Tricks To Make Your Nail Polish Dry Faster

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We love nothing more than to sit down and do our nails however we want, whether we're in the mood for classy nude nail designs or a bright and playful manicure. Our stress always disappears as we admire the fresh new manicure! But as fun as it is to choose a nail polish color — or colors — and designs, paint our nails, and flaunt our work when we're done, sitting around and waiting for the polish to finish drying after painting our nails is not so fun. Even if we try to make it less boring by listening to music as we sit there and wait, waiting for our nail polish to dry is the same annoyance as watching paint dry — it's a notoriously dull process and can get frustrating.


However, you shouldn't let that one not-so-fun aspect of doing your nails stop you. We know many excellent ways to speed up nail polish drying, such as purchasing some helpful nail-related products, using cold water, and even looking to your hairdryer or fan for help.

Invest in a nail polish dryer

Believe it or not, there are specific products available to help your nail polish dry faster, making them the most convenient helpers for drying your nails at quicker speeds. Of course, these products are not household essentials and aren't necessary for doing your nails, but if you have the luxury of having some extra money to spend on a nail polish dryer and don't like waiting around for your nails to finish drying, you should consider purchasing one of these helpful items.


For instance, the WOWOHI Nail Dryer for Regular Polish sells for around $30 on Amazon and has 4.2 out of five stars at the time of writing. Pleased reviewers even wrote, "Works just like the one in the salon," and "This is just what I wanted for doing my own mani and pedis at home." Furthermore, the Niyofa Mini Nail Dryer is available for just over $10 at Walmart. The battery-operated nail polish dryer has 4.3 stars. One reviewer even wrote, "I love this nail dryer. It's just a simple fan, but makes my day when I can dry layer after layer of polish without messing up my nails." Or, if you're looking for an ultra-affordable option, the Essential Beauty Mini Nail Dryer sells for only $5 at Five Below.


Don't rush or touch your nails before the polish dries

We've all experienced this situation: you're getting impatient after waiting for what feels like forever for your nail polish to dry, so you put on the next layer before the current layer is 100% dry or touch the drying polish to see if maybe it actually is done drying. Then, that currently-drying polish ends up with smudges, gets messed up, and you have to re-do it and wait for it to dry all over again.


"Regular nail polish usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes to dry, depending on the thickness of the coats applied," Jin Soon Choi, a celebrity manicurist, told POPSUGAR. While it's tempting to rush the process, doing so will only make it longer in the end, so please try your best to be patient during those 15 to 20 minutes and don't rush.

You should also avoid applying overly thick layers, as doing so can prolong the drying time. "When we apply color in thick layers, the polish takes much longer to dry, and the longer it takes to dry, the more likely we are to smudge the manicure," Danielle Candido, a Gelish manicure expert, told StyleCaster. That said, you'll want to apply thin coats and wait a minute or two between each layer of polish.


Use quick-dry nail polish and top-coat products

If you get too bored, restless, or impatient waiting for your nail polish to dry, consider using different products. Next time you shop for nail polish and top coat, look for items specifically designed to dry fast. For example, the Wet n Wild Polish Fast Dry Nail Color in violet tendencies is available for only around $2 on Amazon. Plus, according to its description, the first layer of the glassy purple nail polish will dry in one minute. The product has 4.4 out of five stars, and many reviewers noted that it dries very quickly, as promised.


Another option is the Essie Expressie Quick-Dry Nail Polish, selling for about $5 on Amazon at the time of writing. The dark, vegan Amazon's Choice nail polish has 4.5 stars, and one reviewer even wrote, "It's so amazing to have full coverage that lasts but dries in minutes!"

Regarding the top coat, the Sally Hansen Nail Treatment 45114 Dries Instantly — Top Coat is available for just nearly $5 at Target and has 4.4 stars with a 78% recommendation rate at the time of writing. Another option is the Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat, selling for under $10 at Sally Beauty. It has 4.5 stars, and a reviewer who believes it lives up to the hype commented, "Works as advertised, fast and strong finish."

Don't blow on your nails

When we're waiting for our nail polish to dry, it's super tempting to blow on our nails. After all, you'd think the air we blow on them would provide a similar effect to a nail polish dryer, right? It turns out that's not true; believe it or not, blowing on your nail polish in hopes of getting it to dry faster is counterproductive, as our breath is warm, not cold.


"Blowing on your nails doesn't speed up drying time. As you breathe on them, the humidity of your breath will prevent the polish [from] drying any faster. Polish dries faster when it's cooler," Michelle Humphrey, a celebrity manicurist, told Good Housekeeping. Therefore, next time you sit at your table or on your couch as you wait for your nail polish to dry, please avoid blowing on your nails, as doing so won't do any good for drying the polish. We know it's a tough habit to break, but no one wants to be counterproductive.

Use cold water to your advantage

Oddly enough, cold water can speed up the nail polish drying process. "Try running your hands under cold water, which will help speed up the dry time. I have no idea why this works, but it so does," Gibson Tuttle, the founder of Olive & June, told Byrdie. IPSY posted a TikTok video demonstrating another spin on the hack, showing that nails sitting in cold water for a brief period will speed up the drying process, too. Someone even commented, "I used to do this back in 1998, and this really does work."


Moreover, TikToker @_rakhstarbeauty posted a video soaking her nails in a glass of water with ice cubes, showing how the hack seemingly magically dried the green nail polish. Whether you run your nails under cold water in the sink, let them sit in a cup of your coldest water, or bathe them in water filled with ice cubes, try using cold water to your advantage when you want your nail polish to dry faster.

Use a hairdryer or fan

Anyone who doesn't want to spend the extra money on a nail dryer or get their hands too chilly in cold water can use a hairdryer or fan instead. "Whether you're at a salon or home, cold air from a fan or blow dryer will help the polish harden faster," Gibson Tuttle told Byrdie. For example, TikTok user Marcy Dorn posted a video sharing that because she now uses a hair dryer to dry her nails instead of just letting them dry naturally, her manicure is dry and ready in under eight minutes.


Furthermore, TikToker Haley Mack shared a video showing how she uses a small fan over her nails to help the polish dry faster. If you don't have a blow dryer or fan, get creative! In fact, Zoe Mora, a fellow TikToker, posted a video demonstrating how she lets her microwave's vent fan dry her nail polish, captioning the post, "Your arms will get tired from standing like this but at least you won't ruin your manicure in .5 seconds." A viewer was so impressed by the idea that they commented, "I think you just [changed] my life babe."

Explore drying drops

In addition to quick-dry nail polishes and top coats, there are also drops you can apply to your nail polish to help it dry faster. "These products typically contain silicones that evaporate quickly and remove the solvents within the polish, therefore speeding up the drying process," Dr. Dana Stern, a board-certified dermatologist specializing in nail health, told Bustle. So, investing in drying drops will help you shorten the frustratingly long waiting time for the polish to dry during your at-home manicure process.


If you want to buy drying drops, check out the OPI Drip Dry Lacquer Drying Drops, available for a little over $10 on Amazon. According to the product's benefits, these drops will lead to 100% dry nails in five minutes — or even faster. The product has 4.6 stars with over 10,000 ratings, and over 80% of reviewers gave the drops perfect five-star reviews. One reviewer even described the item as "an absolute game-changer," while another happy customer wrote, "Very helpful in lessening drying time for nail polish. Highly recommend!" Another option is the Sally Hansen Dries Polish Dry & Go Drops, selling for under $18 on Amazon. Offering to dry your manicure in only one minute, this Amazon's Choice product has 4.7 out of five stars.