How To Dry Your Nail Polish Faster

Written by Esha Saxena

If you love painting your nails but hate waiting for your polish to dry, this article is for you. Let’s face it – there’s nothing more frustrating than going to bed with freshly painted nails and waking up to find your hard work smudged and ruined. The same applies for the times you’re running late for that dinner or meeting, but your polish just won’t dry. Need a solution? We’ve put together a bunch of easy and effective methods that will help you speed up the painstakingly boring process of drying your nail polish.

Moreover, you’ll find most of the stuff needed for it right at home!

6 Foolproof Ways To Speed Up Your Nail Polish Drying Time

1. Freeze It Out


Dipping your fingernails in ice-cold water is perhaps the most efficient technique to dry your polish faster. It’s also insanely simple!

What You Need
  • A bowl of cold water
  • Ice cubes
Step-By-Step Tutorial
  1. Before you begin painting your nails, fill up a bowl with cold tap water, add a couple of ice cubes, and set it aside.
  2. Once you’re done painting your nails, wait about 2 to 3 minutes to allow the polish to set before dipping your nails into the bowl.
  3. Keep them in there for about 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. When you remove your hands from the bowl, you will see water beading on the surface of your nails. This is a telltale sign that your polish is completely dry.

2. Use A Blow Dryer


The cool-setting is what we’re looking for!

What You Need
  • A hair dryer with adjustable settings
Step-By-Step Tutorial
  1. Plug in your hair dryer and pop it on its coldest setting.
  2. Once you finish painting your nails, swirl the dryer around your nails in small, circular motions for 2 to 3 minutes. Just make sure that you don’t use too much force or hold it too close to your nails as it will blow ripples into your polish.

3. Spray On Some Cooking Oil Or Hairspray


A spritz of non-stick cooking oil is a great way to cut down on nail polish drying time. Alternatively, you can also use a little hairspray if you are out of cooking oil.

What You Need
  • PAM Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
Step By Step Tutorial
  1. Paint your nails and spritz a little cooking spray on your yet-to-dry manicure.
  2. Hold the can about 30 centimeters away from your hand. This ensures that the force of the aerosol does not smudge the wet polish.
  3. Wait a few minutes and before rinsing your hands with cold water.

4. Buy Yourself A Drying Spray Or Drops

Using a commercial nail polish drying spray or drops will cut your wait time in half. These products not only help dry the paint faster but also make your nails look super shiny. They also nourish and condition the skin around your cuticles.

5. Thin It Out


As opposed to thick coats, applying several thin coats of nail polish gives your nails time to dry quickly in between applications. It also leaves you with a more even finish. Although it might seem like your manicure is taking forever, it really isn’t. You’re actually cutting the overall drying time way shorter.

6. Add A Quick-Dry Top Coat

Investing in a clear coat of nail polish that’s specially formulated to speed up your nail polish drying time is perhaps the easiest way to dry nails faster. Besides, some of the formulas even claim to add a glossy sheen to your nails, prevent chipping, and make your manicure look fresh for longer. Here’s the best part – you can find some insanely great drugstore formulas for very low prices.

Waiting, as we all know, can be the absolute worst sometimes. And when you’re saying something is as boring as watching paint dry, you’re describing it as truly mundane. We hope these tricks and hacks help you cut down your nail paint drying time, so you have a set mani in about five minutes. Do you have any personal nail polish hacks? Let us know in the comments section below!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I dry acrylic nails faster?

Acrylics are a combination of a liquid monomer and a powder polymer that creates a hard, protective shell over your natural nail. It’s always a good idea to get acrylics done by a professional at your local nail salon. Ideally, you need to cure (dry) the nails for two minutes under a UV lamp or for a minute under an LED lamp.

Can I use olive oil to dry my nail polish faster?

Yes! Soaking your freshly coated nails for about two minutes in extra virgin olive oil can actually help dry the polish faster. You can also use sunflower oil, extra virgin coconut oil, or baby oil as alternatives.

Does an LED or UV lamp dry regular nail polish?

No, your regular nail polish requires air drying while gel nail polish must be cured by an LED or UV lamp.

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Esha Saxena is a writer, journalist, and a full-time wallflower. She holds a Master’s degree in Media and Mass Communication and firmly believes that makeup is nothing less than art. Combining her love for writing with her passion for makeup, she brings to you reviews, techniques, and her ever-growing knowledge on this form of art. In her spare time, she loves reading, listening to obscure indie bands, and writing poetry – all of this while being a crazy dog lady.