Can You use Alcohol as a Nail Dehydrator?

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Step by step guide on how to use alcohol as a nail dehydrator

Prepping your nail correctly for acrylic or gel nails is the key to getting a good manicure, and there are specific steps that you can’t miss out on. Dehydrating and priming the nail will help give your nails that professional feel to them, but finding the right products to use can be hard. 

There are so many questions surrounding what products to use and whether certain products are necessary; one question that gets asked a lot is, can you use alcohol as a nail dehydrator?

The answer is yes; you can use alcohol as a nail dehydrator. Most nail dehydrators will have a percentage of alcohol in them, so if you don’t have a nail dehydrator, using alcohol will have the same effect.

Here is a step by step guide on making your nail dehydrator, while we’ll also be looking at the benefits of using a nail dehydrator.

Why use a nail dehydrator?

Nail dehydrators are used to help your acrylic and gel nails adhere better to your natural nails; this also helps them last longer and keeps them in better condition. 

There are many natural oils and moisture on your natural nails, which can make your acrylic or gel nails lift a lot quicker because the smooth, shiny nail bed is hard to grip. 

Using a nail dehydrator removes most of the oil and moisture from your nails, so they have more of a matte finish, which helps your acrylic or gel nail adhere better for a longer time.

How to make your own dehydrator

If you want to make your own nail dehydrator, you will need to use acetone and Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol). These two products together will work just as well as a dehydrating product.

It is important to make sure the Isopropyl alcohol you use is very concentrated as it will have less water in it, which means there’s a chance of leaving any moisture on your nails.

With your own nail dehydrator, you’ll need to first start by applying the Isopropyl alcohol to your nail with a clean nail polish brush and wait for your nail to absorb it.

(Make sure the nail polish brush has no other products on it and that it is completely dry before applying the rubbing alcohol on to your nail.)

Once all the Isopropyl alcohol has evaporated, complete the same process with the acetone.

Wait for 2 to 3 minutes to make sure the nail has fully absorbed both the rubbing alcohol and acetone. 

You should see that your nail’s texture is changing, and it’s becoming a matte, whitewashed effect.

When your nails have finished drying, you can continue with the process of your nails.

A key tip for doing this is to make sure you don’t apply here products with things that can leave rescues on your nails, for example, cotton wool. 

If this happens, it can ruin your manicure by causing your acrylic or gel nail to be bumpy or uneven.

Benefits of using a dehydrator 

Makes your manicure last longer

As we know, using a dehydrator makes your nails adhere better to your nail bed, which means they will last longer. It also means your manicure won’t crack or break as easy as it might do without a dehydrator so that you could keep your nails on for longer in an acceptable manner.

Your nails could last about three weeks before you’ll need infills, which in turn, would save you money as you won’t need to get them done as often. 

Keeps your manicure in better quality

When you use a nail dehydrator, it tends to make your nails a lot stronger and of better quality. This means they don’t lift as much as they would without a dehydrator, and there’s less chance of them chipping. 

They also make your nail bed smoother, as it provides the first layer over your nail. This acts in the same way the first layer of nail polish would, which means the ridges on your nail will be filled, so it’s a more even surface.

Kills bacteria

Most nail dehydrators have a small percentage of Isopropyl alcohol in them, and alcohol can be used as a disinfectant. This means it will kill any harmful bacteria on your nail bed, which could prevent any infection and improve your nails’ hygiene level. 

If you make your own nail dehydrator with acetone and Isopropyl alcohol, there may be a higher amount of alcohol in it; so there’s a higher chance of killing the most bacteria.

Frequently asked questions

Do you need a nail dehydrator?

A nail dehydrator is an essential part of applying acrylic or gel nails as it prepares your natural nail to have the products on them. 

However, you can still apply acrylic or gel nails without using a nail dehydrator. Still, your nails may not be the best quality possible, and over a long amount of time, continually getting your nails done will damage your natural nails.

Is nail primer the same as nail dehydrator?

No, a nail primer is not the same as a nail dehydrator. A nail dehydrator removes excess oils and moisture from your nail bed to provide a better surface for the acrylic or gel to adhere better.

Whereas a nail primer is applied after the nail dehydrator, and its primary purpose is to bond your natural nail and the acrylic or gel. It also provides the first layer of polish, which gives the nail a more even surface.

Do you need a nail dehydrator for gel nails?

Before applying your gel nails, it is crucial to properly prepare your nails to ensure your natural nails stay healthy and last as long as possible. 

It is advised that you use a nail dehydrator with gel nails as your nails need to have as little moisture as possible for your gel nails to adhere to your nail bed.


So, if you want your nails to be the best quality possible and to last as long as they can, having the right nail dehydrator is essential.

I hope this has been useful and has helped you realize that you don’t need to spend a lot of money on big brand nail dehydrators; making your own one with the right products will make a dehydrator that works just as well.

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