Will Gel Polish Air Dry? Is UV Light Necessary?

15 Nov.,2022

 

can you air dry gel nail polish

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Gel nails are great, they provide a strong, stylish look that lasts quite a while. It’s easiest to get a gel manicure at a salon, but you can get gel polishes for home use. Do you have to cure these with UV or LED light?

Will gel polish air dry?

Unfortunately, most* gel polish doesn’t air dry. You need to use a compatible UV or LED lamp for your manicure to harden and dry completely. If you don’t, it will just smudge off your fingernails. 

There’s a bit more to the story, though. There are some air-dry gel polishes on the market that provide a gel finish, but air dry. We love them!

In this article, we’ll explain why you can’t just let standard gel polish air dry, and we’ll go over a few of the new brands of air-dry gel.

Will Gel Polish Air Dry? Why Not?

White female hand with manicured nails inside of UV lamp in a nail salon

Gel polishes are one of the best solutions when it comes to longer-lasting nail color. They can last for a couple of weeks. However, for them to harden, they need to be cured under UV or LED light.

Gel polishes are great to work with because you can apply them and remove them easily before they’re exposed to light. You can create your design, and when you are happy with it, you can use UV light to harden (or “cure”) the design. 

It should only take about a minute to cure the gel polish under UV light, and if you go beyond that, you can over-cure your nails. After the exposure, the gel polish will be completely dry and there is no need to wait to do the activities you need to do. 

The reason why gel polishes harden is that the chemicals in it react exposed to UV light. It is the UV light that starts the reaction which causes the liquid gel polish to harden. 

Without the UV light, the gel polish simply won’t dry. If you are waiting for the gel polish to air dry, then you’ll be waiting a long time!

The gel polish won’t air dry even if you wait for a long time, since there’s no real way to dry gel polish without UV or LED light.

If you are waiting for the gel polish to air dry, then you’ll be waiting a long time!

Unlike regular nail polish that dries in the air, gel polish can only dry up when it is exposed to UV lights.

Air Dry Gel Nails to the Rescue!

If you don’t want to deal with a UV/LED nail lamp (and the potential harm of one UV light), you can use an air-dry gel polish. But understand they’re not exactly gel polishes.

In the market today, you could find nail polishes that are labeled as ”non-UV . A lot of people believe that these are also gel polishes.

However, they aren’t true gel polishes. 

Essentially, they are thicker versions of regular nail polishes that dry when exposed to air to produce a manicure that looks like a gel manicure. True gel nail polishes will always need UV light to cure and dry completely. 

They are thicker versions of regular nail polishes that dry when exposed to air to produce a manicure that looks like a gel manicure. True gel nail polishes will always need UV light to cure and dry completely. 

The non-UV gel polishes may produce similar results when it comes to the appearance of gel polishes. They can look as great, shiny, and vibrant. However, one of the main differences is that they don’t last as long. 

As we’ve mentioned, the gel polishes can last for weeks, about 2-3 weeks. On the contrary, the products labeled as non-UV gel polishes will only last for about a week. 

Can You Dry The Gel Polish In The Sun?

The main requirement for gel polishes to dry is exposure to UV light. Usually, the UV lamps used together with the nail polish only need to be used for 30 seconds to a minute for the gel polish to dry. 

Since the sun is known to be a source of UV light, many wonder if exposure of the gel polish to the sun’s rays can cause it to dry up.

Although the sun can dry the gel polish, using it is not practical. 

When you use gel polishes, you first need to apply a base coat, two coats of the color of your choice, and finally a top coat. Each coat needs to be exposed to the UV lamp for the layer to dry. 

You need to make sure that each layer is dry before adding the next layer on top of it. When a UV lamp is used, this will be quick because you only need about a minute of exposure.

However, if you use the sun, it will take a lot longer for your gel nails to dry up. 

Also, depending on how sunny it is, your gel polish may take longer to dry during cloudy or rainy days. 

Conclusion

Gel polish won’t air dry, no matter how long you wait. You have to cure it with a nail lamp. But if you don’t want to deal with a nail lamp, the air-dry gel nail polishes on the market are a great option. They just don’t last as long as true gel nails.