how long after painting nails can I shower

How long after painting nails can I shower? You’re not alone if this question baffles you.

You do not have to be a professional manicurist to enjoy beautiful nails. But, making certain mistakes, like painting your nails before bed or taking a shower right after, are possible. 

Rest assured that you are not alone in making these common mistakes when applying nail polish. (And yeah, understanding the drying time for nail polish is half the battle.)

So, how long should you wait after painting to take a shower?

No less than a couple of hours, and even longer maybe if you do not use a fast-drying topcoat.

Tip: Use your blow dryer in a cool setting to dry your nails faster, and holding your hands in the freezer may have a similar effect. 

What Is Bad to Take a Shower Right after Painting Nails?

take shower after painting nails

Exposing your freshly-painted nails to water is okay, but you should not do it immediately.

Never take a shower right after getting a manicure since chances are you have not given the nail polish enough time to dry properly.

An even more unpleasant experience would be a scalding hot shower.

It is possible that if you leave your nail paint in the shower for too long, the steam and heat will cause it to bubble or smudge.

How Long After Painting Nails Can I Shower Safely?

So, how long does it take for nail polish to dry? You should not shower for at least a couple of hours after the manicure has been completed.

The nails may look dry after thirty minutes, but according to numerous experts, they will not be entirely dry until twenty-four hours have passed.

If you go to bed too soon after painting your nails, you will get smudges on your freshly painted nails from the sheet. 

Should You Take a Shower Before or After Painting Nails?

shower before or after painting nails

Taking a shower before painting your nails is probably better than taking a shower right after the paint application. But, how long after shower can I paint my nails?”

Ideally, you should give yourself an hour or at least 30 minutes to begin painting your nails after a shower.

If you do not want to take a shower, you can still get good results by washing your fingers thoroughly before painting.

You may also want to apply some hand lotion and do a cuticle job. This gives your hands the hydration they need.

Tip: Do not leave more than a hair's width between the cuticle and the polish to avoid messy outcomes. 

How to Help Your Polished Nails Dry Faster?

The process of painting your nails (whether with colored or clear polish) can be relaxing.

However, waiting for the polish to dry can make a do-it-yourself manicure less appealing to others.

how help polish dry faster

Remember, nail polish typically needs 10–12 minutes to feel dry, but it takes much longer to dry completely.

Thankfully, there are ways to speed up the process.

Make Use of Drying Drops

Nail drying drops are widely available in drugstores and online.

Drying drops are effective but do not double the number of layers on your manicure as quick-dry top coats do.

These oil-based drops dry your nails quickly and effectively while conditioning your cuticles. This technique simply dries the topcoat of nail polish.

Drying drops may make your manicure or pedicure look dry immediately, but you should still wait a few minutes before touching your nails. 

Try Baby Oil

Anything like olive oil, baby oil, or even cooking spray can help your freshly-painted nails dry faster.

Make it simple to regulate the amount of oil applied to each nail by placing it in a decanter or medicine dropper.

When you are ready, use a quick drop on each nail and wait for a couple of minutes.

The method works since the oil sits on top of the nail and is absorbed by the paint.

Nail polish dries more quickly when thinner and this technique does just that. 

A dry paper towel can remove the oil from your nail once you notice it beading at the nail’s surface. 

Use a Thinner Coat

use thinner coat

Try this method to avoid wasting time while waiting for your manicure to dry.

In order to prevent nail damage, it is best to apply numerous thin layers of polish rather than a couple of thicker coats.

Doing so considerably reduces the drying time and helps you get better results.

Next, use a larger nail surface, like your thumb, to experiment with the amount of paint you put on and how thinly you can distribute it.

Tip: Avoid old nail polish as the solvents evaporate over time, leaving you with thick polish that is hard to apply properly.

What Else to Avoid besides Taking a Shower after Painting Nails?

what to avoid before taking a shower

Other than taking a shower right after painting your nails, you need to avoid some other mistakes to paint like a prof manicurist. 

Do not Go to Bed Soon after Painting your Nails

Nail polish takes 24 hours to dry thoroughly, despite the fact that your nails will appear dry after just 20 or 30 minutes.

Therefore, you should not paint your nails before going to bed.

It begins to set when you leave your polish for a couple of minutes. You may speed up the drying process by running very cold water over your hands for three minutes.

The polish sets up quicker in the cold water. But, do not risk ruining your manicure by accidentally smudging the polish by running water straight on your nails. 

Do Not Skip Topcoat

Skipping the topcoat not only reduces the shine of the finished product but also reduces the amount of time the manicure will look good.

Specialists also suggest that an additional layer of topcoat be applied every other day in order to achieve an even longer lifespan. 

Do Not Skip the Base Coat

dont skip the base coat

Who among us has not considered forgoing the base coat on occasion? Do not make this mistake, as the extra effort is justified for more than one reason.

According to professionals, using a base coat is the first step toward a faultless manicure since it evens out the nail’s surface.

It also helps the lacquer adhere to the nail plate and keeps the polish’s pigments from coloring the natural nail. 

Stay Away from Thick Coats

Since nail polish appears sheerer and lighter on nails than in the container, we often apply multiple layers to achieve the desired effect. 

Nonetheless, patience is vital in this instance.

There is a direct correlation between the length of time it takes for nail polish to dry after application and the likelihood of smudging.

Apply in thin, even applications, waiting two minutes between each. The polish will dry more quickly because of this.

You will need an orangewood stick and polish remover if you let a thick coat of polish seep into the cuticle area. 

Do Not Polish on Greasy Nails

dont polish the greasy nails

Nothing clings to an oily surface, so nail paint is more likely to peel if oil is present on the nail before application.

Instead, wait until the polish has dried to apply cuticle oil, and use sparingly.

Applying a basecoat without first using a product like a pH Prep might lead to uneven coverage and peeling.

The nail’s pH is adjusted downward by using this product, making it more receptive to the base coat.

Simply put, it acts much as a nail primer would. 

Do Not Use a Single Stroke to Polish Nails

Among the many tips, you might take away from a trip to the nail salon is the proverbial “three to four strokes” method used by manicurists.

Nails painted with a single stroke often look unfinished because they do not reach the sidewalls or the cuticle.

Not to mention, the paint will be gone in a few short days.

dont use single stroke paint nails

Use 3-4 strokes to distribute the nail color evenly.

You should:

  • Begin in the middle, close to the cuticle
  • Swipe to the right
  • Come back to the middle
  • Swipe to the left
  • End in the middle.

Make sure to give the entire nail a final swipe if there is any exposed skin.

Tip: Know when to change your polishes and be prepared to replace any cosmetics older than a year. 


Getting the best results when painting your nails does not have to be tricky, so long as you avoid common mistakes.

Knowing “How long after painting nails can I shower?” is crucial just like “how long you have to wait after a shower to paint your nails. 

The more knowledge you have about painting your nails, the higher the chances of you getting immaculate results.

So, keep learning and keep loving your beautiful nails!

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