6 Expert Tips To Cut Your Nail Polish Drying Time

Hi! You found our guide to nail polish drying time.

From dipping nails in ice water to hairspray and baby oil, there are so many DIY techniques to speed up the nail polish drying process. Even though some of these techniques are a bit out there, there is some truth to them. For example, if you live in a cooler area, you’re in luck, because the cold air can actually help with drying times. But these techniques don’t make your manicure more enjoyable or mindful and can at times cause more headaches and mess. Your at-home mani is supposed to be a relaxing process and a moment of self-care. Because we want you to enjoy your at-home mani, we thought we would share 6 tips to make your nail polish dry faster (mindfully).

This post includes:

How long does nail polish take to dry?

Nail polish takes longer to dry than most people think. The first layer of the base coat will take 1-2 minutes to completely dry. But your first layer of nail polish will take up to 10 minutes to dry. Certain factors can also affect the drying time, including the color of your polish (darker colors could take longer because of the pigment), and the polish layers being too thick. Make sure to allow 10 minutes for your second layer to dry. If you are really short on time, use a quick-dry oil (sundays QD.01) or quick dry top coat (sundays T.02) to speed up the process. Keep in mind that the layers might not be completely dry and you will need to be mindful of your actions when drying hands. Avoid rough surface activities like opening a can of soda if you got your manicure done 20 minutes prior.

Tip: On average, we can say 20 minutes is a “safe surface” dry. However, most brands of regular nail polish take about 1 hour to completely dry.

In summary:

  • The first layer of the base coat will take up to 2 minutes to dry.
  • The first layer of nail polish will take up to 10 minutes to dry.
  • The second layer of nail polish will take up to 20 minutes to dry completely.

The time to dry between coats is influenced by color, temperature, and other factors.

Factors that can influence drying time:

  • Nail Polish Color: Darker colors could take longer because of the rich pigment vs lighter colors.
  •  Temperature: Cooler air can help nail polish dry faster meanwhile humid areas will take longer due to heavy moisture in the air.
  •  Nail Polish Layers: Thinner layers dry faster than thicker layers due to the amount of polish being used. Always allow drying time between coats!

How to dry nail polish fast

If you’re guilty of tapping the nail surface and deeming it good to go only to find your nail color smudged later, here are 6 quick tips to make your polish dry faster.

1. Apply thin polish layers
Apply a thin layer of nail polish as opposed to thicker layers that can lengthen drying time. Dont worry if the first layer doesn’t apply evenly, the second thin layer will cover up any consistencies.

2. Use a small fan
Using a small hand fan can help reduce your nail polish drying time. You don’t want a super powerful fan to dry out your nails and natural moisturizers either, plus the noise will be distracting while it dries. We know it’s tempting to reach for the blow dryer but hot air can actually dry out your cuticle area and stop the nail polish from hardening, thus making it longer to dry completely.

3. Use a quick dry oil
We recommend you try our quick dry oil (QD.01) to cut drying time in half. The formula also prevents your nails from denting and keeps them shiny and moisturized with coconut and avocado oil. Not only will your polish dry quickly but your cuticles will look remain moisturized when you’re finished drying. Our quick dry oil also makes the surface of your polish smooth, so that your manicure doesn’t dent or leave any marks behind.

Qd. 02 Quick Dry Oil

4. Use a quick dry top coat
If a quick dry oil (QD.01) isn’t for you, we recommend you to try a fast-drying top coat like our T.02 These drops will significantly cut your drying time down as well! Our non-toxic fast-drying top coat is also long-lasting and protects your nails from UV rays. A double win for sure!

T.02 Fast Drying Top Coat

5. Dip your nails in cold water
It sounds strange, but it is true! After you’ve completed your mani or pedi let it sit for a few minutes so that the nail polish can settle after application, then put your nails into a bowl or container of ice water and leave them in the water for around 4-5 minutes. This will surprisingly cut down your dry time, although may leave you a bit chilly.

6. Hair dryer on cool
See a pattern? Not only does cold air help dry your nails, but cold temperatures also make nail polish last longer and make them less prone to chipping. Drying your nails with cool air will help to dry nails faster as long as you put your hair dryer on its lowest setting of cool air. Note that hot air keeps paint from hardening so make sure to avoid turning it up. Hold the hair dryer away from your nails to avoid over-drying the nail and cuticle area. 

Final thoughts

Sometimes it feels like it takes hours for nail polish to dry completely. However, if you know the time to wait between coats, and a few quick tips to dry nail polish fast, then you can speed up the timeline. It’s always best to know that although the surface may be dry enough, the layers underneath may still require slightly more time to fully dry, therefore avoid bumping into hard surfaces for the first hour after a fresh mani or pedi. We know life gets busy and we often have to rush through our moments of self-care but we hope you will take the time to enjoy your manicure even if you are in a rush and need to speed up the drying process.

Next, check out our guide on how to file your nails and learn about 10 free nail polish.

Leave a Comment