Reveal The Perfect At-Home Replacement For Nail Primer And Dehydrator

Key Takeaways
  • Nail primers and dehydrators are essential for prepping nails before a manicure, but you can make your substitutes at home.
  • A simple homemade nail primer can be created using white vinegar or rubbing alcohol to remove natural oils and prepare the nail surface.
  • To dehydrate the nail, baking soda or cornstarch can serve as an effective and cost-efficient alternative to commercial nail dehydrators.
  • Proper nail preparation is crucial for longer-lasting nail polish and adhesion, so using these homemade substitutes can help achieve professional-looking results.

It’s hard not to love a set of perfectly polished nails.

No matter what nail enhancement you desire, you will need a nail primer and dehydrator.

It is therefore imperative to have the right products on hand if you are going to achieve a flawless result that lasts past 10 am. 

Nothing is worse than bringing out your favorite new polish, only to discover that your nail primer and dehydrator are empty. 

Discover This Homemade Substitute for a Nail Primer and Dehydrator

If you can relate to this scenario, read on. We explain the importance of nail primers and dehydrators. This article reveals the best homemade DIY substitutes for your nail product kit.

Find out how to create the most effective homemade nail primer and dehydrator using household items. Follow our step-by-step guide to learn which products to use.

Discover the pros and cons of these nail product alternatives. You can find out if they can be used with any type of manicure by reading on.

Before You Get Started

  • Collect the necessary ingredients and tools, including isopropyl alcohol and clear nail polish.
  • Ensure your workspace is clean and well-ventilated for safety.
  • Follow the correct ratios when blending the ingredients.
  • Perform a patch test to ensure your DIY mixture is compatible with your nails.
  • Store your homemade primer and dehydrator in a cool, dry place.

Don’t forget to read the conclusion for more information.

What is a Nail Dehydrator?

The job of a nail dehydrator is to dissolve the oils on your natural nails before the application of regular lacquers, acrylic, dip powder, or gel nails.

This process enables for better adhesion of your chosen polish. Many primers available to buy contain dehydrating properties. Therefore, when deciding to buy, sometimes just a primer will suffice.

Nail dehydrators are the first point of call in the nail polish process.

Applying a nail dehydrator degreases the nail, dissolves residue, and removes the excess oils on your natural nails. It also helps to ensure the polish will stick.

Nail dehydrators are very important when applying acrylics.

What is a Nail Primer?

What is a Nail Primer?

Using a nail primer is vital if you want to create an ultimate nail polish result that lasts.

Without a nail primer, your nail polish efforts will all be in vain. They just won’t cut the mustard long enough to give them the appreciation they deserve.

But what is a nail primer, and what exactly does it do?

Using a nail primer is usually the final step before applying your base coat. Often, a nail dehydrator is used on the natural nail surface, followed by a nail bonder (to help with adhesion).

Then, you paint on nail primer to further enhance the sticking and longevity of the polish or chosen nail enhancements.

A nail primer is crucial for ensuring acrylic nail extensions stay put. A nail primer will prevent air bubbles from forming on your natural nail. In turn, this prevents any lifting and peeling from occurring.

Applying a nail primer is a key step in keeping your polish firmly in place for as long as possible. 

Difference Between Nail Primer and Dehydrator

  Image by @glamnailproducts via Instagram

Nail primer and dehydrator are essential in nail enhancements but serve distinct roles. A nail primer primarily promotes adhesion between the natural nail and artificial overlays like acrylic or gel nails.

It typically contains chemicals such as methacrylic acid or acid-free bonding agents that create a strong bond by etching the nail’s surface, ensuring the longevity of the enhancement.

In contrast, a nail dehydrator’s primary function is to remove excess moisture and oils from the nail plate.

It usually contains alcohol-based ingredients, like isopropyl alcohol, which cleanse and dehydrate the nail, creating a clean, oil-free surface for better product adhesion.

While both products are crucial for enhancing nail longevity, the key distinction lies in their specific roles, with primer focusing on bonding and dehydrator on surface preparation.

Pros of Using Dehydrators and Nail Primers

1. Longevity – with the help of a nail dehydrator and primer, you can be certain you will get optimal usage out of your chosen nail polish enhancement or even just a regular polish.

2. Even – By using these 2 products, you can rest assured that your nails can maintain flawlessly and even for longer.

3. Cost-effective – Either revisiting your nail technician’s salon or redoing them at home can be postponed for longer periods.

Quick Nail Primer & Dehydrator Guide:

  • How To Make Your Own: Combine isopropyl alcohol and clear nail polish in the right proportions.
  • Level Of Maintenance: Low
  • Suitable For: All skin tones and nail types
  • Looks Best With: Your favorite nail polish and nail art for a long-lasting finish.

