Does UV Light Dry Regular Nail Polish? 6 Tips To Dry Your Nail Faster

It’s sometimes very hard to wait for your nail polish to dry so you can enjoy your new stunning nails because it may take a long time. Therefore, many have looked for new ways to reduce the waiting time.

Does UV light dry regular nail polish is one of the most commonly asked questions as people think it has some sort of power on your nail polish. Is it true or is it another myth? Let’s find out. 

Nail polishes may take long to dry
Nail polishes may take long to dry

Does UV Light Dry Regular Nail Polish?

No, it does not. 

If you have thought about using a UV light to reduce the drying time for your regular nail polish, it won’t work. A UV light won’t have any impact on the drying process of regular nail polish, so don’t expect it to help your nail dry faster. 

Regular nail polish dries thanks to a process called evaporation, in which its liquid part evaporates, leaving your nails dry. Specifically, the evaporation process happens with solvents such as alcohol, butyl acetate, and ethyl acetate. 

It may take from ten minutes to two hours for the nail to dry completely. 

A UV light disperses radiation, which has no effect on evaporation. Therefore, if you use a UV light with your nails, they will still dry but not any faster than usual. 

Furthermore, prolonged exposure to UV light is harmful. Adverse effects include damage to your nails, fertility loss, removal of natural nail colors, reduced nail growth, and alternation of nail shape. 

UV light doesn’t help with regular polish
UV light doesn’t help with regular polish

What Nail Polish Can You Use UV Light On?

While UV lights are useless for drying regular nail polishes, they actually help with a certain type of nail polish: gel polish. 

Gel polish doesn’t airdry because oxygen prevents its molecules from forming together, the gel cannot harden, and your nail polish doesn’t “dry”. 

Gel polishes contain photoinitiators that, when reacting to different UV light wavelengths, release a free radical that causes the resin in the gel to polymerize.  

With that in mind, the exact term to use here is “cure” instead of “dry”, as in the hardening or toughening process in chemistry. UV lights help gel polishes cure. 

All you have to do is paint your nails with a gel polish then put them under a UV light and wait until it turns off. 

How To Dry Regular Nail Polish Faster?

If a UV light doesn’t make your regular nail polish dry faster, what will?

Those who apply regular nail polish should keep the evaporation process in mind, and whatever you do needs to speed up this process. 

Apply thin coats

The thicker coat you apply, the longer it takes the nail polish to dry. 

With that in mind, one of the most useful tips to reduce the drying time is applying multiple thin coats instead of thick layers. This way, nail polish dries faster and more easily between applications since solvents evaporate quicker. 

Applying multiple layers also helps you obtain a more even finish though it may take several practices before you find the right amount of nail polish to apply at one time. 

To practice as well as figure out how thin you can apply the polish, conduct trials on larger surfaces, the thumb’s nail, for example. 

Use a hairdryer

First of all, make sure your hairdryer has a cool air mode because hot air will be no use. Cool air will boost evaporation, hence making nail polish dry faster. Also, the cool mode is safer; those who tried the hot mode got their fingers burnt. 

It’s best to apply nail polish on one hand and use the other to hold the hairdryer. Keep your nails about 6 inches from the equipment and blow them dry for a few minutes.

On the other hand, if your hairdryer doesn’t have a cool air mode, you can use a fan instead. Just paint your nails, turn on the fan, and raise your hands with your nails facing the fan. This method actually speeds up the drying process by 30 to 40 percent. 

Cool air will help regular nail polish dry faster
Cool air will help regular nail polish dry faster

Apply a quick-dry topcoat

A quick-dry topcoat is a clear coat of nail polish made to decrease the drying time. These products can be cheaper than nail polishes. 

Some quick-dry topcoats are claimed to protect your nails from chipping and dry them in a minute. 

Use cooking spray

Keep the cooking spray about 6 inches from your nails and start spraying. It will help the top nail polish layer dry and help lubricate the nails to avoid smudges. However, this method can get messy so you should do it over the sink.

Use baby oil

Baby oil dries your nails by sitting on the top layer and getting soaked into the nail polish. It’s suitable for thinner layers. It also makes the polish layers thinner.

You first need to put the oil in a medicine dropper or any decanter that allows for controlling the amount of oil put on your nails. 

After painting your nails, wait for a little so the nail polish is set on your nails. Then, apply one or two drops of oil on top and wait for another two minutes. 

Thinner layers of paint dry take less time to dry but the oil reduces the drying time in general compared with letting nails dry naturally. 

If there is oil beading on your nails, it means the nails are dry and you can wipe the oil off. 

Apply drying drops

Drying drops help regular nail polish dry faster but they don’t add another layer on top. Instead, they condition the cuticles while drying the nail polish. 

It’s worth noting that when using these oil-based products, you need to wait for a few more minutes even if your nails look dry for only the top layer is dried under the influence of drying drops.

You can buy drying drops to reduce the waiting time
You can buy drying drops to reduce the waiting time

Use cold water quick-dry

This method requires a bit of preparation and carefulness. 

Before painting your nails, pour cold water into a bowl with a few ice cubes. Place the bowl near where you’ll be sitting.

After you’re finished painting, wait for one or two minutes for the nail polish to be set on your nails. Next, dip your fingers in the cold water for five minutes then take them out. 

If there is water beading on your nails, it means the nail polish is 100% dry. 


Can you dry regular nail polish with a LED light?

No, you can’t. Like UV light, LED light only works for gel polishes. It won’t help regular nail polishes dry faster. 

Does rubbing alcohol dry nail polish?

No, it doesn’t. Rubbing alcohol will even soften nail polish and wipes it off fast. 

How do you stop nail polish from smudging?

It’s simple. After painting your nails, wait a minute for them to air dry. Then, dip your hands in a bowl of cold water and ice cubes for three minutes. 

Can I use top coat polish as base coat?

No, you can’t. It’s not a good idea. If you apply the top coat as a base coat, your nail polish won’t last as long.  

The base coat is a recommended first step in nail polishing. It serves as an adhesive to help color pigments stick more easily. Another benefit of the base coat is preventing nail polishes from stanining your natural nails.

Meanwhile, the top coat is the last thing to apply when polishing nails. Its role is sealing the color pigments, protecting the layers, and avoiding smudging. The top coat dries fast and adds strength to your nails. 

Due to the nature of their roles, the top coat and base coat cannot be used interchangeably. The top coat doesn’t protect your nails like the base coat, so your nails will get stained if you use the top coat in place of the base coat. 

Wrap Up

Hopefully, you have got the answer to your question: does UV light dry regular nail polish? Unfortunately, UV light won’t push regular nail polishes to dry faster. It only works for gel polishes. 

However, there are several ways you can rely on to cut down on the waiting time after painting with regular polishes, such as using cool air, baby oil, applying thin coats, etc.


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