We all know gel nail polish needs to be cured, but what happens when your LED lamp breaks, or you’re unable to use a UV lamp because you’re travelling, but still need to dry your gel nails? Can you dry gel nail polish with a hair dryer?
Well, let’s look at whether you use a hairdryer to make your gel polish faster to dry? Or are there any other methods to help you dry your gel polish without UV light, like cold water or dipping nails in ice water?
Why Does Gel Nail Polish Not Dry Like Ordinary Polish?
Gel nail polish differs from regular nail polish in that it does not dry like ordinary polish. This is because gel polish is cured with LED or UV light, meaning the light hardens and sets the product.
Traditional polishes set through evaporation, meaning they can take up to an hour to dry, while a gel manicure requires only a few minutes of drying time as it’s exposed to direct light.
Gel polishes also last much longer than traditional polishes, usually lasting one to two weeks without chipping or fading.
Another difference between the two is that gel nail polishes must be applied differently than regular ones.
It’s important to create thin layers when applying so that each layer can cure properly under either LED or UV lights.
Even though there are more steps needed in order for it to be done correctly, many people find this extra effort worth it due to its long-lasting results.
The added benefit of a professional finish makes this type of manicure ideal for busy women who don’t have time for frequent trips to the salon.
How Does Gel Nail Polish Dry?
Gel nail polish is incredibly popular for its long-lasting, glossy finish. Unlike regular nail polish, gel nail polish is cured under a UV or LED lamp which makes it dry in minutes instead of hours.
Gel polish must be cured with the UV/LED light to harden and give you the long-lasting, lasting wear you desire.
The process starts after you have applied your base coat and two coats of color, typically done with a brush.
A thin layer of topcoat then needs to be applied over the entire nail before it’s time to cure under the light.
To cure the gel nails properly, you place each hand beneath the light one finger at a time for about 30 to 90 seconds, depending on your lighting type and manufacturer’s instructions.
In some cases, there are additional curing times needed for special effects like glitter or shimmer polishes that may require an extra minute or two under the light.
Once exposed to the UV/LED lamp, special photo-initiators in the clear topcoat begin a chemical reaction called polymerization where all of those frozen particles start connecting, forming into a lacquer-like substance that protects your manicure from chipping and scratching as well as adding shine to your nails.
The heat produced by this reaction helps further speed up drying time and make sure everything gets cooked evenly throughout the curing session without compromising any part of your mani.
Gel nails look beautiful when done right, but they should always be applied by qualified professionals at salons to prevent poor application techniques that can lead to damaging nails underneath the shiny exterior.
Even if taking them off at home is possible, it can still cause damage, so it’s best to stick with a professional removal service when switching polish formulas or styles.
Can You Dry Gel Nail Polish With A Hair Dryer?
It’s possible to dry Gel Nail Polish with a Hair Dryer, although UV-curing lights are still the preferred method of hardening nail polish.
To use a hair dryer to blend the polishes together and create a smooth coating around your nails, set the hairdryer at the cool setting and aim it at your nails.
After applying two or more coats of gel nail color, hold the dryer close, but not too close as you want to avoid melting the polish.
Allow each coat to be exposed to air for 10–20 seconds before moving on to the next layer. This helps with even application and will help reduce potential clumps which can otherwise occur when using too much heat.
The cooling process is important in this process, as using too hot of a setting on your hair dryer could melt off the gel polish before it has time to set correctly.
When drying, each coat of nail color allow for a few minutes per session so that all coats have ample time to harden completely before adding another layer on top.
This repeatable drying process should guarantee that your manicure or pedicure looks flawless and will last longer than if you had opted for regular nail varnish instead.
Just remember that this is not an ideal approach and should be used only when you don’t have access to a UV light source or other form of curing equipment for gel polishes.
Does An Ice Water Bath Dry Gel Nail Polish?
Using an ice water bath to dry gel nail polish may sound like a good idea, but unfortunately, it does not work.
Drying gel nail polish requires a specific process in which the nails must be cured under UV or LED light for several minutes to get the right glossy sheen and longer-lasting wear out of your manicure.
