Can You Use Gel Nail Polish Without UV Light?

Gel nail polish is ideal for whenever you need the cleanest, most professional look that can last for several weeks without peeling. However, the application process is among the few drawbacks because, for the most part, gel polish dehydration is associated with UV lamp drying.

As a result, the question “Can you use gel nail polish without UV light?” is frequently asked. Do not miss out on this article if you want to get more information.

Why Do You Need A UV Light In Gel Manicure?

A UV light provides various advantages to your gel nail polish.

Rather than waiting for the nails to cure between layers while sitting in front of a mini-fan, a gel nail manicure uses UV light to dry the nails quickly.

In addition, when exposed to it, the gel medium produces an extremely hard finish. So, rather than 7 to 10 days without breaking, a UV gel nail polish can last up to 3 weeks. 

Moreover, gel nails are unlikely to chip, fracture, or peel. They can even grow out to the point where they need to be touched up without exposing any indications of wear.

Using UV light is essential in gel nail manicures. 
Using UV light is essential in gel nail manicures.

Can You Use Gel Nail Polish Without UV Light?

The answer is yes. In addition to getting non-UV nail polish, gel manicures may be dry while using other means. Nevertheless, it will suffer considerable quality loss.

Mostly, to cure gel nail polish correctly, the manufacturer requires you to have a UV light for the best results.

However, several gel nail polish products may dry innately without the need for UV light, which means these products will have been explicitly made to dehydrate with air exposure and are therefore not natural gel manicures. Therefore, they will not have the same performance or last as long.

Unfortunately, the polish will stay liquid and smudge unless you inspect the product carefully and it turns out not to be air-dried. It is why it is critical to read the follow the manufacturer before beginning any application. It may make or break your results!

There are also ways to get gel polish without exposing it to UV light, which we will discuss in detail later.

What Occurs If Gel Nail Polish Is Not Cured?

Many people prefer gel polishes, and no one expects to get a nail art having chip horribly as they go about their daily routine. Fortunately, curing your gel polish gives your nails an additional layer of durability.

When you miss the curing step, the uncured gel nail polish may decrease the longevity of your nail art.

Importantly, because the healing process of gel nail manicures acts on the topcoat unless you cure after each coat, the bottom layers cannot dry. As a result, it is best to apply small coats and dry each one for 30-45 seconds.

Is It Safe To Use A UV Light On Your Nails?

UV light helps set gel manicure by curing polish, thanks to the emission of UVA. They are not, however, completely safe for your nails.

When you utilize a UV light on your nails, the following issues may occur to your nails.

Weak nails

Prolonged exposure to UV-cured gel manicures may lead your nail to break and thin down. It also harms nails in the same way that acrylic and artificial nail treatments do.

For this reason, you should only do gel nail polish on exceptional occasions, such as while traveling or attending weddings, or when attractive nails are required. Following that, you will have regular manicures again for the remaining of the year.

Premature aging

Excessive UV light exposure, especially in the form of dried nail polish, increases the potential for premature aging of the exposed skin.

Using a UV light, your gel nails are quick to dry. However, the light does much more than just illuminate your nail region. The sensitive skin on your hand’s back is also illuminated.

Because the hands are the most uncovered body part and have thinner skin than the human body, they lose elasticity quickly and reveal their aging more quickly. As a result, premature aging is more likely to occur.

In addition, fat, veins, and tendons make up the frontal hand. The dorsal hand’s skin loses elasticity and then becomes thinner as a result of aging as well as a period of UV exposure.

Skin cancer

There have not been many studies of skin cancers developing on your hands due to these manicures, mainly basal cell cancer.

While it has not been shown that exposure to UV light induces skin cancer, UV light may undoubtedly involve UV rays, including UVA and UVB. 

Although both of these rays cause skin cancer, UVB has a more substantial impact on the development of skin cancer, especially the lethal black mole variety (malignant melanoma)

Likewise, UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin and impact wrinkle formation and premature skin aging (photoaging).

How To Use Gel Nail Polish Without a UV Light?

Use a LED lamp

Using LED lamps is the most alternative to UV light if you want to cure your gel nail polish. UV lights take 8-10 minutes to heal gels, whereas LED lamps only take 30-45 seconds.

Using them will not harm the nails as much as UV light does because LED lights cure faster; they expose you to less dangerous radiation, making them safer than UV lamps.

So, LED nail lamps are better than UV nail light because they dry quicker. Also, LED lamps are readily available in any good beauty store. You may always utilize LED lamps instead of a UV light to dry it.

