How Long It Really Takes for Nail Polish to Dry — and How to Make It Dry Faster

Nail polish typically dries in under an hour, with some formulas drying in just 15 minutes. UV fan dryers speed up the process. For best results, wait up to two hours before bed.

Pedicures require similar drying time; avoid closed-toe shoes for an hour to prevent smudges. Smudged polish can be fixed with remover and a thin coat of polish or completely removed and reapplied.

Apply thin layers

"Apply polish with the fewest possible strokes, without overworking it," advises Lim. "Technique is everything." "This is a common practice, particularly when using lighter nail colors, to make them appear more uniform."

Don't use cold water to help polish set.

Contrary to popular belief, soaking your hands in water won't let nail paint dry more quickly, according to Lim. "The cold water may harden the top layer, but not the coats underneath

Try a hair dryer to speed along the drying process.

It may surprise you to learn that using a hair dryer helps speed up the drying time of nail polish. Because a "higher temperature may cause the polish to bubble," Lim advises applying it

Boost drying time with quick-dry drops or sprays.

Applying quick dry drops or spray after the nails have dried for five minutes will speed up the drying process of nail polish, as many salon professionals do. Try to limit how much you move in the interim.

Continue to care for your nails post-mani.

The technique for drying polish extends to maintaining your manicure. "My top nail maintenance products are a file and buffer to smooth out chips or breaks immediately so they don’t get worse,"