Mythbusting Speedy Nail Polish Drying Methods

I’ve seen the tip on Pinterest several times now about spraying wet, polished nails with Pam cooking spray. Along with this, I’ve also seen the tip about placing your nails in cold water to aid in the drying process.

I am a nail biter and it is a habit I am forever trying to break. If my nails are painted, I am more likely to not bite them. I’m back on the no-biting train so I did a round up of nail drying gimmicks from Pinterest and tested ’em out.

As previously mentioned, when I’m in my “no-bitey” phase my fingernails are pretty much painted all the time. Which means I’ve done a lot of nails in my life. My Nail-Fu is pretty strong.

If you are wondering, my “process” starts with the whole cuticle soaking/trimming/pushing rigmarole then into Sally Hansen Hard As Nails as a base coat. Next comes several coats of whatever color- with a minute or so between coats- and then I apply a top coat. For my money, Seche Vite dry Fast Top Coat is the best I’ve found. Obviously, I have my own system that works best for me. But a promise of even FASTER dry nails was tempting.

The instructions, I guess, COULD have been more clear than “spray with Pam.” Who knew? So, I put my regular top coat on, not knowing whether the Pam replaces that step. And then I sprayed my nails with Pam and immediately realized… oh crap… I now have cooking lubricant all over my fingers. There were no suggestions as to how long to keep it on, or when to wash it off. I left it on for about two minutes… then gently washed it off with soap and water. I used my thumb as a test nail, so as not to ruin the ENTIRE manicure if things went south.

Pam Nail Dry

I don’t know if you can see, but the entire top layer shifted like a tectonic plate. Glad I only tested it on my thumb. I was able to slide it back and kind of finesse it into normalcy, but I wasn’t blown away by Pam’s effectiveness. Plus, did I mention that you have to cover your fingers with Pam?

I waited a little longer for the rest of my nails and they dried fine… but, I think the only real “trick” to getting nails to dry is TIME and not touching them- the longer the better. No earth shattering reveal here… but at least I may prevent one person out there from getting Pam all over their kitchen faucet. So, did it work? The answer is a solid YES(?).

Anyone out there got any tips on not biting their nails? I’ll test the cold water submersion theory next and let yall know how that works! Science!


Tested cold water submersion method! Also tried the tip about spreading Vaseline around cuticles before painting. Vaseline is a tricky tricky business. A little goes a super long way and navigating that on the surface around your nails is tough. If you get ANY Vaseline on your nail it will interfere with the paint. But it DOES make clean up easier… I guess if I got a brush or something for really precision application?? But ain’t nobody got time for that. Cold water submersion was fine… didn’t really notice that much of a difference in drying time. Still stand by theory that time and isolation is the only surefire way to really dry your nails.




Avatar photo



  1. I think you may have left the Pam on for too long. I literally just painted my nails (only a clear coat, because I’m a nail biter too and they aren’t long enough yet to look nice with color), and while still wet I sprayed with Pam, shook a couple times, rinsed with water almost immediately, dried with a paper towel, and the polish is fine.

    • Jacky- Thank you so much for reading! I’m totally willing to give it another shot, upon your recommendation. Will keep you posted!

  2. Hi! I was a nail bitter until I was 19 years old so I know your struggle I also bit less when they were polished. When I started dating my now husband he began smacking my hand down from my mouth everytime I started to bite them. It was so annoying and even caused a few fights 🙂 but it very much worked only took about 6 months to stop bitting. I’m now 26 and still don’t bite them everytime I start to raise my hand to my mouth instincts kick in and I put it down lol

    • Hey, Nikki! Thanks for reading! I’m so glad to know that I am not alone in my nail biting woes and congratulate you on your success. Though you are a better woman than I… if my boyfriend ever smacked my hand away, he’d be getting a smack himself! Ha! 🙂 But, whatever works is whatever works. I am still struggling, so you may have the right of it! Oh well… onwards and upwards. Happy Holidays!

Leave a Reply

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.