ASK ANA: Does an Ice Bath Dry Nail Polish Fast?


How To Dry Nail Polish Fast

Image Will and Ice Bath Dry Polish Fast How to dry nail polish fast


“What do you think of the “trick” to harden polish…it involves dipping the painted nails into ice cold water.

Something tells me it may not work and could ruin a fresh manicure.” ~Kelli



I love how your brain thinks Kellie.

The Nail Scientist Speaks

I actually asked Doug on this one and his short answer was:

“It is true, but dumb. The water doesn’t have to be cold and this won’t properly dry the nails.” ~Doug Schoon, Nail Structure and Product Chemistry

Harden vs. Dry



The key word here is “harden” not dry.

The water helps harden the top layer of the polish. But when you take them out, the rest of the polish is soft and waiting to be dented.

The Nail Luxxe actually tested this myth and you can see the results of her painful test in the photo to the right.

The key is also to understand how polish “dries”—by evaporation of the solvents. This is impossible when immersed in water.

So if you have a hardened top layer from the water dip, it’s more difficult for the solvents to evaporate underneath.

The Solution

The best solution to getting polish to dry quicker is to paint each layer thinly. Finger #1 should be dry by the time you paint finger #10. If it’s not, you’re painting too thickly.

Some polish brands may require 3 layers when painting to achieve full opacity.

You will be far happier with the extra time it took to polish your nails 3 times and have each layer dry properly, than painting two thicker coats, and be frustrated with dents and smudges.

What’s Your Pleasure? Lick or Smell?

Although many prefer to lick the polish to see if it’s dry, I prefer the smell test . . . smell the polish on your nail right after you polish it. This is the aroma of the solvent that needs to evaporate.

After you have polished all 10 nails, go back and smell nail number one.

If you still smell the solvent, wait a few minutes before starting the second coat. Repeat the smell test before applying the third coat or topcoat.

Never touch two polished nails together to see if the polish is dry.

This is just asking for dents.

Role Reversal

NOW, topcoat over nail art, is the only time where my advice FLIPS.

You must paint quick dry topcoat over nail art very thickly so you are able to smooth out the topcoat WITHOUT letting the brush touch the polish underneath.

Since topcoat “re-wets” the nail art underneath, the brush can not touch it.

This is where “quick-dry topcoats” become important. You want that polish to dry quickly since you have to paint it on so thickly.

Otherwise you might be sitting around for 20 minutes waiting for it to dry. Who has time for that?

Hope that helps! Huggs, ~Ana


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