How long it takes for your nails to dry depends partly on the type of nail polish and nail polish dryer you use. Generally, it takes one to two hours before nail polish is completely dry, especially if you've used a base coat, two coats of nail polish and a topcoat. Formaldehyde-free polishes take more time to dry. Many nail polish dryers allow you to use your hands 5 to 15 minutes after polish is applied. For best results, polish your nails when you have time to let them dry completely.