dry regular nail polish

Can You Dry Regular Nail Polish With An LED Light?

A UV or LED lamp will not greatly speed up the drying time of regular nail polish. Regular nail polishes dry primarily to the evaporation of the liquid element of the polish, which is mostly volatile solvents like ethyl acetate, butyl acetate, and alcohol.

Can you use regular nail polish with UV light? The UV light from a UV or LED lamp will not considerably speed up the evaporation process of these solvents. Now, if your lamp generates a lot of heat, it can speed up the evaporation rate to dry regular nail polish. However, I would not recommend utilizing it because the drying process could take a long time, and too much exposure to extreme UV light can be hazardous.

What Is The Best Way To Dry Regular Nail Polish / Gel Nail Polish?

Regular nail polish dries the old-fashioned way, by evaporation, which takes a long time. It takes 1-2 hours for your nails to fully dry, especially if you use a base and topcoat. Ethyl acetate, which is found in nail polish, is one of the chemicals that evaporate quickly.

So, in the broad scheme of things, drying time isn’t that long. When compared to, say, house paint, dry regular nail polish in 1-2 hours, which is rather quick for something painted on your nails. Gel nail polish, on the other contrary, dries in the presence of UV or LED lights.

Depending on the UV lamp type and model, the foundation coat normally takes 10 seconds. The gel polish and top coat will then take a few extra minutes. It dries faster under an LED lamp.


LED and UV lamps, on the other hand, do not affect how fast dry regular nail polish. They aren’t worth the money for normal nail polish, even if they speed up the drying process a little. LED lamps, like UV lamps, emit UV radiation, which can be harmful to your skin’s health and increase your risk of skin cancer if used and exposed for long periods.


Even if a few minutes of nail drying is unlikely to pose a problem, there’s no reason to increase the amount of UV radiation you’re currently getting. Especially since these lamps won’t make a visible difference in the duration, it takes your nail polish to dry. It’s far safer just to let your nails dry naturally.

What To Buy Instead Of An LED Lamp For Dry Regular Nail Polish

Here’s what you can get rather than a LED lamp for dry regular nail polish if you’re ready and able to spend money on gear to speed up the procedure.

Nail Polish Drying Spray

Nail Polish Drying Spray
Nail Polish Drying Spray (Image Source Pinterest)

It may seem strange to spray a liquid on your nails to make your polish less liquid, but drying sprays are a remarkably efficient tool for drying your nail polish in minutes. What’s the best part? Nail paint sprays aren’t very expensive. Nail polish drying sprays use chemicals to speed up the drying of the solvents from the nail polish when applied to your standard nail polish.

Nail Dryer Fan

Nail Dryer Fan
Nail Dryer Fan (Image Source Pinterest)

There are numerous advantages to purchasing a nail fan. A nail fan is similar to a hair drier but designed specifically for dry regular nail polish. It blows hot air over your nails, causing the solvents in the nail polish to evaporate faster.

What’s The Difference Between LED And UV Nail Drying Lamps?

The most significant differences are in price (LED lamps are often more expensive than UV lamps), drying periods (LED lights are usually faster than UV lamps), and the fact that UV lights will need to be replaced from time to time, but LED lamps will last much longer.

UV LED Nail Lamp
UV LED Nail Lamp (Image Source Pinterest)

Most gel polish manufacturers offer lamps compatible with their goods, and utilizing one given by the manufacturer will usually yield the best results. The most crucial item to double-check is that the gel polish will cure your lamps. Most gel polish brands cure under LED or UV lamps, although some may only dry in UV.

5 Shortcuts To Make Dry Regular Nail Polish Faster

It can feel wonderful to take care of your nails with clear or colored nail polish. While the dry regular nail polish can take up to 12 minutes to properly set on the nail, there are various tricks you can use to speed up the process.

Apply thinner coats

The first one is probably self-evident at this point. As less paint dries rapidly, using thinner applications of paint will speed up the drying time of each coat. You should also wait a few minutes between coats for each coat to dry a little; otherwise, you’ll be waiting for what amounts to one massive coat to dry.

Use cold water

This trick takes some preparation. Fill a small container halfway with cold tap water before coating your nails. Add a couple of ice cubes to the bowl and place them near where you’ll be painting your nails. Allow two minutes after painting your nails for the polish to “set,” ensuring that it adheres completely to your nails.

After that, immerse your nails in cold water and leave them there for around five minutes. When you take your hands or feet out of the water, water will bead on the nail surface, indicating that your polish is dried.

Baby oil

Baby oil, olive oil, and even cooking spray can help in the drying of your nails. Fill a decanter or medicine dropper with the oil so you can easily manage how much goes on each nail. You won’t require much! When you’re ready to finish drying your nails, apply 2 – 3 drops to each nail and wait a minute or two.

Since it stays on top of the nail bed and soaks into the paint, the oil should help the nail polish dry faster. Paint that is thinner dries faster, and this process thins the paint already on your nail. Wipe the oil off with a dry paper towel once you notice it beading at the top of your nail.

Use a hairdryer

It is an old trick, and if you haven’t tried it yet, you have most likely heard of it. Before you begin painting your nails, turn on a hairdryer with the “cool air” setting. Apply a constant stream of cool air to your nails after you’ve completed applying polish.

