How to Get Nail Polish to Dry Quickly

How to Get Nail Polish to Dry Quickly thumbnail
A nail polish drying fan speeds up drying time.

Nail polishing as part of a home manicure can consist of a base coat, two layers of nail polish and a top coat. Each layer of product has to dry before you can apply the next. This can be time-consuming -- potentially frustrating for someone who is pressed for time. If you've applied thick layers, your drying time will be even longer. To avoid spending a lot of time immobilized while your nails dry, try these methods that will help you dry your nails thoroughly but quickly.


    • 1

      Apply a single thin layer of a nail polish in a pale hue. Natural hues dry more quickly than darker shades, and because they are less obvious, one layer is often sufficient.

    • 2

      Try a three-in-one nail polish that has built-in base and top coats. Apply two thin layers of the polish. Your drying time will be shorter because you won't have to wait for base and top coats to dry separately.

    • 3

      Use quick-dry products. These are polishes that claim to dry in 60 seconds or less. Purchase a quick-dry base coat, nail polish and top coat.

    • 4

      Spray a drying accelerator onto your nail varnish. Wait one minute after polishing your nails. Aim the spray nozzle at your fingernails and spray one to two times. Your nails will be dry in approximately five minutes. Drying accelerators are also available as drops.

    • 5

      Turn on a small desk fan and position your nails in front of the fan to speed up drying. Use cool air from a blow dryer or a nail drying fan as an alternative.

    • 6

      Use ice water to speed up nail polish drying time. Fill a small bowl with enough water so you can soak your fingernails in it. Add ice cubes to chill the water. Rest your polished fingernails in the ice water; wait three minutes before removing them.

    • 7

      Expose your polished fingernails to ultraviolet rays. A UV nail dryer uses ultraviolet rays to dry your nail polish more quickly.

Tips & Warnings

  • To ensure thin, quicker-drying layers of polish, wipe the nail polish brush over the opening of the nail polish bottle to get rid of excess product before polishing.

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  • Photo Credit Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images

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