Why does fast-dry nail polish dry fast?

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Why does fast-dry nail polish dry fast?

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Good question… I’ve always wondered this. I guess it has something to do with the chemical make up but I really want to understand it. Also how does “quick dry top coat” dry all the non-quick-dry polish underneath it?! Answers, please!

The solvent used in the polish has a low boiling point, something like acetone for example. It vaporizes quickly when exposed to air.

They’ve adjusted the ratios of ingredients as well as maybe slightly altering the formula. Solvents are the stuff that holds it all together until dried, and are also the part that needs to flash off to be dry. More solvent means flashing off more quickly, and they toss in another film former (the ingredient that makes the finish smooth) to make sure it gets smooth before getting dry.

For those top coat drops, it’s just stuff that absorbs the solvents out of the polish to make it dry faster and helps it evaporate faster. It acts essentially like a sponge.

It’s actually is a really simple mechanism – nail polish is a mix of ingredients dissolved in a liquid solvent base. This solvent is a specific compound that can form a state of matter called a “volatile liquid”, meaning that molecules of this solvent barely interact with each other through the force of cohesion(and as a result it can nearly instantly evaporate (Edit*: In standard room temperature i should add) if there isn’t any pressure holding it in liquid state) but do so with other molecules through the force of adhesion – to simplify this you can imagine those molecules like grains of sand. If you take a handful and throw it sand grains will go all over the place the same as our solvent’s molecules go everywhere without anything to stick to, on the other hand if you add some water to the sand and throw a handful it will behave like a pastry dough, all thanks to water glueing it together. Same thing happens in your nail polish – shortly after putting it on most of the solvent evaporates cause it doesn’t have a way to stick to anything but a bit of it remains “glued” to ingredients that were dessolved in it or trapped between those “glued” bonds and over time due to random collisions with other molecules(like air or the trapped solvent) than normally happen on atomic level those glued fragments get knocked out of their fixed but weak positional bonds, allowing them to also evaporate – this process is the actual “drying out” of the nail polish. Quick-dry polish dries faster cause it simply contains more solvent that is compressed into the same volume, meaning that there are more solvent molecules overall, while amount of molecules with fixed position remains the same cause amount of additives in the solvent didn’t change. Those additional molecules can also collide with the “glued” ones knocking more of them out in the same span of time than smaller amount of them does so in normal nail polish and resulting in a shorter drying time. Some firms also add particles that interact with the ingredients the same way as the solvent does while being non-interactive to it themselves to decrease the amount of fixed molecules and even further reduce the drying times.