How Long Does It Take Nail Polish to Dry? A Definitive Answer

We ‘ve all been there : right after leaving the smash salon ( or finishing an at-home mani with that front-runner color ), something happens while reaching for the car winder or getting something to eat and that ‘s it … we find some pretty, but now smudged, nail polish. It ‘s about inevitable, but not all is lost .

Painting your nails requires time and patience—two things we know it ‘s hard to have these days. then, in an campaign to prevent ourselves from smudging still-tacky polish, vitamin a well as avoid a number of other complete polish fake protactinium, we reached out to three collar experts—Cyndi Ramirez, Georgia Rae and Jessica Tong—all of whom offered capital advice on mastering the art of manicure wish and maintenance. Keep reading to learn exactly how long it takes nail polish to dry, along with some expert tips to maintain your mani.

Meet the Expert

  • Cyndi Ramirez is the founder and CEO of the non-toxic New York-based spa, Chillhouse.
  • Georgia Rae is a London-based manicurist known for her work in the fashion editorial industry.
  • Jessica Tong is a brand ambassador for nail and beauty brand Smith & Cult. She has served as the lead manicurist backstage at New York Fashion Week.

5 Secrets to a Smudge-Free At-Home Manicure
Emily Roberts/Byrdie

How long Does It Take Nail Polish to Dry Completely ?

naturally, our first question has to be how farseeing does it in truth take breeze through polish to dry ? If you have applied a al-qaeda coat, two coats of color and a top coat, Rae says “ this should take one to two hours to dry wholly. Formaldehyde-free polishes may take more time to dry. ”

Tong recommends Smith & Cult greatcoat in Above it All ( $ 18 ) and base coat in Basis of Everything ( $ 18 ) to undertake we can return to some activities 10 minutes after the mani. “ Polishes can dry in a timely fashion deoxyadenosine monophosphate hanker as they are applied thinly and evenly on a clean surface and topped with a proper greatcoat, ” says Tong. Key words : reduce and evenly .

How To Dry Nails Faster

  • Wash off extra cuticle oil: “Don’t leave your hands too greasy or oily before you apply polish. It will most definitely chip or start bubbling,” Ramirez says.
  • Always apply a base coat: Rae emphasizes that no matter what is needed for your desired look, don’t skip this step.
  • Keep the application as thin as possible: If you’re short on time, Rae’s tip is to swear by a sheer manicure. “You can apply less product which means quicker drying time!”
  • Don’t use old, sticky polish: Ramirez says to avoid using polish older than six months. If it has a thick consistency, this usually indicates that it is past its best.
  • Rely on a good top coat: “If you are very short on time I recommend the Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat ($6),” says Rae.
  • Use a quick dry oil or a nail drying spray: Both of these products lock in moisture and protect your nails from smudging.
  • Run nails under cold water: You can also submerge your fingers in ice water for about three seconds. The manicurists say temperature difference will keep the color in place, but be sure to take care when drying your hands and nails afterward—use paper towels rather than cloth ones as the fabric may still stick to your nail polish. 

Choose fast-drying, durable collar polish enriched with vitamins. A manicure will always last better on healthy nails.

How To Maintain Your manicure

so you made it to the two hours drying time, but it does not constantly mean smudge and dent free nail polish. To help your manicure last long, Rae says to wear gloves when doing any clean, for model. “ The chemicals in detergents can dry out the polish induce it to crack and will besides dry out the natural pinpoint, ” she adds .

Rae besides recommends applying cuticle oil or ointment two to three times a day, or american samoa much as potential. “ It keeps the nail, epidermis, and surrounding skin hydrated particularly at the here and now with surfeit hand wash and sanitize ! I recommend the Navy Professional Cuticle Balm ( $ 17 ), ” she says. To maintain a nice color and radiance, review with a top coat every few days until your next mani .

Best nail care Products

chanel base coat


La Base



Chanel ‘s basecoat La Base protects and smooths the nail before the nail polish. It has a flimsy tint to it, which blurs any imperfections on the natural collar so the polish can be worn alone and still look beautiful .

nail polish essie


Expressie Quick-Dry Nail Polish



Essie ‘s Expressie Quick-Dry Nail Polish is fast dry, durable and a pipe dream to apply with a huge range of trendy colors .

orly topcoat


Sec N’ Dry



For a hard and protective end, Orly ‘s Sec N ‘ Dry Topcoat has a quick-dry—according to the mark, it entirely takes 10 minutes to dry .

nail polish dry oil


Drip Dry Lacquer Drying Drops


shop class

Want to make it quicker ? We recommend OPI ‘s dry oil. It takes up to five minutes to dry the complete lacquer completely while jojoba and vitamin einsteinium are meant to soothe cuticles .

two hands under nail polish dryer


Professional Air Nail Dryer



Some prefer to use at-home portables like Makartt ‘s Air Nail Dryer. This matchless has a sports fan with two types of breeze ( warm and cool ) that dries both hands in just 10 minutes .

Read more : Smoked Pork Shoulder

The Takeaway

Of all these important tips, one that all manicurists agree on : Do n’t rush. Use this mani-time as self-care and relaxation meter. besides, avoid touching your clothes or any fabric, and try not to come into contact with warm or humid environments. “ Some people take showers or go to the gymnasium subsequently. Do n’t do that, ” Ramirez says. For best results, polish your nails when you have time to let them dry wholly .

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