12 Best Ways To Dry Your Nail Polish Faster

Because life is definitely too short to keep waiting around for a nail polish to dry!

Reviewed by Daria Kruchinina, Licensed Esthetician Daria Kruchinina Daria KruchininaLicensed Esthetician facebook_iconlinkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , Beauty & Lifestyle Writer Esha Saxena Beauty & Lifestyle Writer Experience: 3 years
Edited by , Associate Editor Subhrojyoti Mukherjee Associate Editor Experience: 4 years
Fact-checked by , Beauty & Lifestyle Writer Joyce Joyson Beauty & Lifestyle Writer

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 to know how to dry nail polish faster? We have put together a bunch of easy and effective methods that will help you speed up the painstakingly boring process.

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

protip_icon Keep In Mind
  • Light shades: Choose lighter or sheer metallic colors if you need your nails to dry faster with fewer coats.
  • Cold Air: If your blow dryer does not have a cool setting, try placing your hands in the freezer for about 2 minutes as exposure to cold air solidifies the polish faster.
  • Oil: Apply essential oil, like peppermint, lavender, or citronella with a clean brush on your nails to speed up the drying process.
  • Caution: Avoid UV dryers as far as possible to prevent DNA damage and cancer risk.

12 Foolproof Ways To Speed Up Your Nail Polish Drying Time

1. Dip Your Nails In Ice Water

Freeze your nails in ice-cold water to dry your nail polish faster
Image: Shutterstock

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.
protip_icon Stylecraze Says

You can also use fast-drying nail polish to have a hassle-free manicure experience. But ensure that the bottle is sealed and stored well after application as these products tend to dry up quickly.

2. Run Your Nails Under Cold Water

Run Your Nails Under Cold Water
Image: Shutterstock

If you do not have ice cubes ready, you can simply run your manicured nails under a gentle stream of cold tap water. Alexandra, a YouTuber, dipped her nails in a bowl of ice water to see if the process worked to hasten the drying to within a minute. She demonstrated the results, saying, “I like to show you guys how dry they are, nothing is coming off, they are not smudging, they are not smearing, nothing like that (i)!”

What You Need
  • Tap with running water
Step-By-Step Tutorial
  1. Turn on the tap and pass your nails under the stream of cold water.
  2. Remember, you are not washing your hands, so do not rub them together to avoid smudging your nail polish.

3. Try The Cold Air Setting On A Blow Dryer

Image: Shutterstock

This is a quicker and mess-free alternative to an ice-bowl or running water. Remember, the cool setting is what we are looking for.

What You Need
  • A hairdryer with a cold blast setting.
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. You may use a gentle fan to dry your nails too.

4. Apply A Coat Of Oil

Apply A Coat Of Oil
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Image: Shutterstock

A drop of non-stick cooking oil is a great way to cut down on nail polish drying time. You may also use baby oil, olive oil, or any carrier or essential oil.

What You Need
  • Carrier oil, essential oil, baby oil, or cooking oil
  • Dropper
  • Paper towels
Step By Step Tutorial
  1. Once you are done applying the polish, use a dropper to gently apply 1-2 drops of oil on your freshly painted nails.
  2. Let the oil sit for a few minutes. The oil soaks into the paint, making it dry faster.
  3. When you notice the oil beading on top of your nail paint, use a dry paper towel to wipe it away.

5. Apply Nail Drying Drops

Using commercial nail polish drying 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.

6. Thin It Out

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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.

7. Wait Between Coats

Wait Between Coats
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Instead of rushing into the next coat right after the first, increase the wait time between coats. It will hardly take more time than a thick layer of nail paint to dry. Thin layers dry quicker. So, go for 2-3 thin layers until you get the color intensity you desire but wait until the previous layer is completely dry. This will also ensure your final finish is smooth and flawless.

8. Switch To Quick-Dry Formulas

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

protip_icon Stylecraze Says

Nail polishes, once used, may invite polish buildup on the surface of the bottles, allowing air to enter them, and making the contents sticky and clumpy. To avoid this, you can wipe away the buildup using acetone.

