UV light dries gel polish in seconds. But does UV light dry out regular nail polish?
I tried drying my regular nail polish under a uv lamp to see if that would make the polish dry faster.
In this post, we'll go over the results of my little experiment and look at the most efficient ways to dry nail polish.
Ready to start?
Let's do this.
Table of Contents
Does UV light dry out regular nail polish?
No ultraviolet light will not dry normal nail polish. Normal nail polish is a mixture of nitrocellulose and achemical solvent called ethyl acetate. When you paint your nails, the solvent and nail polish evaporate.dries This evaporation process cannot be accelerated by using a UV lamp.
So there you have it. Unfortunately, UV light does not affect normal nail polish.
The reason UV light works so well on gel polish is because gel polish contains reactive molecules called photoinitiators that are activated by UV light.
Basically, when the chemicals in gel polish are exposed to UV light, the molecules react and form a hard plastic.
This only takes about 30 seconds.
Normal nail polish does not contain these reactive molecules, so UV lamps are practically useless for drying normal nail polish.
Regular nail polish dries as the solvents in the formula evaporate, leaving nitrocellulose that dries to a solid film on the nail.
So if you can't use a nail lamp to speed up the drying process, is there something else that will work?
Let's find out
What is the best way to dry normal nail polish?
The best way to quickly dry regular nail polish is to use a nail fan or hair dryer on a cool setting. The cool air will help evaporate the solvents from the polish, allowing the nitrocellulose to cure faster. Quick-dry top coats or nail sprays work too.
Nail fans like thisThey work because they increase airflow around the nails.
This will dry the solvents faster, allowing your nails to set faster.
If you don't have a nail fan, you can use a hair dryer kit to cool it down.
Do not use a hot hair dryer as this will only melt the polish.
If you're using a blow dryer, be sure to keep it far enough away from your nails so it doesn't cause rippling or blistering.
Another great way to speed up the drying time of regular nail polish is to use aquick dry nail spray(the link is to my favourite) or aQuick-drying top coat like this one from Seche Vite.
You may have heard people talk about using ice baths, cooking oil, or sticking your hands in the freezer to speed things up.
I have tried all of the above.
Do ice baths help nail polish dry faster?
Ice baths are a complete waste of time. They do not work and even slow down the evaporation process.
Does cooking oil work?
Cooking oil sprays can work, but only if the spray contains a propellant. Otherwise, you'll end up with sweaty hands.
Can putting your hands in the freezer dry out your nails?
Putting your hands in the freezer will help thicken the polish a bit, but it won't make much of a difference to the overall drying time.
Can regular nail polish be dried with an LED light?
No, you can't use LED light or nail lamp to dry normal nail polish. This is because regular nail polish dries out as the solvents in the formula evaporate into the air. Unlike gel polish, regular nail polish does not contain molecules that react to LED light.
Unfortunately, neither UV nor LED light works on regular nail polish.
LED light only works with gel polishes because they contain photoinhibitors (molecules that react to LED light).
So when you expose the Gellack to LED light, the molecules harden and become plastic-like.
This process does not work with regular nail polish because regular nail polish does not contain photoinhibitors.
Instead, regular polishes contain solvents that evaporate into the air.
Once all the liquid solvents in normal nail polish have evaporated, a solid film of nitrocellulose remains.
Can regular nail polish cure?
No, You can nothealnormal nail polish Curing occurs when photo-inhibitor molecules react to UV or LED light. Gel polish contains these reactive molecules, while regular nail polish does not. Therefore, it is impossible to cure normal nail polish. You can only dry it by evaporating the solvents.
So, curing is a chemical process that occurs when certain types of molecules in nail polish are exposed to UV or LED light.
These molecules are called photoinhibitors. When exposed to LED or UV light, they harden and become plastic-like.
The problem is that photoinhibitors are only found in gel polishes.
Regular nail polish dries and hardens by evaporation, not a chemical reaction.
You apply a regular polish, then you have to wait for the liquid solvents in the polish to evaporate (or dry).
LED and UV lamps are designed to cure, not speed up, the evaporation process.
