Will Gel Polish Dry In The Sun? – Nail Fact

Curious if your gel polish will dry in the sun? You’re not alone. Many wonder, ‘Will gel polish dry in the sun?‘ Whether you’ve run out of UV lamp options or you’re simply exploring an alternative method for drying your gel polish, you’re in the right place.

I tested it and give the result below for you. So, keep reading as we explore the possibilities.

Will Gel Polish Dry In The Sun?

Will Gel Polish Dry In The Sun

Gel polish can indeed dry naturally when exposed to sunlight. This occurs because of a chemical process called “polymerization.” When the ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun comes into contact with the gel polish, it initiates a reaction where the molecules in the gel start bonding together, causing the polish to harden.

The effectiveness of drying gel polish in the sun depends on the intensity of sunlight. Unlike UV lamps used in nail salons, where the UV light is concentrated directly on the nails, sunlight must penetrate through the atmosphere and possibly clouds. Due to this dispersion, it typically takes longer to cure gel polish in the sun. On average, it may require between 10 to 30 minutes or even more, contingent on weather conditions. To avoid potential issues, it’s advisable to apply the gel polish in the shade to prevent unintended exposure to the sun.

If you find that your gel polish isn’t drying as expected, it’s likely due to insufficient sunlight. A good rule of thumb is that if the sun is strong enough to give you a sunburn, it will likely be adequate to cure your gel polish as well. Nevertheless, don’t forget to apply sunscreen to protect your skin while waiting for your nails to dry in the sun.

To put this to the test, on a typical day that wasn’t exceptionally sunny, I applied gel polish and found that it dried more quickly when exposed to sunlight compared to leaving it to dry naturally. This anecdotal experience highlights the potential benefits of using the sun as a curing method for gel polish.

What Amount of Sunlight Is Required for Gel Polish to Dry?

Will Gel Polish Dry In The Sun? - Nail Fact

The amount of sunlight needed to effectively dry gel polish depends on various factors. Unlike a UV lamp that provides concentrated UV light, natural sunlight must pass through the atmosphere, and its intensity varies with weather and location. On average, it may take 10 to 30 minutes or more for gel polish to cure in the sun. The sun’s strength, time of day, and weather conditions all play a role in determining drying times.

Weather conditions and seasonal changes impact the availability of suitable sunlight. Cloudy or overcast days may prolong drying times, while bright, sunny days can expedite the process. It’s important to consider these variables when planning to dry gel polish in the sun.

To optimize sun-drying, choose a time when the sun is at its peak to ensure maximum UV exposure. Position your hands to receive even sunlight, and consider using shade for the initial application to prevent unintentional curing. Pay attention to sun protection, applying sunscreen to your skin while your nails dry.

UV Lamp vs. The Sun

AspectUV LampSunlight
Drying SpeedRapid drying in 15 minutes or lessSlower drying, typically 10 to 30 minutes or more, depending on sunlight intensity and weather
Curing EfficiencyHighly efficient, ensures complete curingMay require longer exposure and may not cure as thoroughly
ConsistencyProvides consistent and even curingVariability due to weather conditions and time of day
ConvenienceConvenient, quick, and reliableReliant on weather conditions, may not be available on cloudy days
EquipmentRequires a UV lamp, which is an additional purchaseUtilizes natural sunlight, no additional equipment required
Durability of ResultsOffers long-lasting, durable resultsResults may vary in terms of durability
AvailabilityAvailable for use at any time, regardless of weatherDependent on sunny weather conditions
SafetySafe when used correctly, minimal risk of overexposureSun exposure may carry the risk of sunburn, requires sunscreen application
CostUV lamps have an initial cost but are reusableNo additional cost for sunlight, but may require sunscreen

Will Gel Polish Dry Faster In The Wind?

Gel polish is typically dried using UV light or natural sunlight, and the wind doesn’t play a significant role in speeding up the drying process. The primary factors affecting gel polish drying are UV exposure, not air circulation. Wind may help in some cases by cooling the nails, but it won’t have a substantial impact on the overall drying time. The key factors to consider for faster drying are UV light intensity and exposure time.

Can You Use Gel Nail Polish Without A UV Light?

No, gel nail polish typically requires a UV or LED light to cure properly. These lights are essential for initiating the chemical reaction that hardens the gel polish. Without a UV or LED light source, gel nail polish will not dry or cure effectively, and you won’t achieve the desired long-lasting results.

How To Cure Gel Nails Without A UV Light?

Curing gel nails without a UV light can be challenging but is possible using alternative methods. Here are some details on how to cure gel nails without a UV light:

LED Nail Lamps

While not as common as UV lamps, LED nail lamps can also cure gel polish. These lamps emit a different type of light, and some gel polishes are specifically designed to cure under LED lamps. Check the gel polish product label to see if it’s compatible with LED curing.

Gel Polish Alternatives

Consider using gel-like nail polishes that do not require curing with UV or LED light. These polishes can provide a glossy finish and longer wear without the need for specialized equipment. Look for products labeled as “gel-like” or “long-lasting.

Quick-Drying Nail Polish Spray

Quick-Drying Nail Polish Spray

Quick-drying nail polish sprays are typically designed for regular nail polishes, but they may provide some assistance with gel polish. After applying your gel polish, you can try spraying a quick-drying nail polish spray over the top. However, results may vary, and it’s essential to follow the spray’s instructions and allow sufficient drying time.

Canola Oil Cooking Spray

Canola oil cooking spray is an unconventional but potentially effective method. After applying your gel polish, lightly spray canola oil cooking spray over your nails. This may help cure the top layer of the gel polish faster. Additionally, it can provide some moisturization to your cuticles. Be cautious not to use too much oil, as excessive oil may affect the polish’s adhesion.

Ice Cold Water

The ice cold water method involves immersing your freshly painted gel nails in ice-cold water for a few minutes. The cold water may help harden the gel polish more quickly. After the ice bath, allow your nails to air dry untouched. While this technique can be refreshing and may speed up the drying process to some extent, it might not provide the same level of durability as curing with a UV or LED light.

It’s important to note that these methods are not as reliable as using a UV or LED lamp for curing gel polish. Gel polish is specifically designed to cure through a chemical reaction initiated by UV or LED light. While these alternative methods may offer some assistance in drying the surface of the gel polish, they may not provide the same long-lasting results.


In conclusion, the sun can indeed serve as a natural means to dry your gel polish, utilizing the process of polymerization triggered by UV rays. However, it’s essential to consider factors like sunlight intensity, weather conditions, and the time required for adequate curing. While sun-drying is a viable option, it may take longer compared to the efficiency of a dedicated UV lamp.

For those seeking a quicker and more reliable gel polish drying experience, investing in a UV lamp is highly recommended. It not only saves time but also ensures consistent and durable results.

If you’re eager to delve deeper into the world of nail care, explore more fascinating nail facts and tips on Villa Nails’ blog. Our team will alway update new information about personal care for you.