The Best Way to Dry Nails

by Mimi Abney ; Updated September 28, 2017

Speed up your nail drying time with expert beauty tips.

Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

A do-it-yourself manicure or pedicure is a great beauty ritual to pamper yourself without breaking the bank. Waiting for your favorite nail polish to dry, however, is a tedious and painstakingly boring process. Try a few tricks to cut down the nail polish drying time without sacrificing a high-shine. Whether you are a nail novice or a professional polisher, you can have quick-drying and smudge-free nails in the comfort of your home.

Fill a small bowl with ice and water. Let your nails air-dry for two to three minutes. Dip the tips of your nails into the ice water for a minimum of 10 seconds. The cold temperatures help the polish harden faster. If your digits can endure the ice-cold liquid for longer than a few seconds, immerse your nails for at least one minute.

Turn your hair dryer on the coolest temperature setting. Between each coat of polish, blast your nails with the cool dryer. Finish with a clear topcoat, and let the polish dry for three minutes. Blow your nails with a shot of cool air for 10 to 15 seconds to speed up the drying time.

Blast your wet nails with a shot of cooking spray. After applying a base coat, two thin coats of polish and a clear, fast-drying topcoat, let nails dry for five minutes. Spray three or four quick shots of the cooking oil spray on your nails to moisturize your cuticles and dry your nails quickly.

Apply thin coats of new polish colors to help nails dry faster and keep them from smudging. Old, thick and gooey polish takes longer to dry.


  • Apply a quick-dry topcoat every other day to your nails and toes to keep your polish shiny and chip-free.

Our Everyday Video

Brought to you by LEAFtv
Brought to you by LEAFtv

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

About the Author

Mimi Abney is a lifestyle writer specializing in online content for women. Her work has appeared in and "Keepsake Magazine," among other publications. With over 15 years of writing and editing experience for the web and print, Abney is also a contributor to online health, beauty and fashion publications. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Spelman College.