Can Gel Polish Air Dry? The Answer May Surprise You!

Gel polish, also known as shellac or gelish, has been one of the most popular nail trends for the past several years. It’s long-lasting, makes your nails appear glossy, and comes in a wide range of colors. However, one of the most common questions people have about gel polish is whether or not it can air dry. Air drying is a popular alternative to using UV or LED lamps since it doesn’t require any special equipment. In this article, we’re going to dive into the details and give you everything you need to know about air drying gel polish.

The Science Behind Gel Polish

To understand whether or not gel polish can air dry, it’s essential to understand the science behind it. Gel polish is made up of a few key ingredients, including:

  • Acrylates copolymer
  • Methacrylate modified
  • Acrylic acid
  • Hydroxypropyl methacrylate
  • Isobornyl acrylate
  • Trimethylbenzoyl diphenylphosphine oxide

These ingredients work together to create a durable and long-lasting nail color that doesn’t chip or smudge as easily as traditional nail polish. Gel polish needs to be cured under a UV or LED lamp to harden and set properly. When exposed to a specific wavelength of light, the ingredients in gel polish crosslink, forming a hard and glossy surface on the nail.

Can Gel Polish Air Dry on Its Own?

In short, no, gel polish cannot air dry on its own. Gel polish requires a specific wavelength of light to harden and set, which is why it’s necessary to use a UV or LED lamp. While some people may claim that leaving gel polish out in the sun or under a regular light bulb will work, this is not recommended or effective. Using a UV or LED lamp is the safest and most effective way to cure gel polish and ensure that it lasts for as long as possible.

What Happens When Gel Polish is Not Properly Cured?

When gel polish is not properly cured, it can lead to a range of issues. Without proper curing, gel polish will not become hard and may become easily smudged or damaged. Additionally, uncured gel polish can lead to an increased risk of infection and inflammation, as it can trap bacteria and fungus under the surface of the nail.

Bulleted List:

  • Gel polish not properly cured will not become hard
  • Uncured gel polish can trap bacteria and fungus
  • Increase risk of infection and inflammation

Alternatives to UV/LED Lamps

While air drying isn’t an option for gel polish, some people are still hesitant to use UV or LED lamps. If you’re looking for an alternative to using a UV or LED lamp to cure your gel polish, there are a few things you can try:

1. Use a Lower Wattage Lamp

Some people find that lower wattage UV or LED lamps work just as well as higher wattage lamps. However, it may take longer to cure the polish completely. Look for lamps that are 24 watts or lower to try this method.

2. Apply Thin Layers

Another option is to apply thin layers of gel polish. Thicker layers of polish will take longer to cure completely, so using thin layers can help speed up the curing process and reduce the risk of the polish not hardening completely.

Bulleted List:

  • Use a lower wattage UV/LED lamp to cure gel polish
  • Apply thin layers of gel polish for quicker curing times

The Bottom Line: Can Gel Polish Air Dry?

In conclusion, gel polish cannot air dry on its own. It needs to be cured under a UV or LED lamp to harden and set correctly. If you’re hesitant to use a UV or LED lamp, you can try using a lower wattage lamp or applying thin layers of gel polish, but these methods may not be as effective as using a proper UV or LED lamp. If you’re looking for a long-lasting and durable manicure, gel polish is a great option, but it’s important to follow the proper steps to ensure that it lasts as long as possible.


1. How long does gel polish take to cure under a UV or LED lamp?

Gel polish typically takes 30-60 seconds to cure under a LED lamp, while it may take 2-3 minutes under a UV lamp, depending on the wattage. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions for specific cure times.

2. Can you cure gel polish under a regular light bulb?

No, using a regular light bulb to cure gel polish is not effective and can lead to issues with hardening and smudging.

3. How long does gel polish last?

Gel polish can last up to three weeks with proper care and maintenance.

4. Can you remove gel polish at home?

Yes, you can remove gel polish at home using acetone and aluminum foil. However, it’s important to follow the proper steps and avoid peeling off the polish, which can damage your nails.

5. Can gel polish damage your nails?

If removed improperly or worn for an extended period, gel polish can lead to nail damage or thinning. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and seek advice from a professional if you have concerns.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *