How Long Does Nail Polish Take to Dry and Will it Last?

Nail Drying Hacks

You’ve finally had your nails done at your favourite salon or you’re admiring your at-home manicure. The next thing you know, you reach in your bag for your keys and your beautiful nail polish is smudged! When you’re short on time, it can be tempting to get back to your to-do list while your nail polish is still tacky. But we’ve got some tips and hacks on how to help your nails dry faster and make your manicure last. So how long does nail polish take to dry and will it last?

Read our guide before you ruin any more manicures! 

How long does nail polish take to dry? 

It usually takes around 1-2 hours for nail polish to dry completely, though actual drying time will depend on the nail polish you use, how you apply it, and how many coats you apply. 

If you’ve applied the standard base coat, two coats of nail polish, and a top coat, expect to be waiting for up to two hours. Yes, this does require patience. 

Hacks to help your nail polish dry faster

If patience is not your strong point or you just don’t have the time to wait, there are some hacks that will help your nail polish dry faster. 

  • Make sure your nails are free from any grease or oil before you start your manicure as this can cause polish to chip or bubble. 
  • When you apply nail polish, apply it in thin layers. Less polish means faster drying. If your polish looks thick and gloopy, don’t use it, it’s probably past its best and you won’t get a good result. Treat yourself to a brand new colour.  
  • Be patient. Wait for your nails to dry for at least 2 minutes in between coats so you don’t ruin the first coat. 
  • Invest in a quick-drying top coat. If you want pretty glossy nails that dry in record time, a quick-drying top coat will be your new BFF. 
  • A quick-dry oil or spray can also help your nail polish dry faster, and the bonus is they lock in moisture to nourish your nails and protect your manicure. 
  • Run your nails under cold water. This tip is an oldie, but it’s a goodie. Running nails under the cold tap can help your nail polish dry faster. Dry your hands carefully with a paper towel if possible as fibres from towels can stick to your polish.
  • Pop your nails under an air-dry fan. Think of this as a smaller version of a bathroom hand dryer for your nails that will blast your polish dry in next to no time. 

How to make your nail polish last

So your nail polish has dried without a chip, bubble, or smudge in sight. But how do you make it last?

Here are our top tips for maintaining your manicure. 

It’s all in the preparation

Getting the perfect manicure that lasts is all down to the preparation. Here’s how to prepare your nails for a beautiful, long-lasting result. 

  • Start with clean, dry nails for smoother application. 
  • Use a buffer to get rid of any ridges on your nails so you have a smooth canvas to work on. Ridges can also affect the time it takes for your nail polish to dry because it’s harder to apply an even coat on an uneven surface. 

Nailing your polish application

Always use a base coat. As well as strengthening your nails and protecting them from stains, it will create a smooth surface for the nail polish to stick to. 

Apply thin layers of nail polish, then swipe horizontally across the tip of your nail. 

Seal your polish with a top coat. 

Protect your nails daily 

If you want your nail polish to last, you need to protect your nails every day. Meaning wearing gloves when you’re cleaning and doing the dishes. Stopping water and harsh chemicals penetrating your nail bed and lifting your nail polish off. 

It also means using good hand cream and cuticle oil to keep nails healthy and hydrated. If your nails are dry and weak they are more likely to split. Unhealthy nails aren’t a good base for your nail polish. 

There you have it, the secrets to faster drying and long-lasting nail polish. 

Now all that’s left to do is sit back and admire your flawless mani. You can thank us later. 

If you want even more tips, check out the rest of our blog.