The LED lamp is an excellent alternative to UV light. 
The LED lamp is an excellent alternative to UV light.


To use gel nail polish using a LED lamp, here are what you need to prepare in advance:

  • LED lamp
  • Sunscreen or fingerless gloves
  • Gel nail polish
  • Gel base coat
  • Gel top coat
  • Cotton ball
  • Rubbing alcohol


After preparing all the necessary materials, follow these steps:

Step 1: Cover your skin

First, cover your skin with sunscreen or fingerless gloves before painting the nails and drying the polish using an LED lamp. 

  • Although an LED lamp is safer than a UV light, it still emits some potentially dangerous rays. As a result, it is critical to take steps to prevent skin damage while your polish dries.
  • Manicures gloves created of a special polymer containing titanium dioxide, which is a sun-protecting component in several sunscreens, are available for purchase.
  • Standard fingerless gloves may also be used. Though they may not provide the same level of protection as professional ones, they can help protect the skin to some extent.

Step 2: Apply

Put a small amount of gel base layer on one hand’s nails. Soak the nail polish paint to the gel base polish and apply it to your nails. 

To get rid of the excess, wipe the brush along the top of the polish’s sides. After that, apply a thin layer to each hand’s nail. Ensure you apply the polish evenly, and there are no drips or clumps.

Step 3: Cure

Put your fingers inside its hand slot after each nail has been painted.  Also, guarantee your thumb is under the light, too. 

Next, set the timer for 45 seconds and switch it on. Unless your lamp has a timer, use your smartphone to track the time. Place your hand under the LED lamp and hold it there till the light turns off.

The functioning recommendations for the LED lamp may vary based on the model, so ensure you read them carefully.

Step 4: Paint

Soak the brush to color gel polish once the base layer has dried, and flush that on the sides to avoid clumping. 

Next, thoroughly paint a layer of color polish over the dried base coat on your nails. Avoid getting the polish on the cuticles because this will slow down the drying process and induce the polish to peel.

Step 5: Hold your hands

Established the LED lamp’s timer to 45 seconds and slip down the hand into its slot with the painted nails.

Next, switch on the lamp and holds the fingers under it until the time is over and your polish is dry.

Step 6: Apply another coat (Optional)

Make another thin layer of gel nail polish to each nail when you want the gel polish hue to be vaguer. After each extra coat, dry the gel using your LED lamp once more.

Alternatively, you may skip this step when the gel nail polish gives you the hue you desire after one coat.

Step 7: Protect the color polish

Put a gel top layer to secure the color polish after adding and drying any extra gel color polish layers. Dry the top layer for further 45 seconds under your LED lamp.

Step 8: Rub the nails

To saturate a cotton ball, place it over the rubbing alcohol bottle’s top and turn it over. The cotton ball should then be rubbed over each of your painted nails, which helps get rid of the sticky left on the nails after the surface layer has dried.

Step 9: To do with other hand, repeat the process

  • Paint the base coat, gel polish, and top coat.
  • Then, cure for 45 seconds after each coat
  • Next, use the LED lamp to help the nails last for up to 3 weeks.

Use non-UV gel polish

Many nail polish brands have produced non-UV gel polishes, which you can easily use at home. These products are applied similarly to regular polish, but they heal themselves without the use of light.

Once buying a gel polish, ensure the label clarifies that it will not necessitate the use of a LED lamp or UV light to cure. Unless it states that the polish is non-UV, you cannot cure the nails without the use of a lamp or light.

Use quick-drying nail polish spray

Here is what you should follow:

  • Place one hand on a level surface that has been covered in paper towels or newspaper. 
  • When the nail polish remains wet, keep a quick-drying nail polish spray about 6 inches away from the hand and squirt a thin layer over the nails.
  • Squirt your nails to the other hand in the same way. Allow a few hours for the nails to dry. 
  • Next, wash your hands using water and soap after the polish has dried and solidified to wash away the spray.
  • When quick-drying polish sprays are typically designed for non-gel nail polishes, these products may still aid in the curing of gel polish. Even so, the polish can take several hours to stiffen.

Use cooking spray

Do you realize that a short walk down to the kitchen might relieve the anxiety of going to the nail salon? Everything you need to do now is to obtain your cooking spray.

  • Before placing the hand out with the fingers stretched apart, put a few paper towels or newspaper on a level surface. 
  • When the polish is wet, handle the cooking spray approximately 6 inches away from the hand and squirt each finger using the oil. 
  • After that, repeat with your other hand. Allow a few hours so that the oil can dry before washing your hands when the polish hardens. 
  • Avoid touching anything if the nails are drying because the cooking spray may make the fingers sticky.
  • Squirt canola oil cooking sprays on freshly painted nails to help cure the gel polish’s top layer quicker while moisturizing the cuticles.