It’s easiest to do this if you paint one hand’s nails, use the hairdryer, and then paint the other hand’s nails. Because some people have reported hurting their skin with a hot hair dryer, you must use the cool option for this drying solution.

This will not dry your nails completely, but it will substantially speed up the process. It will undoubtedly accomplish more than an LED lamp, and you will not be required to purchase additional equipment beyond what you already own.

Use hairspray

Hairspray is an incredibly simple way to speed up the drying of your nails, and you likely already have some on hand. Allow 1 minute to dry after painting your nails. Spray your nails with a hairspray bottle held about 8 inches away. Allow another minute to pass before gently washing your hands with cold water to eliminate the sticky residue.

FAQs About Nail Polish Drying Method

How to dry gel nail polish without an LED lamp?

Although the chemical composition of gel nail polish differs from that of regular nail polish, it cannot dry correctly without LED or UV light. Gel polish that dries without the use of an LED or UV light isn’t truly gel polish. It’s a regular nail polish with maybe false marketing. Keep your eyes open about yourself and shop intelligently.

How long does it take to dry nails under UV light?

The duration of time it takes for each type of polish to dry will be determined by the type of polish used and the type of light used. Curing times for each layer of gel can range from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. You can use your hands right away after the last gel layer has been applied and set, without fear of ruining the finish.

So, the time it takes for UV radiation to dry nails isn’t particularly long. Furthermore, the polish sets up quickly. If you’re worried about UV exposure, wear protective manicure gloves or apply a coating of sunscreen to your hands – just make sure the sunscreen doesn’t go on your nails!

Can you use regular nail polish with UV light? Or can you use regular nail polish with an LED lamp?

No, regular nail polish dries by air, whereas gel polish contains a polymer that must be ‘cured’ by a UV or LED lamp to dry. Regular nail polishes will not work with UV or LED lamps, and they will not dry any faster due to being exposed to the light. You can use a nail fan or nail polish drying sprays to speed up the regular nail polish drying process.

Does LED light dry regular nail polish?

Can you dry regular nail polish with UV light? Under a UV lamp, only gel polish may be cured. The regular polish dries on its own. However, gel polish requires the use of a lamp and will not cure unless sat beneath it. Apply a gel base coat, cure it, then apply regular polish and wait for it to dry before applying a gel topcoat.

There are 3 types of nail dryers: regular dry polish with air, dry and cure gel-based polishes with UV lights, and those that dry and cure gel-based polishes with LED lamps. Curing under a light source is required; else, the polish will not set.

Can I put regular nail polish over gel polish?

Yes, you may apply regular nail polish over gel polish. If the polish is of good quality and opacity, it will work well. Over gel polish, a less expensive polish may not show up as well. It’s also important to think about the color scheme.

Does nail lacquer need UV light?

Under a UV lamp, only gel polish may be cured. The regular polish dries on its own. However, gel polish requires the use of a lamp and will not cure unless sat beneath it. Apply a gel base coat, cure it, then apply regular polish and wait for it to dry completely before applying a gel topcoat.

Does a UV nail dryer work with regular polish?

Because LED and UV nail lamps only operate on gel products, you can’t use them to dry regular nail polish. Gel nail polishes require the use of LED or UV nail lamps to dry correctly.

Photoinitiators in gel polishes are activated by UV light and produce a chemical reaction gel to cure the. This is also why gel nail polish should not be stored in direct sunlight. Otherwise, if there’s a small clear place on the bottle to expose the color, it can thicken and cure. Keep your gel items in a cool, dry location.

What nail polish can you use with UV light?

Here’s a fact: UV nail lamps cure all types of gel polish, whereas LED lamps cure only LED-specific gel polish brands. The important thing to remember here is to read the fine print. You can’t go wrong with a UV lamp for any manicurist because it works with gel finishes. They’re also less costly.

The photoinitiators in gel nail polish are activated by ultraviolet wavelengths, which cure the gel. The gel polish takes longer to cure since UV lamps emit broad UV wavelengths.

LED nail lamps, on the other hand, employ a shorter UV wavelength. Specific photoinitiators in the gel polish are activated, speeding up the gel cure time; however, you must purchase LED compatible gel polish. The user should be good as long as the polish is labeled to operate in both LED and UV lamps.

Does nail polish dry faster under LED light?

There are major benefits to using an LED light to dry nail polish. One of them is speed. Curing periods with an LED nail dryer are usually faster. Curing one layer of polish in 30 seconds instead of 90 seconds with a UV lamp each layer. So, if you do a full manicure using an LED nail dryer, it will take less than 2 minutes to cure, whereas UV will take over 5 minutes.

If you decide to get an LED nail dryer for your nails, make sure you have the right gel nail polish for it. Carefully read the manufacturer’s directions. LED dryers are widely accessible these days, and you can frequently get fantastic deals online. A nice article on the contrasts between UV and LED nail polish dryers can be found here.

Now that you know the advantages of using a nail dryer and how to choose one, you can see that the most significant advantage is saving time as a person or as a professional. In addition, the frequency of use is the most significant consideration when choosing a nail dryer.

Nails that dry faster are more attractive, have a finer polish, and stay longer. Plus, you’ll have more opportunities to experiment with nail art and other finishes!