why isn't my acrylic nails drying

Why isn’t my acrylic nails drying? Do you often face this question? Well, it could be because you’re making certain mistakes while drying your nails.

Manicures are popular, but many people lack the time or patience to wait for them to cure before wearing their new look.

Because acrylics dry the same way traditional nail paint does, you may need to schedule additional time with your technician if you decide to go that route.

Many women have attempted various methods, including UV lamps, to speed up the drying process of acrylic nails.

So, you may be wondering why is my acrylic not hardening or drying?

Your acrylic nails won’t dry if you fail to increase the temperature using a UV lamp or whatever method you may be using.

Tip: Be sure to follow the right powder-to-liquid ratio because an excessively wet mixture can cause shrinkage and weaken your nails. 

Why Isn’t My Acrylic Nails Drying Quickly?

my acrylic nails not drying

Acrylics’ primary benefit is that they can solidify in the presence of air alone. You read it correctly:

If you let the acrylics dry naturally, they will be cured after just 10 to 15 minutes.

Like conventional nail paint, this feature requires nothing more than exposure to air to cure and harden the nails.

Regular nail paint dries considerably more quickly than acrylics, but that’s the only difference.

Because of this, some women mistakenly think that applying conventional nail polish over acrylics can hasten the drying process, but this is not the case.

Also, the problem arises when your nails take longer than expected to harden.

Moreover, when we have so much to get done in a day, waiting up to 15 minutes for a single layer to harden is just not an option. 

What Makes Acrylic Nails Take Longer to Dry?

So many chemical reactions take place when you apply acrylic nails, but many factors can hinder their speed.

That’s why you may notice your acrylic nails taking longer to harden. It could happen for various reasons. 

Improper Storage of Acrylic Products

an improper storage

Where you keep the manicure supplies, and acrylic in particular, also has a role in determining the time it takes for acrylics to harden. 

Is It a Bit Too Cold?

The items will adjust to the temperature if your storage is really dark and cold.

Keeping products at a comfortable temperature will make your work easier, so store them in a warm area or close to a heat source.  

A desk drawer is the best option if you want to keep your products safe.

This serves two purposes: first, it keeps whatever you store at room temperature to grab whenever you need it.

Secondly, you’ll have everything you need within easy reach. 

Inadequate Hands Temperature

an inadequate hands temperature

It may come as a surprise to learn that the speed with which acrylics dry is accelerated when your hands are warm.

Be conscious that the healing process occurs on your hands and that having cold hands will hinder it.

Nearly everyone has felt the sting of cold hands at some point in their life, usually when venturing outside in the dead of winter. 

However, some people are born with a genetic tendency that causes them to perpetually suffer cold fingertips. And that is irrespective of how warm the air may be.

Your cold hands may be the earliest indicator of systemic circulation issues in many cases.

However, if you experience such difficulty, you have to do something about it. 

What Can You Do About It?

Before getting a new manicure, you can help your hands feel warm by keeping them under hot running water. 

Simply rubbing them together may also help.

Even though this won’t completely stop the problem from occurring, it will still help while putting on the acrylics.

Tip: Avoid exposure to acetone and turpentine because they can affect your acrylics and cause them to deteriorate quickly.  

Not Warming Up the Dappen Dish

not warming the dappen dish

Another reason your acrylic nails may take forever to dry is that you ignore warming up the dappen dish.

It looks like a simple thing, but so many people do not understand its importance. 

What Can You Do About It?

Get your regular dappen dish or bowl you use for the acrylic liquid. Now, get another larger bowl and put your regular one inside it.

Pour some hot water into the outer bowl and let the liquid inside your smaller bowl become warm.

Use the warm acrylic liquid with your regular powder to mix it easily. Using it on your nails will also help them dry faster.

Similarly, leaving the dappen dish around a heat source or in direct sunlight for a short time may also work.

Putting it in a microwave before use is another quick way to get it ready. 

Improper Room Temperature

an improper room temp

Have you been doing your manicure in the room with your air conditioning system at full power?

It could be the reason why your acrylic nails just won’t dry.

As surprising as it may be, the temperature of the room in which you perform your manicure can be just as important as the temperature at which you keep the product in storage.

It is imperative that the following be attended to ensure that the ideal temperature for working conditions is provided.

  • Don’t leave your windows open when doing the manicure.
  • Stay away from the windows if you can’t close them for any reason.
  • Turn off the air conditioning system.

It’s worth mentioning that just like too much cold is not good, excessive heat may hurt too.

Direct exposure to the sun for an extended time can impact the shelf life of your acrylic products.

Tip: Consider using gel polish over your acrylic nails, as it helps extend the lifespan of your manicure.  

What Other than Slow Drying Make Acrylic Nails Tricky?

other slow drying acrylic nails

Not being able to dry your acrylic nails quickly is always the top most concern for most people.

But, it is not the only one. You may occasionally run into many other issues, but there are fixes. 

How to Tackle Runny Acrylic?

The acrylic bead must keep its form once applied to the nail.

When the acrylic service looks like it’s melting, it can feel like a race against the clock to get an even coat.

This makes it more challenging to keep the acrylic where you want it. And it also makes it potentially more prone to undesirable outcomes in the days to come.

Why Does It Happen?

Runny acrylic is usually the result of using too much liquid. Sometimes, it may also happen when your brush is a bit too wet. 

How to Fix It?

Stick to the best liquid-to-powder ratio. It is recommended that the ratio of liquid to powder is 1.5 to 1. 

Due to seasonal changes in humidity and temperature, you may need to recalculate your liquid-to-powder mixture to avoid issues. 

How to Tackle Bubbling Acrylic?

how tackle bubbling acrylic

Having bubbles appear in your acrylic even after you think you’ve done everything right is extremely frustrating.

The issue of bubbling is the opposite of the problem of runny acrylics. 

Why Does It happen?

It could be due to incorrect application or curing too fast.

Incorrect Application

Brushes have the potential to introduce air bubbles into the liquid.

Air bubbles can also form in the finished enhancement if the product is worked too much after it has been applied to the nail. 

How to Fix It?

Make sure the bristles of your brush are completely saturated with monomer by letting any air bubbles escape at the bottom of your liquid dish.

Applying pressure and smoothing out the product will force out any air bubbles. 

Curing Too Fast

cutting nail too fast

There is no guarantee that something faster is also better. Making your acrylic dry up too quickly can cause the top layer to plasticize. 

It will keep the air bubbles from naturally working their way out. They become trapped and you end up having an uneven surface. 

How to Fix It?

Avoid using a fast-set powder if bubbling is the main concern.

Instead, switch to a standard set and see if allowing more time for acrylic nails to dry prevents bubbling. 

Be sure to consider temperature changes and seasonal humidity because these factors can also play a role.

Tip: Limit water exposure and wear gloves or else it may cause your acrylics to separate, lift, and weaken.


You’re likely to face many challenges when switching to acrylic nails. But, “why isn’t my acrylic nails drying?” continues to be the most common inquiry. 

Temperature can play a huge role in determining the quality of your acrylic nails.

Be sure to do your manicure in a warm room using products stored at room temperature for the best results.

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