Does Cold Water Dry Nail Polish Faster? (Explained)

Nail polish can take some time to dry. Depending on how many coats you apply, nail polish can take from 15 minutes up to an hour to completely dry.

Because of this, people are trying to devise ways and do-it-yourself hacks to dry nail polish faster. One of them is by dipping the nails in cold water.

Cold water can help dry nail polish faster.

Here is How Cold Water Works on Nail Polish:

Cold temperatures can help speed up the drying time of nail polish. By dipping or submerging your nails in cold water after applying nail polish, the nail polish will harden and solidify faster, and this can help cut down the drying time of nail polish significantly.

Why Does Cold Water Dry Nail Polish Faster?

One of the easiest hacks people do to dry nail polish faster is dipping the nails in cold water. It is easy and simple to do and does not need additional tools or products.

Here is how you do it:

  • Before applying nail polish, fill a small bowl with cold water.
  • Then add some ice cubes to the bowl.
  • After applying nail polish, let it sit for 2 minutes.
  • Then dip your nails in cold water and wait 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Then take your nails out, and you will see that your nail polish has hardened and solidified.

This simple hack can be effective if you want to cut down the drying time of your nail polish by several minutes.

Cold water dries nail polish faster because lower temperatures can set it and solidify it in just a few minutes.

This is a trick you can do when you are in a hurry and want to dry your nails faster to move on to your other tasks for the day.

However, note that this hack only hardens the top coat of the nail polish, making it dry to the touch in 5 minutes or less. This does not dry layers underneath, so you still have to be careful not to bump your nails.

So even if the top coat is dry, it will still take 30 minutes up to an hour for the lower layers of the nail polish to dry.

How Cold Does The Water Have To Be?

Although this may be a simple trick, it still requires a bit of prepping. You must prepare the bowl with cold water before applying your nail polish.

Once you apply nail polish, you must wait at least 2 minutes to allow it to set. This will make sure that the polish adheres to your nails.

The water has to be cold to the touch, and your nails have to be submerged in the water for at least 3 minutes so that this trick is effective.

Remember that this does not dry your nails completely. This trick will only harden the top layer of your nail polish but not the other layers underneath it.

Is The Cold Water Method More Effective Than Air-Drying?

While many people would recommend the cold water method if you want a quick and easy way to dry your nails faster, it only works to dry the top coat of the nail polish.

The top coat becomes hard and solid so that it does not smudge when you run a finger over it. However, this method does not allow the nails to dry completely.

The layers underneath the top coat will not dry out from this. So if you bump your nails or add pressure to them after using cold water to dry them, they will get dents, and your manicure will be damaged.

The cold water is good if you want a quick fix, so you do not spend much time waiting for your nails to dry. If you are a generally busy woman, this method lets you go about your day as normal in just a few minutes after applying nail polish.

However, using the cold water method may damage your manicure later on. This is because water can expand the nail plate, which in turn causes the nail polish to chip once it becomes dry.

So if you have extra time, it is better to wait for your nails to dry with the traditional method, which is air-drying.

Is Drying Spray Better than Cold Water for Drying Nails?

Applying a hair-drying spray may be your best option if you want a more effective way to dry your nails.

A nail polish drying spray is a product that is specially made to dry nail polish faster. You use it by spraying it onto wet nails right after you apply the nail polish.

Drying spray is a popular product used in salons and nail spas because it is proven to be very effective in significantly cutting down nail polish drying time. It also makes nail polish smudge-proof in just a few minutes.

If you compare cold water and drying spray, the latter works better. Drying spray is more effective.

Nail polish works by forming a pigmented film on the surface of the nails. This happens once the solvents in the nail polish evaporate upon application.

Nail polish drying sprays work by creating a reaction with the solvent. Drying sprays contain silicon which makes the solvent in nail polish disperse and evaporate faster to cut down the drying time.

A nail polish drying spray is a good product if you do your manicure and pedicure at home. You can spray it on your nails after you apply nail polish. The nail polish would dry faster, so you can go about your day as normal in just a few minutes.

Do Some Nail Polishes Come Off In Cold Water?

When in the pool, your manicure or pedicure can chip, so you may wonder if some nail polishes come off in cold water.

In general, nail polish can come off when submerged in water for a prolonged time, regardless of whether the water is warm or cold. 

This is because our nails naturally absorb water. When our nails absorb too much water, it can cause the nail polish to lift and eventually chip and crack.

This can happen to almost any type of nail polish. The only type of nail polish that does not come off in the water is gel nail polish.

Gel nail polish is generally more difficult to remove and cannot be removed by simply rubbing acetone on it. It has to be soaked in acetone and scraped off.

If you want the top of your nail polish to dry faster just so you can go about your day, then dipping your nails in cold water is a good trick. If you want it to dry without using any additional product completely, then air-drying works better.

If you want a fool-proof way of drying your nails faster, then buy a nail polish drying spray – they are affordable, and you can buy them in any store that sells nail polish and other nail products.


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