuticle remover will soften the cuticle without soaking the nail. 

5. True or False: Warm air dry nails faster than cool air

False.

I would say cool air will dry faster. I do have warm/cold air fans at my salons, primarily because it's cold in New York City. When you're waiting for your pedi to dry, you don't want to freeze. But the settings are moderate and don't slow down the polish drying. After a few minutes, a quick dip in cold water can also speed the process. 

6. True or False: There really is a such thing as “chemical-free” nail polish

False, but with explanation.

So many feathers will get ruffled with this question! This is it: there are common toxins used in polishes, that have always been used in polishes. They are toluene, DBP (dibutyl phthalate) and formaldehyde. But most companies are now "three-free" (which means they are creating formulations without these common toxins). More popular companies following the "three-free" formula include Zoya, Ginger & Liz and Butter London. Do polishes still have chemicals? Yes, they do, but you want to choose a "three-free" option, and know that only you can regulate what's right for you by doing your own research. 

Tricia Lee Riley is the owner of New York's Polish Bar Brooklyn. Follow her on Twitter @polishbarbk.