You’ve probably seen videos of people putting their nails under a light, and then they’re completely dry and ready for the wear and tear of everyday life.
So, can you do that at home? Is it possible for you to buy a UV light and apply your own polish and have it ready to go within minutes?
We already know the magic UV lamps can cast on drying gel nails fast. But the question is, do UV lamps help you dry faster on regular nail polish too?
Do UV Lamps Work On Regular Nail Polish?
No, a UV light won’t help your regular polish set any faster as the chemicals in nail polish don’t react to UV light. The regular polish dries by its chemicals evaporating over time and leaving your nail coated in the shiny layer we expect.
Drying regular nail polish can take an hour or two, but you should be careful with a new manicure for a day or so to ensure no dents occur.
How to Dry Regular Nail Polish Faster?
Although there is no under a minute cure for regular polish, here are a couple of ways to speed up the nail drying process.
Purchase a Nail Fan
It might be obvious, but buying a fan designed to speed up the drying process and keep your hands comfortable will save you some time. If you’re into giving yourself at-home manicures, a fan would get plenty of use and save you money from salon visits.
If painting your nails at home is an occasional event, simply using a hairdryer in a cool setting will help the evaporation process without buying a new gadget.
Polish Drying Spray
A lot of beauty in science and chemistry than we realize. Nail sprays and drops can be applied on semi-wet nails to react with the chemicals of the polish and dry faster than normal.
These sprays are readily available on Amazon and beauty supply stores.
Paint with Thin Layers
A thicker single coat might seem more efficient, but it will be difficult to dry and can smudge terribly.
Apply your polish in thin coats, letting the second or third coat give you the coverage you want if the color is light or patchy.
Gel Polish and UV Light
Gel polishes are increasingly popular for their longevity and quick-drying nature. You can have a completely hard and dry set of nails in under five minutes from a salon.
The polish reacts to a UV or LED light and causes the ingredients to activate, hardening the polish in minutes or less.
This endurance means that gel doesn’t just wipe off with a cotton pad and acetone. They require soaking and careful removal. The gel can and will pull up layers of your natural nail and damage its integrity.
Once that’s happened, it can be a six-month process or more to get your nails back to a healthy shine. Keep yourself from picking and peeling, and soak them off all the way or visit your nail tech.
Many companies will sell a “gel” polish at stores, but they don’t have the active ingredients that will cause the same reaction a salon manicure will.
Overexposure to UV lights can be harmful to your skin, so if you do decide to tackle a gel manicure at home or attend a salon regularly, be sure to hydrate and use sunscreen on your hands to minimize the effects.
Mixing Gel and Regular Nail Polish
Now, wouldn’t it be possible just to mix these two polishes and stick them under a light?
You could try, but these are very different chemicals reacting to a strong source of light. You never know what could happen, so it’s best to keep them apart in the wet stages.
Now, it is possible to apply a clear gel top coat over your polish to add an extra-strong edge and surface to your manicure.
Your regular polish must be completely dry before adding and curing the topcoat under UV light. If the base of the regular polish is still wet, the top will just act like a sticker, and the full color will slide off or crumple when touched.
Adding that gel topcoat is a happy medium if you want extra longevity. You still need the patience to let your regular polish dry, though.
In general, you can’t speed up a regular manicure by adding a UV or LED light to the mix. If you’re stuck on regular polish, a nail fan or spray could be a good investment to keep your nails from smudging.
Applying a gel top coat over completely dry regular polish will keep the color sealed and the wear far longer. If you are searching for a fast and simple way to do your own manicure from home, look into the dozens of at-home manicure options available.