Take an ice bath

Aside from cooking spray and quick-drying nail polish spray, you ought to rush around looking for ice. 

  • Let your nails air dry for 5 to 10 minutes. 
  • Fill a bowl halfway with several ice cubes and cold water. Dip the nails into it, assuring they are all fully submerged. 
  • Before taking your nails out from it, soak them in water for another 3 minutes. Then, allow your nails and fingers to air dry for one hour at a minimum.
  • If the nails feel hardened once you remove them from the ice water, chances are they are not fully cured for just a few hours. 

As a result, it is critical to treat the nails with care for another several hour after taking them out from the water.

Sunbath the nails

To cure the gel manicure, you will need to use a UV light. Luckily, UV Vitamin D and light may be obtained naturally from the sun. You should give it a shot when you believe you get the stamina to stay in the sunlight. 

Despite that, it will take a lot longer to dry your nails outside in the sun than it does to dry them under a nail lamp.

Consider wearing a lighter coat

Simply get a decent thinner coat and use it as needed. It would be covered by the coating, which would aid in its settlement.

Can Gel Polish Air Dry?

The answer is no because the gel molecules are unable to bond and stiffen due to the presence of air.

Without the use of a LED or UV drying method, gel nail manicures may not cure or dry because there will be no polymerization process happening. The gel polish molecules interact with light rays to create a durable, smudge-free, chip-free surface.

Furthermore, because the formula of gel nail polish is thicker than conventional polish, it cannot dry naturally. If you try to cure gel nail polish without the use of LED or UV light, it may smear and destroy your polish because it cannot dry if you hold your hands motionless for hours.

On the other hand, several types of gel polish, particularly non-UV gel polish, do not require drying and thus, may be air-dried.

Gel nail polishes may not dry on their own. 
Gel nail polishes may not dry on their own.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use a led flashlight to cure gel nail polish?

An LED flashlight is a handheld and portable flashlight, which is a helpful tool for your outdoor activity that requires adventure. However, it is not a good idea to be used to heal the gel nails.

The reason is that a blue LED emitting light is used in most LED flashlights. Also, the phosphor coating transforms blue light into several light colors, including blue, green, and red, causing the overall look of white light.

On the contrary, a LED lamp used to cure gel nails has no phosphor coating. Therefore, the light-emitting diodes can target the gel nail polish’s photoinitiators. So, the curing process begins as a result of this.

As a result, always use an excellent LED lamp or a UV light rather than a flashlight to heal the nails because gel nails cannot be cured with a flashlight. Utilizing the right tools to heal the nails ensures that your nail polish will last longer and appear perfect.

Can you use a sunbed to cure your gel nails?

The answer is no. Although the mechanism used for a tanning bed and a nail light is relatively identical, using a tanning bed to cure the gel nail manicures is not recommended. 

The amount of wavelength and light necessary to cure gel nail polish varies depending on the manufacturer. To heal them, you will require concentrated light on the nails, so a tanning bed is not the best option.

Instead, nail lamps or UV light, which have a specified light intensity and wavelength, are intended to cure and stiffen gel polishes.

Can you use a hairdryer to cure your gel nails?

It is a bad idea to use only the hairdryer to cure gel nail polish. Instead, it is far more beneficial to use an LED lamp or UV light to cure the nails and, after that, finish with a hairdryer.

Only using a hairdryer to cure gel nail polish is not practical. 
Only using a hairdryer to cure gel nail polish is not practical.

Because using only the dryer just cures the top, which may melt the inside, producing wavy lines that never completely dry. Also, it may become sticky or gummy underneath the dry top.

Furthermore, heat slows the nail polish from curing, so a brief blast could be more harmful than beneficial.

For further information, you can watch this video:

Bottom Lines

To answer the question, “Can you use gel nail polish without UV light?” the answer is yes.

If you are using traditional gel polish, go for a LED lamp. Unless you want to hold your hands under the light, using a non-UV gel polish is a good alternative, not to mention using cooking or quick-drying nail polish spray, ice, sunbathing the nails, and wearing a thinner layer.


Think of Well-Kept Beauty as your personal beauty professional – advising you on whether to switch up your beauty routine, re-up on a must-have product you are running low on, and even pinging you the best deals on the market. Now, let's take your beauty routine to the next level and keep your products doing what they promised!

Recent Posts