How to Dry Nails Fast Using Science

Tips That Work (and ones people say do but really don't)

Nail polish is a type of lacquer that is applied to fingernails or toenails.
Nail polish is a type of lacquer that is applied to fingernails or toenails. Bumerang22

The internet is full of tips that supposedly dry your nails faster, but which ones actually work? Here's a look at some of the most common ideas and whether or not they will speed your drying time.

Plunging Wet Nails into Ice Water

This doesn't work! If it did, don't you think every nail tech out there would be doing it? Think about it... nail polish is a polymer, formed by a chemical reaction. Lowering the temperature lowers the rate of the chemical reaction, plus it slows the evaporation of the solvents in the polish. Yes, the icy water may thicken the polish so it seems to dry more quickly, but the only way to get a hard coat of polish is to let it dry. The cold water won't hurt anything, but it won't speed things up unless you dry your hands under an air dryer afterward. If you think this works, consider how much time you spend with your hands in ice water and compare it against normal drying. Or, conduct your own science experiment and put one hand in the ice water and leave one to dry on its own.

Putting Hands in the Freezer

This is not the most economical method, but it's unlikely to hurt anything other than your electric bill. The cold can thicken the polish while the circulating air evaporates the solvent.

Using a Blow Dryer or Fan

This speeds the set of the film former (usually nitrocellulose). Just be sure you don't use so much force that you blow ripples into your polish (unless that is the desired effect).

Apply a Quick-Dry Product

These contain solvents that evaporate quickly, pulling the liquid in the polish along with them.

Apply Cooking Spray

Whether or not this works depends on the product. If you simply pressurize oil, you're not going to see much of an effect aside from moisturized hands. On the other hand (hah), if the spray contains a propellant, it will evaporate quickly, acting like a quick-dry product.

Spray Nails with Canned Air

Again, this works much like a quick-dry product. Canned air is a little expensive, so you might want to blow keyboard chow out of your laptop and opt for an inexpensive quick-drying top coat instead.

What works and what doesn't? Quick drying polish is effective, plus it matters what's in the product.