How to Dry Nail Polish Faster: 10 Quick Methods

It’s manicure day at home and you’ve successfully painted your nails and feel proud of yourself. Now, you just have to wait for the paint to dry.

But then you remember you have some work to do, so you decide to move thinking you’ve given your manicure enough time to dry, and then the worst happens.

Now you’re left with smudged nails and a stained surface. Well, there are a few tricks you can try to speed up the process by a lot.

Making Nail Polish Dry Faster

While it takes 10 to 15 minutes for nail polish to fully dry, there are a few shortcuts you can follow to hasten the process.

1. Use a Quick Dry Top Coat

Using specially formulated clear nail polish made to dry faster than regular nail polish is a great way to cut down the time you want for your nails to set.

Many of these quick dry top coats are as cheap as regular nail polish. They may also add a bright sheen to your manicure, and prevent chipping while drying in a minute.

2. Dunk Your Nails in Cold Water

The knowledge that nail polish generally dries faster with cold air is the reason why this works. You can try running your hands under a steady flow of cold water for two minutes.

If you aren’t interested in that method, then you can prepare a bowl of cold water before you start working on your hands.

Take a bowl and fill it with cold tap water, then add a cube of ice. Wait for two minutes after painting your nails, before dunking them in the bowl for two to five minutes.

3. Blow-dry Your Nails

As mentioned before, cold air will help your nails dry faster, so before you start painting, plug in your hair dryer and put on cool air.

Once you’re done with painting, hit your hand with that steady stream of cool air. Make sure not to switch to hot air because that can melt your nail polish.

You would be more successful if you painted one hand first before the other, so you can hold the hairdryer with the hand with no paint.

4. Drip Olive Oil Onto Your Nails

I know you’re wondering “how does this even work?” But I swear to you, it does. The math isn’t matching, but it’s still great math. 

You don’t need a lot. When you’re done painting your nails, apply a drop or two of your olive oil to your nails and wait for a minute or two.

When your nail is dry, you should see the oil beading on top. Take a tissue and wipe it off. Even if it fails, at least your nails will be hydrated.

5. Apply Nail Polish In Thin Coats

Instead of applying one or two thick coats of nail polish that will take forever to get dry, apply several thin coats of polish.

This technique will save you a lot of time because thin nail polishes dry a lot faster than thick ones. When applying, spread out the polish as thinly as you can go. 

6. Hold Your Hands in the Freezer

As much as we don’t like being cold, you’ll have to choose between the lesser devil in this situation. Do you want your manicure done quickly or can you deal with smudges?

If you choose the quick dry, hold your hands in the freezer for two minutes. The cold air will help to solidify the nail polish faster. 

7. Get a Fast Drying Nail Polish

Nail polish manufacturers are finally heeding the cries of customers and have started producing nail polishes that can set in a few minutes.

Stock up your supply at home for a quick mani session. Apply that polish on your nails and witness the wonder that follows.

8. Choose Your Color Wisely

Some colors of nail polish dry faster than others, like sheer or metallic nail polish. They also require fewer coats to pop out.

Darker shades sometimes take longer to dry because of the heavy pigment in them.

9. Use Quick Drying Drops

The quick-drying drops are designed to dry nails in a few minutes. They can be found easily in your local beauty stores or online.

Apply one or two drops to your nails after painting, tip your nails a little so the drops reach everywhere, and wait a few minutes. You’ll have a rock-hard manicure in no time.

10. Spritz Your Nails With Some Hairspray

If you have some hairspray at home, give your nails a quick spritz. This will also help your nails get dry faster. 

However, it is worth noting that it only hardens the top layer, so you should wait for a few more minutes for the full nail polish to set. Be extra careful not to bump your nails.

FAQs on How to Make Nail Polish Dry Faster

What makes nail polish dry fast with quick-drying polish?

Quick-drying nail polishes use the same ingredients as normal nail polish but have a higher amount of solvents. More solvent means the evaporation rate increases, thus reducing the drying time.

Does blowing on the nails make the polish dry faster?

Blowing on your nails with your mouth doesn’t make the polish dry faster. The humidity of your breath will prevent the polish from drying any faster.

What dries nail polish faster, cold or hot air?

Cold air will make the nail polish dry faster. Using warm air could make your nail lacquer melt. If you’re at the salon, ensure you press the cool shot button on the hairdryer continuously.

How do you know if nail polish is dry?

If you think your nails are dry, gently push your pinky nail together. If you feel the nail polish drag slightly when you separate them, it is not dry yet. Give it a few more minutes.