9 Ways to Help Dry Your Nails Quickly After a Manicure

Hate to wait for nail polish to dry? These expert tips can help.

We think it's safe to say waiting for your nail polish to dry can be a pretty grueling experience. For whatever reason, it's those moments when you need to stay still when you get an important call or have an itch in a particularly hard-to-reach area. However, many of us endure the long wait period because even though it can be boring, there's absolutely nothing worse than getting a fresh manicure and it getting ruined within minutes.

For those who get particularly antsy while waiting for their manicure to finish, rest assured that some hacks can help dry your nails more quickly. Granted, it won't make your manicure completely dry in seconds unless you're getting a gel manicure, but it can cut down that wait time so you can get to show off your manicure sooner. From quick-drying topcoats to using cooking spray, here are some tips and tricks professional nail artists say can help dry nail polish quickly.

Apply thin, even layers of polish.

According to Brittney Boyce, a celebrity nail artist and founder of NAILS OF LA, the best way to ensure your nails dry faster when doing a DIY manicure is to apply thin, even layers. "Thick layers will always take longer to dry, plus the finish can look uneven and goopy," she says. She recommends applying polish in three strokes — one in the middle and two on each side.

Dry each layer of nail polish.

On top of using thin layers, Syreeta Aaron, a professional nail artist, and LeChat Nails educator, recommends drying your nails after each layer of polish. For instance, after applying your first layer of polish (your base coat), fan dry your nails for 30 seconds to a minute. "Then, add your color of choice with one layer and repeat the process of fan-drying 30 seconds to a minute," she says. You repeat this process after the second coat and the topcoat until the nails are fully dry.

Get a fan.

Many say blasting your nails with a blow-dryer on the cool setting can dry your manicure faster. However, this can reduce shine and even move the polish, leaving it uneven, says Boyce. She recommends a fan to help polish firm up and dry faster. "A gentle fan can help the solvents in nail polish evaporate faster without moving the polish," she says. Just be sure not to do it too close because it can lead to bubbles.

Use a fast-drying topcoat.

A fast-drying topcoat is a game changer for any manicure, says Boyce. Try Orly Sec N' Dry ($11, ulta.com) for its formula made with a special resin that seals the top and helps dry nails faster.

Apply drying drops.

"These are typically formulated with some sort of oil and silicone blend that absorb the solvents in nail polish to speed up the drying process," says Boyce. "Some do have added conditioning benefits as well." One to try is OPI Drip Dry Lacquer Drying Drops ($14, ulta.com).

Apply cooking spray.

Can't get your hands on drying drops? Boyce says applying a cooking spray or any other oil (coconut, olive, or even baby oil) works the same way and helps absorb the solvent faster, leading to a dry manicure more quickly.

Try an enamel spray.

Enamel sprays or nail drying sprays are other alternatives for drying nails quickly, says Aaron. One she recommends is Demert Nail Enamel Dryer ($8, amazon.com) because it helps dry the nails faster while also hydrating the cuticles.

Run your nails under cold water.

Running your nails under cold water helps the thickeners in polish settle faster, says Boyce. If you're choosing this method, be careful as it may not be the best solution for drying the bottom layers of polish, and can cause your manicure to look uneven or chip faster later on. If you're in a pinch, however, this hack is a quick and easy solution.

Skip top and base coats.

"Base coats and top coats are extra layers, meaning extra dry time," says Boyce. "If you're short on time, a one-step polish, like Orly Breathable Treatment + Color ($10, ulta.com), can help as you don't need a base or top coat for those."

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