How Long Does It Take for Nail Polish to Dry?

Nail Polish to Dry

Women who love coloring nails always wonder why some nail polish takes more time to dry. Colored nails look beautiful and enhance the way your hands appear. Applying the colors that suit your complexion makes your hands look extremely alluring.

However, when in a rush, one question that strikes the mind is, ‘how long does it take nail polish to dry’ so that you can resume other activities.

The article will also provide all the details about the typical average drying time of nail polish. By the end, you will also learn ways to hasten the drying process of nail polish.

Factors That Affect Nail Polish Drying Time

Factors that affect nail polish drying time

Usually, nail polish dries after 5 to 10 minutes of application. It is essential to mention that by this time, even though the nail polish feels dry to the touch, it may smudge and get dents on sudden abrasion.

How long it takes for nail polish to cure or harden depends upon several factors, such as its ingredients, how many coats you have applied, and the environmental conditions in your area. Based on these factors, nail polish can take from 30 minutes to one hour to cure completely and set.

Let’s discuss these factors in detail.

1. Type of Nail Polish

The formulation of your nail polish determines how long it will take to dry. For instance, if you are using traditional nail polish that contains solvents (1), it will typically take less time to dry. This is because the solvents evaporate readily, setting the polish perfectly within 10 minutes.

On the contrary, gel nail polishes require more effort and curing under UV or LED lamps. So, the usual time for such nail polish to harden and set is around 60 to 80 minutes.

2. Number of Coats Applied

When you apply multiple coats of nail polish to get a slightly darker shade, the drying time increases. Every coat needs more time to harden.

In such cases, it is advised that you apply one coat and wait for it to dry. Once the first coat dries, you can apply the next coat and proceed similarly. In this way, the nail polish will take more time to dry.

3. Environmental Conditions

Two environmental conditions that influence the drying time of nail polish are temperature and humidity.

  • Temperature: Under high temperatures, nail polish dries faster. Warmer temperature accelerates the drying process, and heat increases the rate of evaporation of solvents dissolved in nail polish. Conversely, when the temperature is low, the drying time of nail polish will prolong, taking more time to dry and harden.
  • Humidity: Moisture in the environment influences the process of evaporation. High humidity hinders the evaporation of solvents, leading to longer drying time. On the flip side, low humidity promotes faster evaporation and subsequently lesser drying time.

4. Quality of Nail Polish

Another factor that determines the drying time of nail polish is its quality. Those coming from high-quality brands have safe ingredients (2) and are formulated for quick drying. Such nail paints contain ingredients that evaporate at a faster rate. On the contrary, cheaper polishes will take a long time to dry and sometimes do not dry evenly. Also, they are more prone to smudging.

How Can Nail Polish Drying Time Be Reduced?

How Can Nail Polish Drying Time Be Reduced

Now that we know what factors determine the drying time of nail polish, it’s time to learn some effective ways to reduce the drying and setting time.

  • Apply a quick: dry top coat- If you think your nail polish is taking forever to dry and set, maybe it’s time to invest in a quick-dry top coat. It is designed to add sheen to your nails, enhance the color of the nail polish, prevent its chipping and dry the nails faster.
  • Dip in cold water: Take a small bowl filled with some water and 2 ice cubes and place it nearby. Apply nail polish, wait for a few minutes (to allow nail polish to adhere and set) and dip the fingers in the water for about five minutes. If you notice water beads on the nail surface, it’s a sign that your nail polish is dry.
  • Use hairdryer: Take your hairdryer and bring it to a ‘cool air’ setting. After you have applied the nail polish, hit a steady stream of cool air from the dryer to your nails. It will dry the nail polish much faster than natural drying.
  • Use oil: Certain oils such as baby oil and olive oil can help dry the nail polish faster. All you need is to apply a drop of oil over the nail after applying nail polish and wait for a few minutes. The oils work by sitting on the top of nails and soaking into the paint. As a result, the polish gets thin and the thinner polish dries faster.
  • Apply thin coats: If you don’t have much time to wait, apply thin coats of your nail polish. A thin coat dries faster than a thick coat. Thus, between subsequent coat application, the first coat dries after applying the second one, which hastens the entire drying process.
  • Drying drops: Drying drops are similar to quick-dry top coats. They reduce the time of nail polish drying without adding layers to your manicure. Since these drops are oil-based, they add moisturization to your cuticles.


99 Now that you know how long it takes nail polish to dry and what factors determine its drying time, you can make efforts to hasten it. If you are going to a salon for gel nail polish, you have to invest more time. However, with traditional nail polishes, this time can be reduced with the right strategy and products.

Image Source : freepik

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