We’re not sure if you’ve heard, but matte products are kind of big right now. And by “kind of big,” we mean “Starbucks ubiquitous,” which is just about as ubiquitous as something can get. So while we’ve already covered how to wear the trend for fall and replicate the most perfect matte lip, the next frontier can only be nails. Luckily, there are choices aplenty. Brands from the drugstore and Dolce & Gabbana alike are getting in on the action, probably because it’s an easy way to do the trend (and the possibilities are endless).
We’ve got one use especially in mind, though. While the decline of nail art’s been treated like the fall of the Roman Empire, we’re not quite ready to scatter its ashes completely. We spend most of the day at our desks and staring at our iPhones, and as attractive as the Apple keyboards are, there’s just something about nail art that spices up the view. Then again, we’re not about clinging to trends past their expiration date. Retro is one thing, but the recent past another entirely. The perfect balance? Updating and subverting nail art like the chunky glitter that was big last year with a matte top coat that throws everyone for a loop. Trendy with a twist, all in favor, say “aye.” Here, a rundown of the best matte top coats on the market.
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We love a good glitter nail polish, but sometimes all you need is a matte top coat.
Image via Adventures in Acetone
Adventures in Acetone/Adventures in Acetone
Jin Soon's matte polish is free of harsh chemicals like formaldehyde
and toluene, which is why it lasted as long as it
did—until we took it off (about two weeks). Best surprise ever, paired with Milani's Nail Fx polish in Silver.
Jin Soon Matte Maker, $18, Space NK
Image via Sephora/Image via Sephora
Image via Stock n Go/Image via Stock n Go
This is one of the more subtle takes, but applies easily and dries quickly. And as we already have to play the waiting game with the normal polish underneath, that's a big plus. We can't wait for it to meet Essie's Set In Stones.
Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Ultra-Matte Top Coat, $10, Sephora
Image via Sephora/Image via Sephora
Deborah Lippmann's well known for turning out some great polishes, and this top coat's no exception. It goes on smoothly and mattifies well, but best of all, it actually lasts (some matte topcoats weaken polishes, making them more likely to chip). Try it on top of her Cleopatra In New York polish. Black polish looks especially interesting matte.
Deborah Lippmann The Matter-Maker Top Coat, $20, Beauty Bar
Image via Beauty Bar/Image via Beauty Bar
OPI took their signature nail strengthener for a matte spin, and it does both jobs well. The strengthening benefits bare nails most, so opt for a sparse glitter that makes a big statement, like the glitter side of Revlon's Nail Art Moon Candy in Supernova.
OPI Nail Envy Natural Nail Strengthener, Matte, $16, Drugstore.com
Image via Harvey Nichols/Image via Harvey Nichols
Nails Inc.'s take isn't the most long-lasting, but the brand is all about trends--try it on top of their magnetic polishes for a cool, industrial effect.
Nails Inc. Westminster Bridge Matte Effect Top Coat, $10, Sephora
Image via Cozy Cog/Image via Cozy Cog
NYC's matte topcoat is one of the cheapest available, but with a ton of good reviews, it doesn't come at the cost of quality. Bonus: its topcoat powers protect against chips, too. We're getting good feelings from Deborah Lippmann's Happy Birthday glitter extravaganza.
New York Color Matte Me Crazy, $1.72, Walmart
Image via Walmart/Image via Walmart
Butter London's matte take probably comes in the classiest bottle, which is always an important factor. It also gives nails a velvety finish, which is definitely the best fabric a nail polish can resemble. Match with the brand's Bit Faker Nail Lacquer, a finely milled bronze glitter, and just try to tear your eyes away.
Butter London 'Matte Finish' Shine Free Topcoat, $18, Nordstrom
Image via Tintin Style/Image via Tintin Style
Dolce & Gabbana's got their matte foundation formula down pat, and we can only assume they've worked the same magic on this matte lacquer. It's pricey but goes on thick, a plus when you don't want any shine showing through. The dream team: Ciaté Paint Pots Nail Polish in Twilight.
Dolce & Gabbana The Top Lacquer Matte Nail Coat, $24, Sephora
Image via Saks Fifth Avenue/Image via Saks Fifth Avenue