Therefore, they do not work with regular nail polish.
Remember - nail polishdries upand gel nail polishcompletely.
Does gel nail polish dry in UV light?
If your gel nail polish bottle says UV or "soak off," you can use a UV light to dry (or cure) it. However, there are some non-UV gel nail polishes you can buy that are designed to air dry. Ultraviolet light will not work on this second type.
If you're not sure whether or not your gel nail polish requires UV light to cure, check the formulation on the bottle.
There are basically 2 types of gel polish.
One is actual gel polish, which requires UV or LED light to cure.
The second is regular nail polish that is marketed as a gel because it has a shiny finish.
If the packaging says "gel finish," "gel-like," or "gel nail color" but not UV, then UV light won't work for drying.
If it says UV Gel or Soak Off Gel Nail Polish, you need a UV light to cure it.
It can dry real gel nail polish in 30 seconds with UV lamp.
Other non-UV gel polishes should be treated like normal nail polish.
That means you have to wait for them to air dry.
How long does it takee for regular nail polish to dry?
In my experience, each layer of normal nail polish takes 20 minutes to dry. This means that the total drying time for 2 coats of paint is about 40 minutes. If you add 5 minutes for the base coat to dry and 20 minutes for the top coat to dry, you have to wait a little over an hour.
I like to apply a base coat and wait at least 5 minutes (sometimes 10).
Base coats dry pretty quickly so I usually apply my first thin coat of paint after 5 minutes and wait 20 minutes.
You may be able to get away with 15 minutes, but I usually give the full 20 just to make sure the solvents have completely evaporated.
After 20 minutes I apply a second coat and let it dry for 20 minutes.
I then apply a top coat and wait another 20 minutes before using my hands.
This smudge-proof method has never let me down.
Does cold air dry nail polish faster?
Yes, cold air can help dry nail polish faster. Nail polish dries when the solvents in the nail polish evaporate, and cold air helps speed up this process. For best results, use a nail fan or hair dryer (make sure it's cool).
Cold air works because it helps the liquid solvents in nail polish evaporate faster.
However, you must be careful not to blow the polish too hard, as this can cause blisters.
A nail fan is ideal, but a cool blow dryer works quite well as long as you hold it far enough away (about 6 inches between your hand and the nozzle is ideal).
Nail dryer for normal nail polish
To speed up the drying time, you can invest in a nail dryer.
Basically this is onePortable fan in the shape of a nail lamp.
Alternatively you can use a UV orLED nail lamp with fan function.
These devices are very convenient for drying normal nail polish and are much easier to use than a hair dryer.
They work by increasing airflow around the nails, which makes nail polish solvents evaporate more quickly.
It is important to note that cold air works best.
Hot air equals muddy nails!
Do LED nail dryers work with regular nail polish?
No, LED nail dryers do not work with normal nail polish. An LED nail dryer is designed to work with gel nail polish. For LED dryers to work, nail polish must contain light-inhibiting molecules that are only found in gel nail polish. Regular polish works by evaporation and cannot be dried with LED blow dryers.
No amount of LED exposure can dry out normal nail polish.
LED dryers are only suitable for curing UV gel nail polish or soak off gels.
The best way to make regular nail polish dry faster is to use a nail fan, quick-dry spray, or quick-dry top coat.
Final thoughts and tips on how to make regular nail polish dry faster
So let's do a quick recap, shall we?
For those of you who are always in a hurry, here's how to quickly dry regular nail polish:
- Apply thin layers. The thinner the layers, the faster they dry.
- Use fresh air. Nail polish dries as solvents evaporate. Cold air speeds up this process.
- Try quick dry nail spray. These really work!
- Use a quick drying top coat. I love the Seche Vite top coat. It dries very quickly and gives a nice glossy finish.
Follow these golden rules and you'll be great!
Whatever you do, don't try to dry your nails with a UV or LED lamp.
They don't work with regular polish and are a complete waste of time.
I hope you enjoyed my post on regular nail polishes that dry under uv light.
Amazon Employee Disclaimer
As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases