Does Regular Nail Polish Dry with UV Light

Few things are more frustrating than when you smudge your nail polish. It can be much more frustrating after applying a fresh pedicure or manicure. 

The sinking feeling that ensues is universal whether you accidentally make contact with a surface or something. Fortunately, this guide will answer one central question about the nail application process. 

Does regular nail polish dry with UV light?

No, regular nail polish doesn’t dry with UV lights. While it’s possible to do this, the UV light will do more harm than good. Instead, you must consider the other techniques we recommend for drying your nails.

How Long Does it Take to Dry Nail Polish?

can you put a gel top coat over regular nail polish
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So, can you cure regular nail polish?

Yes, it’s possible to cure regular nail polish. However, you must use the right products or alternatives for the best results.

Here is a basic time guide on the time it takes to dry nail polish:

  • Regular nail polish. It takes 40 to 70 minutes for regular nail polish to dry. The process can be much faster if you use the proper nail application.
  • Gel nail polish using a UV/LED drying lamp. Expect gel nails to take up to 5 minutes to dry completely.

Drying gel nails is possible because it contains a polymer product that must undergo curing processes.

Many have also asked, “can you put a gel top coat over regular nail polish?” While it’s possible, doing so will harm your nail structure. You should use other alternatives (which we have identified below.)

What are Some UV Alternatives for Drying Regular Nail Polish?

Here are some helpful alternatives for how to cure regular nail polish:

Tip #1. Choose the Right Color

can you dry regular nail polish with a led light
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The right color significantly impacts the drying time of your preferred nail polish product. Choosing a lighter color or metallic shade is an excellent place to start. The reason is that it dries faster even when you apply fewer coats. 

But, the darker shades are likely to take longer to dry. That is because they tend to have strong pigments. Plus, by choosing a lighter sheer shade, you are less likely to make nail polishing mistakes. 

Tip #2. Paint Thin Layers 

best way to dry regular nail polish
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One key factor for drying nail polish involves using thin coats. The reason is that thick layers require lots of time to dry. You must use thin coats if you don’t want nail polish with globby finishes.

You also have to be conscious about the amount of nail polish product that is on the brush. Consider removing any excessive amounts before you paint your nails. While these steps might delay the process, they help reduce the average nail polish drying time.

Tip #3. Provide Time for the Nails to Dry

how to cure regular nail polish
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Every nail polish user faces the dreaded impatience when trying out different nail coats. 

Failing to wait for the nail coats to dry can compromise the nail polish drying time. The result is that it can create a globby mess, which can harm the nail structure. 

Consider setting 2-6 minutes between coats, depending on the nail polish formula. Doing this reduces any instances of drying or bubbles forming during the nail polish application process. While this process might cost you time, it’s worth it and reliable for paint application procedures. 

Tip #4. Use a Blow Dryer 

can you cure regular nail polish
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A recent report by shows that a blow dryer might be the best way to dry regular nail polish.

Professional salons usually have a fan type that helps regulate the drying process. Thus, this means that any fan you have at home can be helpful for the nail drying process. You can also use a blow dryer and activate the cool setting.

Ensure you continuously hold the cool button as you perform the drying process. Warm air can produce bubbles, compromising your nail polish’s structure. It will eventually cause the nail polish to stop hardening.

Remember to blast the cool a few inches away from your nails for a few seconds. Next, test to see if the nail polish product still has a tacky finish. 

You also must avoid setting the dryer on full blast because this can damage the nail polish. Therefore, be cautious in maintaining the correct settings on the cool temperature and fan speed.

You can also use a regular nail polish dryer, which you can easily find on Amazon. The best type depends on your needs and the results you expect.

Recommended Product: TOUCHBeauty Portable Nail Dryer

Tip #5. Set Your Hands in the Freezer 

how long does regular nail polish take to dry
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Cold air is one of the effective ways you can use to dry nail polish without using UV light. Consider this approach if you don’t have a cool setting on your fan or blow dryer. 

While the temperature inside a fridge isn’t comfortable, it should do the trick. The key to your success here is to avoid any process that will likely cause your delicate nail care process to fail. The cold air will help ease the drying process. 

Tip #6. Cold Water 

how long to dry nails under uv light
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Contrary to what most people think, cold water is also reliable for drying nail polish. It might seem counterintuitive, but it’s one of the best methods for drying nail polish products. As we mentioned earlier, cold temperatures help complement the nail polish drying process. 

It’s the same concept as setting your hands in the freezer. We recommend you start by selecting a cup full of ice cubes before painting your nails. After completing the polish process for a few minutes, set your nails in the cold water. 

Tip #7. Use Fast Drying Polish

what nail polish works with uv light
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For this one, things should be pretty self-explanatory. Why?

With such a large variety of manicuring, the fast-drying polish has to be one of the most notable inventions. 

Many brands have created nail polish products that require no additional steps to kickstart the drying process. You just paint on them and wait for the “WOW” effect from the drying process.

However, be cautious when investing in nail formula. Ensure you go for a nail cap that has proper sealing. You must also store the bottle correctly or risk compromising the nail polish quality.

You might also have asked, “can you put a gel top coat over regular nail polish?” No, it’s not possible, even when using fast-drying polish. 

That is because the complementary options with regular nail polish are limited. Instead, you have to settle for the alternatives listed in this guide.

Recommended Product: Wet n Wild Fast Dry AF Nail Color

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can You Use a UV Light to Dry All Types of Nail Polish?

No, you can’t use UV light to dry all types of nail polish. The reason is that UV light can easily cause damage to nail polish products and the curing process. Only gel nails can sit under UV lights for the curing process. 

Can You Use a Blowdryer (For Hair) To Dry Nail Polish Faster?

Yes, it’s possible to use a blowdryer for drying nail polish faster. However, you must first ensure that you set the product as required. You also have to use the dry on the warm temperature setting.

Why Won’t My Gel Nail Polish Dry After Minutes Under the Uv Light?

Your gel polish won’t dry after minutes under UV light depending on a few reasons. It can be because of using the wrong gel nail polish application process. Or it can be because of a poor quality UV light unit.

Does Sally Hansen Gel Nail Polish Dry/Work Without a Uv Light?

No, Sally Hansen Gel Nail polish can work without UV light. That is because all gel nail polish products have to undergo curing procedures using UV lights. Failing to do so risks the quality of the nail product finish.

Which One Is Better, Led Lamp or UV Lamp, for Drying Nails in the Nail Salon?

The unit that functions between LED and UV lamps depends on various factors. LED lamps are generally safer than UV lamps. But, UV lamps tend to provide a higher quality finish for gel nails and products. 

In general, regular nail polish doesn’t dry with UV light. Instead, you should find better product alternatives to ensure the best results.

Katharyn Riedel

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