Cons of Using Nail Dehydrators and Nail Primers

1. Nail primer damage – nail primers come in different types which can damage the nail over time – Methacrylic acid is the component found in acid-based primers. These actually create little holes in your nail bed to enable your polish to get a better grip. Yuk,

2. Acrylics are here to stay – Nail dehydrators and primers are hugely successful at their goal. Above all, the goal is to ensure adhesion.

So, in the case of acrylics, trying to remove these little blighters when you have got a dehydrator and primer involved is not going to be easy.

Okay, so from the facts we have gathered so far, we can agree that using a nail dehydrator and primer is not essential unless you are planning on using the acrylic nail technique.

However, having them in your nail kit arsenal will make a significant difference to your nail polish mani’s longevity and appearance. 

Also, due to their chemical makeup, frequent usage can weaken and damage your natural nails.

With this in mind, if you are constantly switching up your nail polish look, nail technicians suggest the use of a dehydrator and non-acid primer. 

How to Make A Homemade DIY Substitute for Nail Dehydrators and Primers

Discover This Homemade Substitute for a Nail Primer and Dehydrator

The quickest at-home ingredients to use for creating your DIY nail dehydrator and primer are obviously going to be acetone and Isopropyl alcohol.

1. Paint on a thin layer of isopropyl alcohol and allow it to evaporate.

2. Paint on a thin layer of acetone solution.

3. Wait to dry, then go ahead and apply your chosen polish base coat.

Keep in Mind

  • Proper Mixing: Ensure you’ve mixed the ingredients in the correct proportions to create an effective solution.
  • Clean Nails: Start with clean, dry nails before applying the primer and dehydrator for better adhesion.
  • Allow Drying Time: Give the primer and dehydrator a moment to dry before applying nail polish or nail products.
  • Even Application: Apply the solution evenly to all nails, avoiding excess or uneven coverage.Use Sparingly: A little goes a long way; avoid overusing the primer and dehydrator to prevent over-drying the nails.

How Alcohol Works as a Nail Primer & Dehydrator

Alcohol serves a dual purpose as both a nail primer and dehydrator in the context of nail enhancements.

As a nail primer, alcohol, often as isopropyl alcohol, thoroughly cleans the nail plate. It removes any traces of oils, moisture, or contaminants that might inhibit the adhesion of artificial nail products like acrylics or gels.

By creating a clean, dry surface, alcohol helps the primer bond more effectively to the natural nail, ensuring a secure attachment to the artificial overlay.

Additionally, alcohol acts as a dehydrator by drawing out any remaining moisture from the nail plate.

Moisture can lead to lifting or peeling of nail enhancements, so by evaporating any residual water, alcohol aids in preventing these issues.

This dual action of alcohol as a primer and dehydrator is crucial for achieving a solid and long-lasting bond between the natural nail and artificial enhancements, ultimately contributing to the durability and longevity of the manicure or nail extension.

Pro Tip

Because nail primers are light-sensitive, keep them somewhere cool and dry. Their shelf life will be extended since discoloration and contamination will be prevented.

Benefits of Using Isopropyl Alcohol and Acetone

As long as you use isopropyl alcohol that is high in concentration in combination with acetone, you can achieve great dehydrating and priming results.

However, achieving perfect results expected from shop-bought dehydrators and primers is not always possible as these also alter the pH balance of the nail. 

That said, the benefits of using acetone and alcohol include:

1.  Removes excess oils 

2. Takes off any moisture from the nail plate.

How to Make a Bottle of DIY Nail Dehydrator and Primer

If you decide this works great and want to do away with the shop-bought options, read on. Here’s how to quickly create your very own little bottle of DIY nail dehydrator and primer.#

1. Use a clean bottle and nail polish brush for application

2. Mix 1 part acetone to 1-part isopropyl alcohol.

3. Et voilà! Your own homemade recipe.

Top Tip #1- Make sure you use equal amounts of both products and stir well before use. 

Top Tip #2 – Have cotton balls or swabs to the ready. Should you go over the lines onto your skin, remove them immediately. Acetone and alcohol are not just dehydrating. It can damage the skin and also cause future skin sensitivity.

Fun Fact

Nail primer is required before applying even the $250,000 Black Diamond King nail lacquer, which has 267 carats of black diamonds!


Making your own DIY homemade substitute for nail dehydrators and nail primers is super easy to do.

All you need is a splash of highly concentrated isopropyl alcohol and the same amount of acetone solution. 

However, it is important to remember that although this offers fantastic drying and hence, sticking capabilities, you need to consider how it stands up to certain nail polish techniques.

Acrylics really need the added attention of a bonding agent.

This should be used after the dehydrator and before the primer. Furthermore, not getting the pH balance of your nail right may result in premature chipping, lifting, and peeling. 

Avoid this by making sure this process is the best option for your chosen nail technique.

However, if you happen to run out of these 2 nail transformative products, using the abovementioned DIY alternatives should be deemed the go-to solution. It is the fastest and most effective quick fix.