How to Dry Nails Fast – The Best Methods!

Your manicure is all grown out and you don’t have time to head to your manicurist so you plan to paint your nails yourself. But uh oh, just when you think your nails are hardened and dry you go to grab something only to mess up them up in an instant.

We know, that waiting time it takes your nails to dry is painful. And all it takes it one little mishap and your perfect manicure is ruined. If you are looking for some quick fix methods how to dry nails fast, we’ve got you covered.

No need to stress over ruined nail polish again with these timed hacks for the perfectly dry polish.

How Long Do Nails Actually Take to Dry?

How Long Do Nails Actually Take to DrySo on average without any help or drying agents, nail polish can appear to be dry within 20-30 minutes, however it actually takes 1 to 2 hours… yes ‘hours’ to fully dry and guarantee no smudging or damage.

The next time you swear your nails are dry, you might want to check the clock before grabbing your keys, wiping down the kitchen sink, or jumping into your car because more than likely a smudge will likely occur.

Want to avoid this? Check out our tried and true methods below to make your polish dry quick!

10 Methods to Make Your Nail Polish Dry Quickly

Waiting for nails to dry can be tricky; it can take different amounts of time depending on the climate, the nail polish, and other factors as well. Nobody wants to smudge the nail polish and start over, which is why people are constantly looking for tricks to dry their nails more quickly.

If you want to know how to dry nails fast, take a look at the following methods to speed up the nail drying process.

1. Ice Water (one to two minutes)

How Long Do Nails Actually Take to Dry in Ice WaterYou can take a medium sized bowl and fill it with ice cubes and water before you start painting your nails. After you paint each coat, let them air dry for about a minute.

Then dip your hands nails first in the ice water and hold them there for one to two minutes. The cold temperature will make the nail polish harden.

I am not going to lie here… if you hate cold water, then keeping your hands in an ice bath for 2 minutes is not easy! But if you really need your nails to dry quick, then this is a great option.

Note: You need to take care to be sure that your nails are slightly dry before you place your hands in the water, as it can ruin your freshly painted nails if you put your hands in too soon.

If you have nail stamp art or other designs, give yourself 2 minute of air drying prior to placing in the ice bowl just to ensure nothing comes off or gets damaged by the ice.

While you are waiting, blow on your nails and wave them to help the polish become nearly dry.

2. Hair Dryer (two to three minutes)

Drying Nails with a Hair DryerYou can use your hair dryer to help solve the dilemma of how to dry your nails fast. Turn your hair dryer on and use the cold air setting to blow dry your nails.

Move the air back and forth across each set of nails for two to three minutes, and your top nail layer should be completely dry when you finish.

If you have many coats of polish, run the hair dryer over them for another minute or two or in between coat sessions. If your hair dryer doesn’t have a cold air setting, then use the low setting.

Make sure that you hold your dryer about a foot away from your nails as you dry them because holding it too close or using heat that is too warm can cause the nail polish to ripple or bubble.

3. Paint in Thin Layers (one to three minutes per coat)

How to Dry Nails Fast

You will normally need at least two layers of nail polish to have a nice shiny finished look, but if you find that your polish is taking too long to dry, you can paint more layers that are a little bit thinner. You can also thin out the nail polish with a little acetone as well.

This way, you can paint all five fingers, and once you finish the fifth nail, the first one should be ready for another coat. You can decide whether you need two or three coats. This waiting time in-between should essentially help to dry the nail polish quickly making for an overall quicker experience.

Be sure to wipe your nail polish brush on the side of the bottle to help create a thinner coat. If you paint multiple coats of heavy layers, your nails could well over the 2 hour regular wait time.

Note: This method may take longer than others, but the drying process will be faster, and your nails will be ready to go a minute or two after the final coat.

4. Use Quick Dry Nail Polish (time varies)

Quick Dry Nail PolishMany brands offer quick drying brands of nail polish. They may be labeled with “express dry,” “quick dry,” or “rapid dry.” These products can dry faster and speed up the wait time at the end.

If you choose these products, you might want to use the thin layers method along with it for the best results.

Try this fun quick dry nail polish from Amazon call Girls Just Wanna have fun!

5. Quick Drying Spray (one to two minutes)

Different companies sell a quick drying spray for your nails. Our favorites are below. Hold the canister six inches to a foot away from your hands, and spray evenly across your nails. I do this outside as well if I can help it or at least near an open window.

You should wait one to two minutes after you paint your last nail so that the nail polish is not completely wet.

These formulas contain quick-drying silicons which protect the nail polish layer from smudging while it dries and helps the solvent in the nail polish evaporate quicker.

Note: If you don’t have any quick dry spray in the house, you can actually use a cooking spray- something like Pam or similar. The great thing about this method is that the oil in the spray will also moisturize your cuticles, which helps to keep them healthy.

Nail Enamel Dryer
Try DeMert Enamel Dryer
OPI Rapid Nail Dry
The  OPI Rapid Nail Dry is a great choice
Beauty Secrets Nail Polish
The Beauty Secrets Polish Dryer is a popular Choice
jessica speed dry nail spray
Try Jessica Speed Dry Spray

6. Air Duster (three to six seconds)

Air Duster to Dry NailsThis one I found on fluke! I chipped my polish at the office right before a big meeting. I actually had the polish in my purse, so quickly rain outside to touch up the nail. When I returned to the office, my nail was still wet.

Mortified I would shake someone’s hand and get polish on them, I ran to the office supply room and found this spray. Give it a shot and it worked wonders!

If you have an air duster, you can dry your nails very quickly. An air duster uses compressed air that is very cold, and it comes out very quickly when you depress the top of the canister.

Hold it at least one foot away from your finger, and spray quickly. Your nail polish should be on the dryer side, and this method will finish them for you.

You can buy an air duster at an office supply store or might have one lying around as they are great for cleaning computer keyboards!

Note: Do not use this spray close to your face. Do not spray for an extended period of time, and do not spray to close to the nail or the force of the air will actually blow the polish off rather than harden it.

7. Use a Quick Drying Top Coat (time varies)

How to Dry Nails Fast With Quick DryDifferent brands make a top coat that is quick drying, and it is designed to help your nails dry quickly and seal your polish. It usually has a glossy finish, and it will protect your nail polish as well.

Even if you want to use one of the other methods, you should also use a topcoat to protect your nail polish. Its great for any necessary touch ups as well.

8. Baby Oil (three to five minutes)

Baby Oil for Nail DryingIf you wait until your nails are just about dry, you can squeeze a few drops of baby oil onto them. Coat your nails in it, and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing it off.

This will also moisturize your nails at the same time. This is a great way to help your nails dry more quickly as well as help to grow your nails.

How Do I Know When My Nails Are Actually Dry?

Dry Your Nail Polish FastWhen you think your nails are just about done drying and you can touch the tops, very gently touch your pinky nails together in the smallest spot you can find. If the nails stick together or you feel a small tug, then they are not quite dry yet and you need to give it a few more minutes.

Remember not to try this out until you are positive that the polish has set. If nails are still too damp, this test will leave a dent in your nail polish.

There is nothing worse than painting your nails, only to smudge them five minutes later. Any of these methods above should help to solve the problem of how to dry nails fast so that you can go on with your day looking fabulous.