Speed Up Nail Drying Time With These Quick Tips

Taking time out of your day to paint your nails can seem like an act of self-care. The feel of a perfectly polished, fresh manicure can actually boost your mood and complete certain outfit looks. Of course, professional nail salons can get very expensive, so painting your own nails at home is a great option.

Since the process of prepping your nails with a file, adding the base coat, doing at least two layers of the nail color you picked out, and adding the top coat is all quite time-intensive, it's understandable to be going a little stir-crazy by the end of it. Painting your own nails is a slow labor of love. However, it's not over once you put the polish away.

Depending on how thick your polish is, it can take well over an hour to dry. However, according to Total Beauty, your nail polish can take much longer to properly set, even up to 24 hours. Since it's unrealistic to avoid using your hands for hours on end, most people inevitably end up smudging their nails on something and messing up their hard work. This is why finding a simple hack to save you time when painting your nails at home and speeding up your nail drying time is so essential.

Get creative with blow drying

There are many nail drying machines that can be purchased online, however, they can be quite expensive and usually don't compare to professional quality versions. Therefore, in order to speed up the nail drying process on your own, blow drying them can be very effective. Since the goal is to make your nails drier, blowing on your wet nails with your mouth actually isn't the best idea since your breath is warm and humid.

Opting for a hair dryer is a much safer bet because there are different settings. According to Makeup, you want to make sure your blow dryer is set to cool air and is held at least a foot away from your fingers, because the air pressure can mess up your polish. Leaving your hair dryer out or even plugging it in next to you before you start painting your nails is a great idea as well, since navigating how to get your blow dryer out of a drawer and plugged in without damaging your wet nails is a dangerous game.

If you painted your nails at the last minute and are running late, an alternative option is to turn the air conditioner on in your car and alternate which hand you hold up to the vent. Of course, the risk of smudging your nails on the way to your car is high, but once you're on the road, a little cold air can be really helpful.

Use a very thin layer of polish

While the benefits of taking a salon break to let your nails breathe are plentiful, it's common to want to add a little something in the meantime. Investing in your nail health is a great hobby and you will likely find that a more minimal look is still beautiful. It may seem obvious, but the thicker the nail polish is, the longer it will take for them to dry. 

Therefore, opting for very thin layers will allow your nails to dry faster. If you are using a much lighter color like pink or cream, you may need to go over your nails at least three times, if not more, in order to get the pigment you desire. However, the thin layer of polish will likely have time to dry before you make it back around again. 

You might be tempted to just use your nail polish brush to smother your nails with a single thick layer of polish, but it's actually not the faster or easier route in the long run. Plus, it won't give you the same end result due to the weight of the polish sliding on your nail. On top of that, thicker polish is much more prone to smudging and takes a longer time to dry. While adding multiple layers of polish to your nails is time-consuming, it actually allows your nails to dry much faster once you apply the top coat.

Give your nails a cold water bath

Cold water is your best friend when it comes to speed-drying your nails. While you may be afraid of washing your hands when your nails are still wet, the water can actually be beneficial. The key is in the temperature and technique that you use.

Instead of holding your nails under running water, where the pressure alone could cause the polish to move, opt for a cold bowl of water. According to Good Housekeeping, you want your nails to be fully submerged in cold water for at least a few minutes in order to seal that polish onto your nails. The colder the water is the better. It's even advised to add ice cubes to the bowl. You'll just have to make sure that you don't bump your wet nails into them.

It's also important to be cautious when you dry your hands because rubbing them with a towel could still cause your fresh polish to get scratched or smudged. The cold water helps to quicken the drying process, but your nails won't be completely solid afterward. Therefore, simply pressing your hands onto a towel and shaking off the excess water is your best bet.

Stick your hands in the freezer

It may seem like there is a cold theme going on here, and it's true. While holding your hands in the chilling depths of your freezer may not sound like the most enjoyable way to spend your afternoon, beauty is pain, and this hack really works to seal your nail polish into place.

According to Byrdie, exposing your nails to such a drastic temperature drop for a few minutes can actually cause the fresh polish on your nails to harden. While all of your nails may not be completely dry, it will at least help to mitigate the risk of smudging your polish right after painting your nails.

Since this hack hinges on you getting your wet nails into the freezer without messing them up, you'll have to be very careful maneuvering into position. If your freezer is packed to the brim with frozen foods, moving some items around before you start painting your nails can help you create the perfect spot to place your hands once your nails are wet. Alternatively, if you live in a cold climate or are painting your nails during winter time, walking outside and standing in the freezing cold for a few minutes can also speed up the nail-drying process.

Top your nails with some oil

Many people have questioned if olive oil can help strengthen brittle nails, but it might actually help your nail polish as well. You may have noticed that professional nail salons often use nail oil as a typical part of the manicure process, and this is done for a good reason. According to Vogue India, applying certain types of grease, such as cooking spray, on top of your nail polish can actually speed up the drying process because the oils interact with the polish itself, making it a thinner product.

Similarly, essential oils can also help your nail polish dry faster and you'll get the added benefit of a pleasant scent. However, this approach can be more complicated when it comes to the application, since fully submerging your nail would require a lot of oil to be placed in a separate container. You could also apply drops to the base of your nail or dip a brush in your essential oil and apply it like a top coat.

At the end of the day, painting your nails at home can be a time-consuming process. However, when you realize how often you should change your acrylic nails, the expense alone can be a deterrent. Plus, painting your own nails can be peaceful and therapeutic if you set the right intentions. Having a good amount of time to dedicate to your nail care and utilizing these quick tips to speed up the drying process will help you create a solid routine.