How Long Does Essie Nail Polish Take To Dry?

Essie nail polish is one of the most popular nail products on the market. It is a non-toxic long-lasting nail lacquer that doesn’t chip easily. But before you buy it you may be wondering, “how long does Essie nail polish take to dry?”

Nail polishes from different manufacturers have different formulas. The formula determines how long it takes for nail polish to dry.

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how long does essie nail polish take to dry

According to Essie’s manufacturer, one coat of Essie nail polish takes 30-60 seconds to dry, depending on the thickness of the coats.

The drying time of nail polish also depends on many variables: the type of polish, how many coats you apply, and ambient temperature.

A thick or heavy coat will take more time for the polish to dry than a thin or light coat.

I’ve tried several different bottles of Essie lacquers and got pretty much the same results — about 1 minute for the polish layer to harden.

You need about 2-3 coats of Essie nail polish for good opacity, depending on its color. Some colors are more pigmented and 2 coats are enough for them. Some sheer colors need 3 layers for better coverage.

So it will take you about 10 minutes to apply and dry all the coats of Essie nail polish.

Base coat and top coat are optional with most of Essie’s nail polishes.

However, if you want your polish to stay on your nails longer and be free of chipping you should also use one coat of base coat and one layer of a top coat.

These products also take about 30-60 seconds to dry.

So all in all, all layers of Essie nail polish with a base coat and top coat will take about 15 minutes to dry.

One exception is Essie TREAT LOVE & COLOR polish, which has a special finish and should be used without a top coat. So its overall drying time will be a bit shorter.

How does Essie nail polish dry?

Essie is a nail lacquer.

All lacquers contain solvents, which make them stay liquid while they’re inside their bottles.

When you apply lacquer in a thin coat onto your nails the solvents evaporate and the lacquer becomes a hard film.

That’s how Essie nail polish and other nail lacquers dry and harden.

The evaporation of the solvents contained in the Essie nail lacquer takes about 30-60 seconds.

And that’s how long one coat of Essie nail polish takes to dry.

How long does Essie gel nail polish take to dry?

One of the polishes that this brand manufactures is named Essie Gel Couture.

It’s Essie’s longer-lasting nail polish line.

However, it’s not a UV gel nail polish so a lamp won’t speed up its drying process.

This is because it contains no photoinitiators that react to UV rays and help UV gel polishes polymerize.

Instead, it contains the same solvents as regular nail polishes that evaporate after you paint your nails with it.

For this reason, Essie Gel Couture is considered to be a no-light gel nail polish.

It doesn’t need a base coat but requires the use of a specially formulated gel-like top coat sold under the same Gel Couture brand.

This no-light gel nail polish and its special top coat also take about 30-60 seconds to dry for each layer.

But since it doesn’t need a base coat, you can apply and dry your entire Essie Gel Couture manicure with all the color polish layers and the top coat in about 10 minutes.

How to make Essie nail polish dry faster?

Nail polish dryer

You can buy a special nail polish drying spray, liquid drops, or top coat.

This oil-based product dries any nail lacquer a lot faster without smudging.

And a fast-drying top coat penetrates through the lacquer and quickly forms a durable finish.

Use thinner coats

A thin layer dries faster because the solvents evaporate quicker.

So if you use thinner layers of Essie nail polish you’ll see it fry faster.

Use fewer layers

Obviously, the fewer layers you need to apply the quicker your entire Essie manicure will dry.

Oil, baby oil, cooking oil

Oils make nail polish dry faster.

Add a couple of drops over your nail polish and wait for a couple of minutes for it to penetrate inside the nail polish layer and make it harden faster.

Plus, oil removes the stickiness off the surface of the painted nail.


When you’re exposing your painted nails to airflow from a fan it makes the solvents evaporate faster and will make Essie nail polish dry faster.

Hair dryer

The same goes for air coming from a hairdryer.

Nail polishes generally take about 10 minutes to dry completely after application if you only use an air-dry method. If you use a hairdryer, it can take anywhere from 3-5 minutes for drying time to complete.

However, try to use the cold air setting on your dryer or you’ll overheat your fingers.

Cold water or ice cubes

When the polish is half-dry you can run your nails under cold water or take a few cubes of ice and place them in a zip lock bag and put the bag against the nails.

The cold makes the polish harden quicker.

Just make sure the polish is not too liquid when you do it or you’ll smudge your new manicure.

Can I speed up the drying process with a UV lamp?

Essie nail polish, including Essie Gel Couture, doesn’t need a UV light to dry. It air dries after you apply it.

A UV lamp won’t speed up the drying process of this polish. So you shouldn’t use it.

Moreover, a UV lamp may make the polish layer shrink and wrinkle on your nails.

To wrap up, one coat of Essie nail polish or Essie Gel Couture takes about 1 minute to dry.

All coats, including the base coat and top coat, if you use them, can take about 10-15 minutes to apply and dry.

No need to use a UV lamp to speed up the process. But you can use a few DIY tricks to make the polish harden faster.

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