No amount of cold air or water can replace that step. An ice water bath will just make your polish brittle and more prone to chipping, as well as making it less durable than when frozen directly with a proper curing lamp.
Even if you do manage to submerge your hands in icy water for long enough, oxidation will occur over time, ruining your fresh coat of paint even faster.
Although using an ice bath is not effective for drying gel nail polish, there are some ways you can accelerate the hardening process without having to invest in expensive equipment.
One trick is to use quick-drying topcoat products that help trap moisture inside the nails, so they harden faster.
You can dab some rubbing alcohol on each layer of color, once it’s applied – this helps seal the pigment into place and also evaporates quickly, so you won’t have any tacky spots left behind from alcohol residue.
Always finish off with another layer of topcoat to seal everything together and keep up both glossiness and longevity – this step should never be forgotten.
What Can You Do To Cure Gel Nails Without An LED Lamp?
Curing gel nails without an LED lamp is possible, but it requires extra time and effort.
Gel nails are cured when UV light or LED light passes through the layer of polish that has been applied to the nail.
Without this light, the curing process will go much slower as you will need to rely on natural sunlight or other sources such as halogen lamps and fluorescent lights.
The best way to cure your gel nails without an LED lamp is to start off by wiping them down with alcohol swabs. This helps get rid of any dust particles and oils that may be present on the nail’s surface, which can interfere with proper curing.
Once you have cleaned them off, apply a thin layer of base coat, followed by two thin layers of your chosen color. Make sure not to brush over each layer too much or else it won’t cure properly.
After these coats have dried completely, add a topcoat for added shine and protection before exposing them to direct sunlight for 10–15 minutes at least twice a day for up to five days.
You can also expose your nails in artificial lighting that does not use UV bulbs like halogen bulbs or regular fluorescent lights if required – just remember not to leave the polish coated finger under the light source longer than necessary as doing so may cause discoloration in some cases!
If done correctly, this method should help you achieve cured gel nails without an LED lamp.
But it’s important to note that they simply won’t be quite as strong or long-lasting as those created using an LED lamp because there isn’t any technology used in this process which aids in strengthening and preserving them for extended wear periods.
Will Sitting Under The Sun Help Dry Gel Nails?
Sitting under the sun to dry gel nails is a popular method of drying gel nail polish.
While UV lights are still recommended for optimal results, this method can bring some degree of success depending on the weather conditions.
Sun exposure helps to dry the top coat of the polish, providing additional protection against smudging as you go about your day.
However, while it’s possible to achieve successful results with this method, there are also many potential problems that can arise from sitting in the sun too long.
In sunny climates like those found in California and Arizona, excessive exposure to sunlight could cause discoloration in your nails due to oxidation and UV radiation damage over time.
Even after drying them for just a few hours, no amount of moisturizing lotion or extra sunscreen could counteract this effect.
Since strong, sunlight intensifies once exposed through glass windows in cars or buildings (such as when driving).
These surfaces can provide an easy way for ultraviolet rays to penetrate deeper into the skin and accelerate sunburns or other heat-related illnesses if exposures occur for prolonged periods of time without sunscreen protection.
How Long Does It Take For Gel Nail Polish To Fully Dry?
Gel nail polish takes some time to dry and can depend on a few factors. If you are using an LED or UV lamp to cure your gel nails, this will take the least amount of time.
Typically, with a professional light, it should only take two minutes for each layer of your manicure. If you don’t have access to these lamps, you may use a hair dryer as well.
While not advised by experts due to the risk of smudging or shrinking the finish of your nails, curing with a hair dryer usually takes between 6–8 minutes per coat before it is fully dried and cured.
The warm air from the hairdryer helps speed up the natural evaporation process and causes the polish to harden quicker than if left alone at room temperature.
No matter what method you choose, avoid getting your nails wet until they are completely cured, as this can cause wrinkles in the final results or contamination in the gel formula so that it doesn’t last long enough on your nails.
How To Make Your Gel Nails Dry Quicker Without UV Light?
Making your gel nails dry quicker is important if you have a busy schedule.
