How to Dry Gel Nail Polish Without UV Light

Gel nail polish has been one of the trends in beauty for many years now. However, there are health risks associated with this product due to the use of UV light for curing. If you’re a fan of gel nail polish, the more you’re exposed to UV light.

Fortunately, there are alternative ways on how to dry gel nail polish without UV light. These methods have been proven effective in drying the polish, so you won’t need to visit the nearest salon if you don’t want to. But it’s important to follow the proper procedure carefully to avoid mistakes and ensure accuracy. Take your time and don’t rush each step.

Today, we list down the ways to dry gel nail polish without using UV light. Plus, we provide other information you must know about gel nail polish application.

What Are the Benefits of Gel Nail Polish Over the Regular Nail Polish?

Before we tell you the methods to cure gel nail polish without UV light, let’s discuss a little bit about its advantages over regular nail polish.

Gel nail polish is more popular than regular nail polish as it creates a more durable finish and vivid colours and can last longer. Aside from that, it has a harder finish that serves as a protective shield for natural nails from wear and tear. It also dries more quickly than regular nail polish, which you need to wait for hours. Lastly, it has high resistance to smudges and dents, allowing easier touch-ups.

How to Dry Gel Nail Polish Without UV Light | 5 Ways

1. Blow Dryer

Your blow dryer can also be used on your nails to cure gel polish. You need to have it in its cool setting as the cold air makes the drying process fast without smudging the manicure. To use this tool for drying gel polish, position it above the nails at a distance of 6 inches.

In every gel nail coat, blow dry it for 10-20 seconds. Once the first coating is done for all nails, wait for a few minutes before proceeding to the second coating to allow complete hardening of the polish. Repeat the process and make sure to wait for the right time for each step.

2. Ice Water

This is the most straightforward method on our list. The cold water hardens gel polish quickly as you dip your nails for a few minutes. To do this method, you must perform the basic manicure first. Once done, put some ice cubes in a bowl and then add water.

Apply the first layer of gel polish to your nails and then wait for 5-10 minutes. Dip your fingers in the ice water for about 3 minutes. Repeat the same process for the second layer. Allow one more hour to air-dry gel nail polish. This should completely dry the product on your nails.

A word of advice: There is a great chance your manicure might get damaged if you do cleaning activities and household chores. Allow a few more hours to be really careful with your nails to prevent smudges.

3. Cooking Spray

Curing gel nail polish is only a trip to your kitchen away with this method. The most suggested oil is canola cooking spray. The oil has the ability to blend in with the formula of the polish and thins out the product, making the drying process quick.

To follow this method, start by laying paper towels on the table or any surface. Lay one hand out and then spread your fingers. Position the spray 6 inches away from your hand and spray each finger generously. Make sure to do this while the polish is wet. Repeat this procedure with the other hand and allow several hours to harden before washing your hands.

Aside from the drying ability of the oil, it also helps with the hydration of your cuticles. While letting your fingers dry, try not to touch anything as the oil feels sticky. Wash your hands with soap and water once the nail polish has settled on your nails.

4. Quick-Drying Nail Polish Spray

Although nail polish sprays are basically created for non-gel-based polish, these may still help harden the gel nail polish. To use this method, spray the nail polish spray 6 inches above the nails. Do this when your nails are still wet and only spray a light coat. Repeat the same steps on your other hand and once both hands are finished, let them dry for a few hours. Once the nail polish has dried, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

5. Sun-Activated Top Coat

There are sun-activated top coats you can use to help settle the gel nail polish. This product needs sunlight to completely dry on the nails. To use this method, you need to find an area in or around your home to expose your nails to the sun. Once you find the right spot, you need to set up a table and chair, so you can position comfortably. You only need your hands to be exposed to the sun, not your entire body.

Lay your hands on the table and spread your fingers to expose your nails properly to the sun. You can wear hand gloves that expose your fingers only, so you won’t need to show your entire hands while under the sun.

Important reminder: Although it may take a while for the gel nail polish to settle with sunlight, you must not expose your hands too long. Too much sunlight exposure can cause overheating, which can lead to the cracking of the nails.

How Long Does Gel Nail Polish Last When Cured Without UV Light?

As what you’ve learned from the given methods above, it depends. It can run from 15 minutes to one day. Aside from the method you’ll use, other factors that affect the length of the curing process include humidity in the air, coat thickness and brand of gel nail polish. If you’re in a hurry, you can always opt for the fastest method, but if you’re willing to wait, you can achieve the best results if your nails really need a longer period to fully dry.

Does Gel Nail Polish Last Long Without UV Light?

The straightforward answer to this is it depends on how the gel nail polish is applied and how the nails are prepared. Although this polish is technically designed to be cured with UV light, it doesn’t mean you can’t dry it with other methods. With proper application and nail preparation, the polish can last for a few weeks without peeling or chipping. So, it’s crucial for each procedure to be done correctly to ensure you get the best results.

Can Sunlight Cure Gel Nail Polish?

No, it can’t. Although sunlight has UV radiation, the levels are varying, which is not consistent in reliably setting the gel nail polish. Not to mention, gel nail polishes have different kinds, and not all varieties can be cured by sunlight. Some brands even require stronger UV light to completely cure the gel nail polish.

What Types of Nail Coats Are Best for Gel Nail Polish?

When it comes to the base and top coats, there are products you can use to help make the gel nail polish dry quickly. One product you can try is a self-leveling base coat. What it does is it guarantees that the top coat doesn’t have ridges or bumps, which can lead to bubbles.

You can also try a two-step coating system that has a sealing top coat and adhesion base coat. This system allows the gel nail polish to have a glossy finish and good grip.

Is Air-Drying Effective for Gel Nail Polish?

Due to the nature of the polish, you cannot air-dry it. Air-drying can leave the polish tacky and doesn’t allow you to achieve the best finish and durability. As much as possible, use UV light as the formulation of gel nail polish includes photoinitiators that react to the light. This reaction, which is called polymerisation, leads to the drying and hardening of gel nail polish and gives its shine and strength.

Opting for Non-UV Gel Nail Polish

If you’re really not into the curing process, you can always choose non-UV gel nail polish. This product also offers a long-lasting and shiny finish. Applying non-UV gel nail polish is similar to regular polish. You must use base and top coats, and the polish dries when exposed to air.

Quick Manicure Tips

Here are a few quick tips you should consider when doing manicures at home:

  • To ensure your nails are clean and free of products when you prepare them for gel nail polish, always apply a nail polish remover using a cotton ball. With this tip, oil residue from your previous manicure is completely removed.
  • Squoval or oval nail shapes are ideal if you’re prone to chipping. Rounded nails don’t easily chip with environmental factors compared with coffin or stiletto nail shapes.
  • Less is more – this is the general rule for gel nail polish. The product has a different formulation than regular nail polish, which doesn’t require a thick coating. Also, in case you mess up between coatings, you can easily get rid of the entire layer and then start again.
  • Apply nail polish to the edges as well. This also includes your base and top coats. Doing so protects your nails from scratches and chips.
  • If you accidentally put polish on your skin, make sure to remove it when it’s still wet. Use a thin brush dipped in acetone to effectively get rid of the product. It’s important to remove it as soon as you can because once you cure your nails, removing the product won’t be that easy.

The Takeaway

Use the methods on how to dry gel nail polish without UV light above if you don’t have access to the device. These alternatives may require some patience for the product to settle, so make sure to wait for the proper time. However, if you want a quicker and smoother process to apply gel nail polish, visiting a nail technician is always the best option.