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Matte polishes were a huge trend a couple of years back, and we're eager for them to return to center stage. The lack of shine feels modern and sleek, and who doesn't love a good comeback?
Lucky for us, a few brands still make matte polishes, and many give you the option to turn polishes you already have into matte finishes with a simple top coat. Whether you're seeking a top coat that will mattify a polish you already own or a brand new color that already has a no-shine finish, it's best to go with an option that suits your preferences when it comes to ingredients. And of course, you'll want a polish that has some longevity and won't chip quickly.
We've rounded up our favorites below, from bright, warm tones to deep, moody shades. Scroll down to see the best matte nail polishes on the market right now.
Best Top Coat: OPI Nail Polish Top Coat
Can't decide on a shade? Not to worry! With this matte topcoat from OPI, you can turn any polish into a matte finish. This formula is great at avoiding pesky smudges, so you can go about your day knowing your manicure will stay intact.
Runner-Up, Best Top Coat: JINsoon Matte Top Coat
This topcoat will instantly mattify even the shiniest finishes. It's also formulated without any harsh chemicals, so you're in good hands. Apply after two brushes of your base-coast, and notice how it keeps the original shade in pristine condition.
Best Gel Top Coat: OPI GelColor Top Coat
This CND top coat will give you the perfect matte finish without sacrificing your favorite gels. One thin coat should last you up to three weeks, so this bottle should last you through many matte manicures (say that five times fast).
Best Red: Zoya Nail Polish in Amal MatteVelvet
A strong red nail is a classic, and this matte, which is the perfect shade of crimson, adds a bit of necessary drama. This ultra opaque formula is long-lasting, because who doesn't want their posh red nails to last as long as possible?
Best Purple: Color Club Polish in You're My Soul-Matte
Three words: Electric. Purple. Matte. Need we say more? This shade from Color Club is the perfect addition to brighten up your day. It can be difficult these days to find matte's in a range of colors, but with shades of yellow, turquoise, and royal blue (What's The Matte-r?, Matte About You, and Been There, Done Matte, respectively) your nails will always be the topic of conversation (and compliments).
Best Cruelty-Free: ella + mila Matte-ly in Love
This top-coat will give your nail color a perfect satin/matte finish, while protecting your primary nail color from getting damaged. This matte is vegan, cruelty free, and even certified by PETA, so you can look good and feel good.
Best Color-Changing: Cirque Colors Color Changing Mood Nail Polish
This Cirque Colors speckled shade is sometimes light blue, sometimes jade green, and occasionally a mix of the two. This matte actually changes color based on your temperature, so you can sport multiple matte colors at any given time. It's a playful idea in a chic package.
What to Look For in a Matte Nail Polish
Clear vs. Color
The first decision you have to make when it comes to purchasing a matte nail polish is a simple one: clear top coat or pigmented polish? Along with being more versatile—you can use them with any color you own—clear matte top coats are also much easier to find. That being said, adding a pigmented matte polish to your collection is a smart move, particularly if you can find one in a color you wear often.
If you like your mani to last and last, gel nail polishes offer weeks of chip-free wear. But you can get longevity out of a more simple DIY manicure by choosing a high-quality polish that has some staying power and won't chip off the moment it dries. Byrdie writer Tynan Sinks offers a slew of suggestions for making even the simplest home mani last for weeks.
The last thing you want ruining the joy of a fresh mani is an itchy allergic reaction. Ingredients such as tosylamide-formaldehyde resin and formaldehyde can cause some people to experience contact dermatitis. If you have sensitive skin or simply want to be more mindful of what you put on your nails, it's worth checking out the ingredients.
Do matte nails look good?
Some people love the look of matte nails. For them, a matte nail polish or a matte top coat is an awesome choice. It's a little edgy, and very cool. And there are dozens of design options for matte nail looks, too.
Can any nail polish be matte?
Most nail polishes are high gloss and have a lot of shine factor. However, we have options above for top coats that will turn any nail polish into a matte. If you're looking to test drive the matte look, you can use a top coat over a shiny or glossy nail polish you already own to mattify it.
Does matte nail polish chip easily?
Nail polish tends to chip more when your nails are longer than when they're shorter, so that's something worth keeping in mind. You can increase the length of time your nail polish color lasts through tricks such as adding a new layer of top coat every couple of days.
How do you remove matte nail polish?
Matte nail polish is removed the same way as other nail polishes are. You can use a nail polish remover, but there are ways to remove it without one. Everything from vinegar and lemon juice to hydrogen peroxide and hot water can do the trick.