can you dry regular nail polish with a LED light

So, can you dry regular nail polish with a LED light? Well, if you enjoy painting your nails but despise waiting for the polish to dry, you’re not alone.

Let’s face it, nothing is more annoying than spending time painting your nails before bed and waking up to discover them smeared and damaged.

The same holds for when you’re rushing to get to dinner or a business meeting, but your nail polish won’t dry in time.

Want to know how to speed up the drying time of your nail polish? Or, Does UV Led light dry regular nail polish?

No, UV or LED lights will not dry conventional nail paint, as they are incompatible.

So, what else can you do about it? How do you speed up the process? When Exactly can you benefit from a UV LED light or UV dryers? Let’s find out.

Why Does an LED Not Work for Drying Regular Nail Polish?

why led not work with regular polish

Since ordinary nail paint must dry in the air, placing your hands under the light would not hasten the process any more than it already would have.

It’s vital to cure the gel polish using an LED or UV lamp or it won’t become firm.

Gel polish is unlike traditional nail polish in that it does not come in liquid form. Instead, it contains a polymer that needs a different drying procedure.

Tip: Dry nail polish gives blotchy results, so toss it and get a new bottle if nail paint separates after a shake.

Difference between UV and LED Nail Lamps to Know When to Use One

The primary distinctions lie in:

  • The price, as LED lights are typically more expensive than UV
  • The drying time, as LED lights typically dry things more quickly
  • The lifespan, as LED lamps function for a significantly longer time

The majority of manufacturers of gel polish also sell lamps that are compatible with their products.

However, if you want the best results, it’s recommended that you use a light that was provided to you by the manufacturer.

It's important to verify whether or not the gel polish can be cured in your lamp.

These days, the vast majority of gel polish brands can be cured in either LED or UV lights. But, certain formulations may only dry in UV light. 

Will UV Dryers Work on Nail Polish without a UV Layer?

work without a uv layer

Nail dryers that use ultraviolet light are also known as UV nail lamps.

The UV radiation from the lamps has little effect on drying the nail polish, but the warmth generated by the light unit will help speed up the process.

A heat light with a modest fan, or any other device with heating capabilities and a fan to move the air, would also work just fine.

It would be more cost-effective to utilize a nail dryer that does not emit UV light rather than a UV light unit for drying regular nail polish.

Tip: Give your nails a nice shape using a file and buffer, as it improves application and reduces drying time. 

How Long Do You Have to Wait to Dry Nail Polish?

These days, you can find a variety of nail polish brands, all offering different products to suit your needs.

Also, the drying time may vary greatly depending on the type you use.

Regular Nail Polish

It typically takes one to two hours for your regular nail polish to dry completely.

the regular nail polish

This is especially true if you’ve prepared your nails by applying a base coat and a top coat. 

Gel Nail Polish under a UV Light

It will take ten seconds for the base coat and another couple of minutes for the gel polish and the top coat to dry together.

Gel Nail Polish under an LED Lamp

The time required for the base coat is ten seconds, while the time needed for the gel polish and top coat combined is one minute. 

When Can You Use LED or UV Lights to Dry Nails?

UV and LED lights are becoming popular as a way to dry your nails quickly.

But, you must understand that they don’t always prove effective, especially when using regular nail polish.

These lamps are best suited for gel nails.

What are Gel Nails?

what are the gel nails

You may not be familiar with gel polish if you normally use traditional nail polish.

Many people are now switching to this alternative nail polish because of its superior quality and longevity. 

Highly Durable

In most cases, gel nails can go unbroken for a minimum of two weeks. Nails can last up to four weeks with proper care and attention.

It gets its durability from the polymers it contains. 

Long-Lasting Effects

Gel polish can last so long due to its chemical composition. It will look and feel just like ordinary polish when applied, only it won’t dry when exposed to air. 

Highly Versatile

 Gel’s versatility means it can also be used to attach fake nails. Just remember that gel manicures typically cost a little more than acrylic ones.

It’s worth mentioning that gel nail paint and gel nail enhancements use somewhat different gels.

The gel used for gel nails is commonly referred to as hard gel. 

How Do You Dry Gel Nail Polish?

how to dry gel nail polish

Does LED light dry regular nail polish? It doesn’t. But, does it work on gel polish? Absolutely!

You’ll have to apply three coats, base, color, and top with gel nail polish. It’s important to let it dry after each coat.

To cure your gel nail polish, you need to resort to ultraviolet light.  Although most gels require curing with a UV lamp, some can also be cured using an LED lamp.

A single coat of gel polish needs only 90 to 120 seconds to cure under a UV lamp. On the other hand, an LED lamp can achieve the same results in 30-45 seconds.

Tip: Use acetone polish remover to outline the cuticle and repel stray polish for a salon-quality finish.

Can You Dry Regular Nail Polish with a LED Light, and What are the Alternatives?

can dry a regular polish

Now that you know you just can’t benefit from an ultraviolet or LED light to dry your regular nail polish, you must be looking for alternatives.

A simple but a bit expensive alternative is to use nail drying sprays.

They employ easy-to-make formulas with quick-drying silicones, which prevent the nail polish layer from smearing and speed up the nail polish’s evaporating solvent.

Here are some other ways to do it at home: 

Consider Freezing it Out

One quick way to dry your nail polish is to dip your fingers in cold water. And it’s so ridiculously easy to do! 

Step #1: Prepare Everything First

Before you paint your fingernails or toenails, prepare a large bowl of ice water by filling it with cold water and then setting it away. 

Step #2: Take Your Time

take time

After painting your nails, you should wait approximately two to three minutes to give the nail polish some time to dry before you dip your fingers into the bowl. 

Step 3: Keep Them Dipped

Keep them confined for around three to five minutes. 

Step #4: Know When It’s Done

When you take your hands out of the bowl, you will notice that water has begun forming small beads on your nails’ surface.

This is a sure sign that your nail polish is completely dry now. 

Consider Using a Blow Dryer

If you have a hair dryer at home that uses adjustable settings, you’re good to go. 

Step #1: Choose the Right Setting

Take your hair dryer, plug it in, and set it to the lowest possible temperature. 

Step #2: Paint Your Nails

Now, begin painting your nails using your regular nail polish. Give it a couple of minutes to dry naturally. 

Step #3: Introduce the Dryer

use hair dryer

When you’re through painting your nails, use the blow dryer on your nails. Do it for two to three minutes, moving it in small, circular motions around your nails.

Just be careful not to apply too much pressure or to hold it too close to your nails.  Not doing it carefully can cause ripples to appear in your nail polish.

Consider Using Cooking Oil

A quick spritz of cooking oil that does not stick is an excellent technique to cut down on the amount of time needed for nail paint to dry.

In the event that you’re out of frying oil, another option is to make use of a small amount of hairspray.

Step #1: Apply the Cooking Spray

 While the nail polish is still wet, lightly mist some cooking spray onto your freshly painted nails. 

Step #2: Maintain the Right Distance

Keep your hand around 30cm away from the can as you do this. This prevents the force of the aerosol from smearing the wet polish on the surface of the object. 

Step # 3: Rinse it!

rinse the polsh

First, give it a few minutes to stay on your nails before you start rinsing your hands in cold water.

Tip: Use a base coat on your tips to prevent premature chipping, improve the application, and reduce drying time.


Knowing the answer to” can you dry regular nail polish with a LED light?” can save you from wasting your money.

The truth is that these lights and lamps are only helpful with gel nails and nail polish.

If you hate waiting for your regular nail polish to dry, you can always try some natural alternatives.

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