Tips to Make Nail Polish Dry Faster

Reader advice for a faster-drying manicure

Tips to dry nail polish fast: Try spraying non-stick cooking spray over wet polish to set it quickly.
Tips to dry nail polish fast: Try spraying non-stick cooking spray over wet polish to set it quickly. Dana Edmunds, Getty Images

No one wants to wait around for nail polish to dry. There are lots of rumors of ways to get polish to dry more quickly, but which actually work? These are the best quick-drying nail polish tips submitted by readers. Feeling scientific? Take a look at the chemistry behind quick-dry methods and learn which really work.

Tips From Readers

Readers have tried everything to get nails to dry fast. Here are some of their top recommendations:

"Cooking spray works and it doesn't dry out your hands."
"Dip your fingers in cold water for about five minutes and let them air dry for five minutes."
"Step 1: Always apply thin coats.
Step 2: Bow on nails and run nails through ice-cold water.
Step 3: Apply additional coats if needed and repeat steps.
Step 4: Wait for 20 to 30 minutes before doing anything.
Step 5: Can't be patient? Buy yourself fast drying nail polish and/or a topcoat like Seche Vite."
"Turn on the cold water in the sink on and put your hands under it. They'll be done in 30 seconds."
"Putting your hands in ice water makes your nails dry faster."
"It sounds insane but oil sprays and quick-drying treatments do not actually make your polish dry faster. They do, however, reduce the likelihood that you're going to ding-up/smudge your polish while it's drying, by forming a slick surface on top. Quick-dry topcoats are similar. They don't dry the polish underneath, but they do harden on top of it. If you're not careful, you can end up scraping your polish right off if the under-layers are still tacky when you reach into your bag for your phone. It still makes sense to use the above methods when you're trying to preserve a brand-new manicure. It's also important to understand how they work so you can achieve the best results!"
"I was in a hurry and was about ready to just remove my polish, but to my surprise, cooking spray totally worked for me. My nails dried almost immediately. It makes me wonder about the chemicals in the cooking spray though!"
"I add a little bit of nail polish remover to the nail polish and mix it really well. You can add it to your colors and/or your top clear coat. The alcohol in the remover makes the polish dry much faster than ice water or a hairdryer. It also turned that old gloopy polish back to normal!"
"Try a hairdryer on medium setting or try sticking your hand in a freezer. It may seem crazy but they work."
"Do not use heat. All it does is melt the polish! Definitely use ice-cold water! Dries 'em in a heartbeat!"
"Pam (you know, the cooking spray?) works wonders! All you do is spray your nails and leave it for about 45 seconds. You'll have to wash your hands well though since it makes them kinda greasy."
"Thin coats dry fast. Try doing multiple thin coats instead of one or two thick gloppy coats. Trust me, it works wonders."
"Ice-cold water, Pam spray, or a fan work really well."
"Apply a coat of peanut butter and it will work as long as you don't touch anything right away—and later on, you'll have a nice snack!"
"Nail polishes are solutions of a polymer and need only to have the solvent removed. Blowing on them can cause blushing. Stand with your hands above a non-electric central heating convector and you should get nice glossy nails."
"I just use a quick-drying topcoat. That way I can get my favorite polish without having to wait forever to get on with my life. It takes about a minute to get really hard nails, but I guess it depends on what you use and how many layers of polish you added."
"Air dust them or put your hand in ice-cold water for three minutes to dry them. You can always spray cooking spray on them just in case!"