Can You Dry Regular Nail Polish with a LED Light or UV Lamp?

regular nail polish with uv lamp

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Can you dry regular nail polish with an LED light or UV lamp? If you are a nail art enthusiast or professional, perhaps this question is in your mind.

Regular nail polish takes about 15 to 20 minutes to dry completely. Several individuals looking for ways to dry their nail paints want to learn if LED or UV lamps can help with it.

Let us find out.

dry regular nail polish with a led light or uv lamp

Can We Dry Ordinary Nail Polish with an LED/UV Lamp?

Drying regular nail polish with an LED or UV lamp is not recommended. Traditional nail polish dries when its solvents evaporate. And an LED light or UV lamp does not considerably speed up the evaporation process of nail polish solvents. Even if it does a little bit, exposing hands to UV lights for an extended period is not safe.

This article discusses why ordinary nail polish should not be dried with LED or UV lamps. Before that, let us quickly learn about regular nail polish, LED lights, and UV lamps for more clarity.

What is a Regular Nail Polish?

Regular nail polish, also known as traditional nail polish, is a nail paint. It contains a combination of nitrocellulose and solvents like ethyl acetate and butyl acetate. 

Nitrocellulose is a resin that offers a hard and durable finish to the polish. Solvents, on the other hand, help the polish dry quickly and spread evenly. The color of nail paint comes from the added dyes or pigments.

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What is an LED Light and UV Lamp?

An LED light is a solid-state lighting containing a semiconductor to convert electrical energy into lights. LEDs or light-emitting diodes are small diodes used for several lighting applications. 

UV lamps emit ultraviolet radiation having a shorter wavelength than visible light. UV lamps sterilize and disinfect water, air, and surfaces. They can kill microorganisms by damaging their DNA.

Now you know the uses of LED lights and UV lamps. But why do people ask if these two lights can help dry regular nail polish? 

The reason is that some professionals and DIY nail artists use UV lamps and LED lamps to cure/dry gel nail polishes. Therefore, several people want to know if they can use them to dry regular polish on their fingernails and toenails.

You need to understand why UV/LED lamps help dry gel-based nail polish but not regular ones. Let us find out below.

Why Gel-based Polish Gets Dried with LED/ UV Light, but not Ordinary Nail Paint?

People who are into the nail art industry or have an interest in it know that LED light can dry gel nail paint. It happens because shellac-coated or gel-based nail paints dry faster under an LED light.

The gel formula of the nail paint contains photoinitiator molecules. And it reacts to wavelengths of light. When photoinitiators get exposed to an LED or UV light, they start a chain reaction and cure the nail paint. 

However, when regular nail polish is under UV light, it does not react like gel nail polish. Ordinary nail paint dries when its liquid solvents evaporate. 

If you dry your regular nail paint under an LED or UV lamp, the speed of evaporation won’t accelerate. Even if you use intense heat, it will not help, rather it can be hazardous to the skin

regular nail polish with uv lamp

Reasons You Should not Dry a Regular Nail Polish with LED/UV Lamp

Risk of Skin Damage and Allergy

As mentioned above, regular nail paint consists of various solvents. When these solvents evaporate, they leave solid parts behind. 

Regular nail polish contains volatile solvents, including ethyl acetate, alcohol, butyl acetate, etc. 

These diluents do not dry with the mild heat of UV and LED lamps. If you use a powerful UV lamp, it might increase the risk of skin damage. 

Skin exposure to ultraviolet rays for an extended period can cause several skin disorders. Some people might develop skin sensitivity or allergic reactions. 

Streaky/Uneven Finish

Like gel nail polish, regular nail paint does not formulate with photoinitiators. Therefore, it does not react with the UV and LED lamp and hardens the polish.

If you dry your regular nail polish under these lights, it might get a streaky or uneven finish. After all, regular nail polish does not cure with these lights. 

Dry and Brittle Nail

If you use LED or UV lamps to dry regular nail polish, it can also cause dry and brittle nails. Generally, it happens due to the heat generated by them. Excessive heat will eliminate the moisture of nail paint.

Discoloration of the Polish

As mentioned above, regular nail polish is not formulated to be dried with LED or UV light. They contain certain types of dyes and pigments. As a result, if you dry the nail polish under UV light, it can get discolored.

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Ways to Dry Regular Nail Polish

Regular nail polish takes a long time to dry, which might be annoying for some individuals. However, drying it using UV light is not the right solution. 

So is there anything we can do to dry ordinary nail polish fast? Yes, there are several tested and trusted methods.

Regular nail polish takes a certain time to dry depending on the thickness of the polish layer. However, it does not mean you have to use a UV or LED light. If you can’t wait that long, there are several safe ways to cure it. 

For your convenience, we have put together some ways below.

Try Using Dry Drops

Dry drops are an excellent solution to dry regular nail polish quickly. These special drops consist of solvents that evaporate the top layer of the polish. Therefore, they work unexpectedly.

Once you are done with the final coating of your nail polish, apply a few dry drops. It will take only a few minutes to dry and polish. It is as simple as that.

Use a Slightly Thin Coating of Nail Polish

It is the best solution if nothing is accessible to dry nail polish and you can’t wait long. 

How quickly a regular nail polish dries depends on the density of its coating. If you apply thin coats to your nails, they will not take long to dry. If you notice it is light, you can apply multiple thin coats of ordinary nail polish. 

Use Hair Dryer

Using a hair dryer is one of the straightforward ways to dry regular nail polish. However, you need to set your dryer to the ‘cool air’ setting. A steady flow of cool air will help the polish settle down quickly. 

Remember, if you mistakenly set the dryer to hot air, it can burn your skin.

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Get a Nail Fan

Professionals who run a nail art salon can invest in a nail fan. This specially designed fan helps the polish dry faster by throwing air. The fan releases gentle warm air that naturally speeds up the evaporation of polish. 

Drying Spray

Using nail polish drying spray is another method to dry regular nail polish. The spray contains ingredients such as volatile silicones. They protect the polish from becoming smudged during drying. 

The composition of the spray evaporates the liquid content in the nail polish. It naturally minimizes the drying time of polish.

Apply Cold Water

If you cannot use the above-mentioned methods, try dipping your hands in cold water. Even some top nail artists or stylists use this easy technique. 

Take a bowl of cold water and add some ice cubes. Once you have painted your nails with regular polish, wait 2-3 minutes. Next, dip your hands in the water. 

Keep your hand in the cold water for 3 to 5 minutes. If you notice beading on your nail’s surface, it is a sign that your nail polish has dried.

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All in all, we can say that regular nail polish should not be dried with UV and LED lights. In fact, it does not dry with UV or LED light.

Like gel nail polish, it does not contain ingredients that react to the wavelength of the light. LED and UV lights can cure gel nail polish only due to the photoinitiators they contain. Regular nail polish does not have such ingredients. 

If you use any amount of UV or LED lamp light to evaporate regular nail polish, it will not work. Moreover, it is not safe to use UV light continuously on nails for a long time.

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