Efficient Techniques For Faster Drying Of Regular Nail Polish

Key Takeaways
  • Invest in quick-dry nail polish or topcoats that can significantly reduce drying time.
  • Utilize nail polish drying drops or sprays to speed up the drying process.
  • Avoid applying thick layers of nail polish, as they take longer to dry and are more prone to smudging.
  • Consider investing in a UV or LED nail lamp for even faster and more efficient drying.

Are you looking for a way to dry your nail polish faster?

There are lots of myths surrounding regular nail polish and how to dry it.

We are here to break down these myths and see what works best to dry your regular nail polish faster.

How To Dry Regular Nail Polish Faster

Can You Use UV Or LED Lamps To Dry Regular Nail Polish Faster?

The short answer to this is no.

UV and LED Lamps are only suitable for use for nail polishes that need to be UV or LED cured, these polishes include gel, shellac, or dip powder. Acrylic nails are also cured under UV lamps.

For regular nail polish, you do not need a UV or LED lamp as they do not have any effect on regular polish.

UV lamps can be harmful to the skin on your hands and so it is a huge benefit that regular polish is not cured by this type of light. UV light exposure can lead to an increased risk of being diagnosed with skin cancer.

If you are using a polish that requires UV light, not a regular polish, ensure you are wearing sunscreen and take breaks to reduce your exposure levels. 

Before you get Started

  • Start with clean, dry nails free from any old polish, oil, or residue.
  • Apply your regular nail polish in thin layers to speed up the drying process.
  • Consider using a quick-dry top coat to seal and set your regular nail polish.
  • After applying polish, dip your nails in ice water to help the polish dry more quickly.
  • Allow adequate time for your nail polish to dry thoroughly, and avoid exposing your nails to potential smudging or damage.

Ways To Dry Regular Nail Polish Faster

Nail Fan

Nail fans are the most effective and reliable way to dry your regular nail polish faster.

Nail fans can be bought to suit a range of budgets and ensure you check the dimensions as often they can range in size which means you can’t fit your entire hand in some models.

Nail fans look the same as UV and LED lamps with the main difference being that it has jets that blast cool air down onto your nails to dry the nails rather than a light source.

Cheaper models may take longer than more expensive models but all of them do the trick of drying your nails faster.

Nail Drying Spray

This product does what it says on the tin. Instructions may vary between products so be sure to read these before applying the product to your nails.

Nail Drying Spray can be bought in most beauty stores and ranges in price, depending on the brand.


It is always great to be able to use your products for different uses. Hairspray can be applied to painted nails to speed up the drying process and as a cheap alternative to nail drying spray.

To apply the hairspray to painted nails hold the can approximately 8 inches (ca. 20 cm) away from your nails and apply in a slow sweeping movement from the left to the right.

Leave to dry for one minute and then wash your hands to get rid of any residue that may have landed on your skin.

Quick Guide: Accelerating the Drying of Regular Nail Polish

  • Drying: Learn quick techniques to accelerate regular nail polish drying for a smudge-free finish.
  • Thin Coats: Apply polish in thin layers to speed up the drying process and reduce waiting time.
  • Quick-Dry Top Coat: Opt for a quick-dry top coat to seal and set your regular nail polish efficiently.
  • Ice Water Trick: Discover the ice water dip method to help your nail polish dry faster and evenly.

Ice Cold Water

This method surprisingly works very well.

Simply place your unpainted nails into a bowl of icy water and hold for a minute. Take your nails out and paint them immediately.

Your nails will be very cold after the icy water and this makes the polish set faster.

While it may be simple and effective, submerging your nails in icy water may not be pleasant for everyone.


Using a hairdryer may not dry your nails completely, but it will speed up the drying process.

When using a hairdryer ensure it is set to its lowest, coolest setting. Hold the hairdryer six to eight inches away from the nails, depending on the strength of the dryer, and blow-dry your nails for a couple of minutes.

This is probably the least effective method, but it does still somewhat speed up the process.

How To Dry Regular Nail Polish Faster

 Keep In Mind

  • Thin Layers: Apply several thin coats of regular nail polish instead of one thick layer for faster drying.
  • Quick-Dry Products: Invest in quick-dry top coats and nail polish products designed to expedite drying.
  • Ventilation: Ensure good airflow in your nail painting area to speed up the natural drying process.
  • Avoid Heat: While heat may seem like a solution, avoid using hot air or direct heat sources as they can lead to bubbling and uneven drying.
  • Patience: Regardless of your chosen method, allow enough time for your regular nail polish to set and dry to prevent smudging or imperfections entirely.

Quick Top Dry Coat

  Image by @polishpickup via Instagram

A quick-dry top coat is a fantastic addition to your regular nail polish routine if you want to speed up the drying process.

After applying your chosen nail polish color, please wait a minute or two for it to become slightly less tacky.

Then, apply a thin, even layer of the quick-dry top coat over your nails. This specialized top coat contains ingredients that help accelerate the drying time of your nail polish.

It reduces the waiting time, provides a glossy finish, and extends the life of your manicure.

Remember, while it speeds up drying, it’s still wise to avoid activities that could damage your nail polish until it’s scorched, typically taking a few more minutes

Pro Tip

After applying regular nail polish, briefly dip your nails in cold water to help set the polish and speed up the drying process.

Baby Oil

While baby oil can be helpful for various beauty purposes, it’s not typically used to dry regular nail polish faster.

Baby oil is moisturizing and gentle oil, but it doesn’t have the specific properties needed to speed up the drying process of nail polish.

It’s best to use a dedicated quick-dry top coat for quicker drying or consider techniques like dipping your painted nails briefly in ice water or using a fan to accelerate the drying process.

These methods are more effective and safer for achieving speedy results with regular nail polish.

Drying Drop

Drying drops are an excellent choice for speeding up the drying time of regular nail polish.

After applying your nail polish color, please wait a minute or two to make it slightly less tacky.

Then, apply a few drops of the drying solution to each nail. These drops often contain ingredients like solvents that help evaporate the nail polish’s liquid components, leaving your nails dry to the touch in just a few minutes.

Drying drops are a convenient and effective way to ensure your regular nail polish dries quickly, reducing the risk of smudging or smearing.

How To Check If Your Nail Polish Is Dry

It can be hard to tell when your nail polish is dry, especially if you are using a product with a lot of shine.

The best way to check your nails, which won’t ruin all of your hard work, is to gently tap your pinky nails together. If your nail polish is dry they will tap together and not stick or leave a mark.

If your nails are still dry the nails will stick together and leave a marking on the nail. As your pinky nails are the smallest nails on your hand they are easy to fix. 

We hope that you have learned some new ways to help dry your regular nail polish quicker. These quick-drying hacks only work with regular nail polish as both dip and gel nail polish are UV cured.

Did you know?

A quick and effective way to dry regular nail polish is to use a cooking spray like non-stick cooking oil spray. A light mist of the spray can help set the polish, reducing drying time.

Still, have questions?

Check out our frequently asked questions section for more information.

How To Dry Regular Nail Polish Faster

Why Does My Nail Polish Never Fully Dry?

Less is more when it comes to applying nail polish.

If you are applying thick layers it is very difficult for the product to fully dry. Apply thin layers and allow time for each coat to dry properly before adding another layer or coat.

Ariel Coleman

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