Select a bowl that accommodates the fingertips of one or both hands. Place several ice cubes into the bowl, and add cold water. The bowl should be about half full of ice water when you are finished. Gather everything you need for your manicure.
Prepare the fingernails as you normally would, and apply the chosen nail lacquer. Paint one hand at a time, or paint the nails of both hands. A cool hair dryer helps to set polish between coats. Old nail polish becomes thick and shows signs of separation. Discard any polish that has reached this stage, as it does not dry properly. Allow your finished manicure to air dry for two minutes before proceeding.
After two minutes, dunk your painted fingertips into the ice water for three minutes. The ice water seals and hardens the enamel quickly. After three minutes, the polish should be completely dried. If you are painting one hand at a time, repeat the process for the opposite hand.