If you’re doing gel nails without a UV light, there are still techniques you can use to make your polish dry faster.
One simple way to do this is by using a fan to blow cool air on your nails.
You should also avoid moving your hands too much or touching objects before the nail polish has completely dried, as this can cause smudges and impede drying time.
You can also invest in specific products that help speed up drying times, such as fast drying drops or sprays with ingredients like alcohol or silicone that penetrate and evaporate quickly, allowing the gel coat to set without being disturbed.
Finally, it’s important not to over apply product when applying gels, so they don’t become too thick; thicker polishes take longer to dry than thinner applications. With some determination and these helpful tips, you should be able to dry your nails quickly.
How Long Would It Take For Gel Nails To Air Dry?
Unfortunately, this type of manicure cannot air dry; instead, you need to use UV light or use LED light to harden them completely.
Generally speaking, curing time with a UV light ranges between 120 seconds (2 minutes) and 180 seconds (3 minutes), depending on the brand of lamp being used. For LED lamps, cure time ranges from just 15 to 45 seconds per layer.
The number of layers determines how long it will actually require for your gel nails to be fully cured and ready for wear.
When finished with both layers and ready for final shaping, buffing and sealing of your hard work – these should total 2–4 minutes (or 1 minute if using an LED lamp).
Do Quick Drying Nail Polish Sprays Quicken The Drying Process For Gel Nail Polish?
Quick drying nail polish sprays are a great way to speed up the process for drying gel nail polish. Using a quick dry spray can make the overall time for manicures and pedicures significantly shorter.
The active ingredients in these products are usually silicon-based polymers which form a breathable protective film on top of the freshly painted nails, creating an environment in which frizzing and bubbling is less likely to occur.
After applying the spray, it’s recommended that you wait 30 seconds before touching or manipulating your hands/feet, as this will allow plenty of time for the formula to set and seal in the polish.
Gel nail polishes generally require multiple layers of color, with each layer needing to be cured under UV light, making them very time consuming to apply.
Quick dry sprays can help cut down on this task by cutting down on waiting times between coats so that you don’t need to rely solely on curing methods such as LED lamps or UV lights.
Are Gel Polish UV Light Lamps Damaging For The Hands?
Gel polish UV lamps are great tools to quickly and hassle-freely dry gel polish, yet there is a lingering debate about the potential damage that these lamps can cause.
Although shortening the curing time of your nail polish is a huge bonus, some argue that the concentrated ultraviolet (UV) rays of these lamps can harm both your hands and nails.
On one hand, the British Association of Dermatologists states that there is no concrete evidence linking nail salons with skin cancer. This same organization also goes on to state that occasional exposure from UV lamps used in nail salons is unlikely to cause any significant health risks.
On the other hand, research has suggested that long-term exposure may be particularly damaging for our delicate hands and nails; this includes damage such as premature aging, susceptibility to skin pigment disorders like melasma or freckling, and increase risk for developing skin cancer in the long run.
All things considered, it’s best to use caution when considering using gel polish UV lamps on your hands.
If you opt for gel manicures regularly over an extended period of time, consider protecting yourself via wearing sunscreen around your hands.
Performing regular checkups with a dermatologist will help ensure early detection should any negative effects arise due to prolonged UV lamp exposure over time.
Gel nail polish is a great way to achieve long-lasting wear. However, it needs to be cured with UV or LED light to properly set and harden the polish.
When this isn’t an option, there are other methods such as using a hair dryer, ice water bath, sun exposure and quick drying spray that can help speed up the drying process.
It’s important to note that these don’t have the same results as an LED lamp, so it should only be used in cases where curing equipment isn’t accessible.
Prolonged exposure to UV lamps can cause skin damage, which is why it’s important to take proper precautions when using them.
Hi, my name is Gemma, and I’m the owner of MakeupMuddle.com. I’m a true beauty obsessive, and love writing about anything to do with beauty. In addition to Makeup Muddle, I also own GemmaEtc.com, and love sharing my thoughts and feelings about the greatest (and not so great) beauty products!