How to Use a UV Nail Lamp

Updated March 20, 2018

Ultraviolet (UV) nail lamps are designed to help cure nail polish and the glue adhesives holding acrylic nails. Proper use of a UV nail lamp reduces the shrinkage of the acrylic and adhesive thus reducing possible injury to the nail bed. Lamps also increase the speed of drying wet nails, reducing time sitting around waiting and possibly smudging the new paint job. Consumer UV nail lamps range between £19 and £32 with professional models exceeding £130, as of August 2010.

Turn on the UV nail lamp and allow it to warm up.

Apply the nail polish or gel in thin layers to each finger.

Place the nails under the UV lamp for two to three minutes.

Remove the nails and apply a second coat.

Return them to under the lamp for two to three minutes before applying a third coat.


Use three or four thinner coats rather than one or two thicker coats. Thinner coats cure more effectively reducing acrylic shrinkage because the light is better able to penetrate each layer. Consumer lamps generally have one bulb and require keeping nails under the lamp for longer periods. You may need to experiment to find a cure time that is most effective for your particular lamp model. Professional lamps have up to four lamps for more balanced and powerful UV penetration.

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About the Author

With more than 15 years of professional writing experience, Kimberlee finds it fun to take technical mumbo-jumbo and make it fun! Her first career was in financial services and insurance.