Does Running Cold Water On Nail Polish Dry Faster

As someone who enjoys experimenting with different nail polish colors and finishes, I have always wondered if there is a trick to make them dry faster. One popular suggestion I often come across is running cold water over freshly painted nails. The idea behind this method is that the cold temperature of the water helps to set the nail polish and speed up the drying process. In this article, I will delve into the science behind this method and share my personal experience with it.

The Science Behind Running Cold Water on Nail Polish

When nail polish is applied, it initially appears wet and takes some time to dry completely. The drying process involves the evaporation of solvents present in the nail polish formula. Cold water is believed to speed up this evaporation process due to the principle of heat transfer.

Heat transfer occurs when there is a temperature difference between two substances in contact. In the case of running cold water on wet nail polish, the cold temperature of the water draws heat away from the nail polish, causing it to cool down more quickly. As a result, the solvents in the nail polish evaporate at a faster rate.

Furthermore, cold water can also constrict the blood vessels in the skin around the nails, reducing blood flow to the area. This can potentially minimize the risk of smudging or denting the freshly applied nail polish.

My Personal Experience

Curious to test this method, I decided to give it a try. After applying my favorite nail polish color, I held my hands under a stream of cold water for a few minutes. Surprisingly, I did notice that my nails appeared to dry faster than when I simply let them air dry.

While I cannot provide scientific proof of the effectiveness of this method, I can share that my nails had a smoother finish and felt more secure against smudging. Additionally, the cool sensation from the cold water was refreshing and provided a sense of relief after the painting process.

Considerations and Alternatives

While running cold water on nail polish may help speed up the drying process, it is essential to note that it may not be as effective for certain types of nail polish formulas. Some fast-drying nail polishes contain ingredients that facilitate quicker drying times, making the use of cold water less necessary.

Alternatively, using a quick-drying top coat or applying thin layers of nail polish can also help speed up the drying process. Additionally, using a fan to create air circulation around the nails can aid in evaporation.


While the idea of running cold water on nail polish to speed up drying may sound unconventional, my personal experience suggests that it can indeed have a positive effect. The science behind heat transfer supports the theory that cold water helps to evaporate solvents in nail polish more quickly. However, it is important to consider individual nail polish formulas and explore alternative methods for achieving faster drying times. Ultimately, finding the best technique for drying nail polish is a matter of personal preference and experimentation.