9. Go For Nail-Drying Spray

Go For Nail-Drying Spray
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Commercially available nail-drying sprays are specially formulated for this purpose and are gentle on your nails. You can ask your local beauticians for product recommendations. Alternatively, you can use hairspray if you would rather not invest in a special drying spray.

10. Invest In An LED Lamp

Invest In An LED Lamp
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If you have a busy lifestyle but like to keep your nails in top shape, an LED nail lamp is a worthwhile investment. Compared to UV lamps that can harm your skin in the long run through their radiation, LED lamps are safer and can dry your fresh nail paint in a jiffy.

11. Use An Air Duster

Use An Air Duster
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This method is not safe in the long run, hence we recommend you to go for it sparingly. Many people swear by using an air duster spray for instantly drying manicures and pedicures. Hold the can 20-30 cm away from your nails while spraying so that your manicure does not get ruined. Also, make sure you wear a mask to avoid inhaling too much of the spray as it can be harmful to your health.

12. Air Purifier For Nails

Enhance your nail polish drying time with a simple solution – an air purifier. Here is how to follow this efficient technique.

What You Need

  • Air purifier

Step By Step Guide

  1. Position the air purifier near you, preferably somewhere you sit.
  2. Turn it on to increase air circulation and place your painted nails near it.
  3. Allow the purified air to interact with the nail polish. This facilitates quicker evaporation of solvents.
  4. Enjoy smudge-free, perfectly dried nails in no time.

Using an air purifier is a hassle-free way to achieve impeccable results in your nail polish application.

Now that you know how to dry your manicure quickly, let’s talk about taking care of it properly so that it lasts you a long time

How To Take Care Of Your Manicure

Many nail professionals claim that your manicure is not completely set for up to twelve hours after the process, even after the polish dries. You need to take extra care of your manicure around this time to ensure it sets properly and lasts long. Here are a few tips to make the best of your manicured nails:

  • Take time out during the weekend to paint your nails or do it after your night routine, just before going to bed. This will ensure your hands are less busy and your manicure gets time to dry properly.
  • Use tested and well-endorsed methods of drying your nails instead of vigorously waving your hands around in the air and accidentally ruining your nails.
  • Refresh your manicure with a quick-dry top coat every two to three days to keep it chip-free.

Infographic: Tips To Cut Drying Time Of Your Nail Polish

If you are in a rush, waiting for your nail polish to dry can feel like forever. On an average, nail polishes may take 10-30 minutes to dry completely. However, you can cut down this drying time with some simple tips. Click on the infographic below to learn what you can do to make your nail polish dry fast.

tips to cut drying time of your nail polish (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Get the high-quality PDF version of this infographic.

Download Infographic in PDF version

Let go of those tough days when you had to think a zillion times before painting your nails last minute. With this guide on how to dry nail polish fast, you do not have to worry; only flaunt some beautiful nails. So, the next time you need to go out for brunch or attend a party and your nails are not done, you can paint those pretty nails and use our tips to dry them quickly. Whether you use a freezer or spray some cooking oil, your nail paint will dry out almost instantly, and you will be party-ready in no time.

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.

Does hand sanitizer dry nail polish?

No, hand sanitizer cannot dry nail polish. The rich alcohol content removes or breaks down the nail polish by dissolving the pigment.

Does rubbing alcohol dry nail polish?

No, rubbing alcohol does not dry nail polish. Like an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, it softens and removes the polish.

Does showering ruin nail polish?

Avoid showering if your nails are wet as the water will wash off unset nail polish.

Key Takeaways

  • Soaking nails in chilled water after applying polish can help reduce drying time.
  • A spray of some cooking oil is another great way to speed up the drying process.
  • Apply a thin layer of polish instead of a thick one to reduce drying time.
  • After painting the nails, swirl a blow dryer around your nails for quick drying.
How to dry your nail polish faster

Image: Dall·E/StyleCraze Design Team

Tired of waiting for your nails to dry? Learn the trick to drying them fast in this video. Get ready for well-done nails even in a rush!

Personal Experience: Source

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