If you are a manicure fanatic, chances are you already own a matte nail polish or two, not to mention a matte top coat! If you’re just starting to dip your toes into the nail polish world, you definitely need to get matte nail colors on your radar since they are always in style and they can create incredibly sophisticated manicures. Take note from the fashion world, and embrace the awesome potential of matte nails!
To get you started on your journey to elegant matte nails, we’ve collected the very best matte top coats and matte nail colors. To help you choose the right option, this article also includes a thorough explanation of how matte top coats and polishes work, and how the two options for matte nails differ from each other.
In this article:
Our Picks of the Best Matte Nail Polishes & Matte Top Coats
Whether you are looking for the perfect matte top coat to mattify the nail colors you already own or just are on the hunt for the best matte nail polish color, here we have the most winning options on the beauty market for you.
1. Chanel Le Vernis Velvet Nail Colour in Profondeur
This deep wine tone is perfect as a matte nail polish. It is extremely easy to apply because of the large applicator brush, and it becomes opaque in two easy coats. The formula features some lovely nail-fortifying ingredients like vitamins and ceramides, and does not include any harmful chemicals. You can buy it directly from Chanel.
2. Zoya Nail Polish Matte Velvet in Iris
This dark purple shade is to die for. It is elegant and rich, with a smooth matte finish. A close look at the polish reveals a subtle pearl fleck that adds a hint of glimmer. It is as fuss-free as matte nail polish gets, with a long-lasting formula that does not require any base coats or top coats. Order it online through Amazon!
3. Golden Rose Matte Nail Lacquer
This deep purple shade is a joyful take on matte nail colors that are perfect for summer. The formula requires two easy coats for opaque coverage. The brand admits that this formula doesn’t have quite as much longevity as their typical nail polish. It is available online through Amazon.
4. Base Coat Matte Top Coat
This vegan, eight-free matte top coat comes in one of the coolest containers we’ve seen, so if you’re a fan of sleek-looking bottles definitely give this one a shot. It’ll quickly mattify any nail polish and even increase its wear-time. Find a bottle at Nordstrom!
5. OPI Matte Top Coat
OPI is the biggest name in nail polishes, so of course they’ve released one of the best matte top coats on the market. It’ll easily double your nail polish collection by turning all shades matte, and is a natural choice if you’re already an OPI fanatic. Like all OPI products, it is free of the 5 main harmful chemicals that sometimes show up in nail products. Pick it up at Ulta Beauty!
6. Dolce & Gabbana Beauty Matte Nail Coat
Painting this matte top coat over your nails will get you feeling instantly glamorous in a way only luxury products can. It’s a matte top coat that gives a flawless velvet finish to any nail color quickly, while also slightly extending your polish’s longevity. You can get it from Harrods.
7. Essie Matte About You Matte Finisher
The other big name in the polish game is Essie, the brand that created one of the first matte top coats we’re all obsessing over. If you’re already an Essie nail polish fan, it makes sense to pick up their matte top coat to go with all of their other polishes. It’s a 3-free formula that is available at Ulta Beauty.
8. Jessica Custom Nail Colour in Matte Black
When we think of the various nail polish shades to mattify, black comes to mind as a clear choice. There is something dark and magnetic about matte nail polish in black – it is an edgy way of doing black nail polish that is also totally mature. This excellent matte black from Jessica has a 7-free formula that is enriched with nail-strengthening vitamins. Order it online via Amazon!
9. Sally Hansen Big Matte Top Coat
Enjoy perfect matte nail colors with just an easy swipe! The trick to getting this matte top coat to work is to use a very thin coat, which is easy to do since the brush is large and smooth. It is not the most elegant of bottles, but the price more than justifies it. It can be purchased from Amazon.
10. Revlon Transforming Effects Top Coat in Matte Pearl Glaze
This is a totally unique take on matte top coats from Revlon. This top coat doesn’t just mattify your nail polish, but also it gives it a pearlescent finish. This subtle shine courtesy of little flecks doesn’t take away from the matte effect, but instead it seems to amplify it, making for a rare manicure. The formula is five-free to boot. Order it online from Amazon!
11. Lauren B. Beauty Nail Perfecter
Like a CC cream for your nails, this base coat gives natural nails a flawless matte finish that also fills in ridges and conceals imperfections. While this product will not mattify other nail polishes, it is a great way to enjoy the matte trend without fuss and with your natural nails. Find a bottle at SkinCareRX!
12. SpaRitual Luminary Matte Top Effect
This is another option if your love for matte top coats knows no bounds. This unique product mattifies the nails while also giving an iridescent purple shimmer that is hard to resist. Like all SpaRitual polishes, it is vegan and 3-free, and comes in a bottle with a super comfy ergonomic grip, for the manicure addicts. Buy a bottle from SkinStore!
13. LondonTown Kur Protective Matte Top Coat
This is a vegan, five-free matte top coat that will totally transform your manicure from high-shine to flawlessly matte. It is a surprisingly long-lasting formula that can work with both matte and shiny nail polishes, and comes in a super sleek bottle. Get it at Amazon!
14. JINsoon Matte Maker Nail Polish
Get yourself a cruelty-free matte top coat made in the US! It works like a charm to mattify nail polishes, and has one of the longest-wearing formulas around. The clear, black-lidded bottle will look extremely elegant sitting in your polish drawer. This matte top coat is available at Walmart.
15. Cirque Colors Matte Look Top Coat
Velvety nails, sleek bottle, five-free formula: what else could you want? This is one of the loveliest matte top coats, with a long-lasting formula and an easy-to-use design. You can order it from Revolve.
Matte Top Coat vs. Matte Nail Polish
A matte top coat is a clear nail polish formula that is intended to go over any sort of nail polish, to give it a matte finish. Nail polish is normally shiny because it has a very flat surface that is able to reflect light. The way matte top coat works is by disrupting that flat surface with a texture that is uneven on a microscopic level.
The matte top coat sends light in every direction, diffusing the light so when one looks at the nails straight on, they appear totally matte. The secret ingredient to commercial matte top coats is silica gel, which acts as the microscopic texturizer that makes the surface of the nails uneven.
Matte nail polish, on the other hand, is matte straight out of the bottle, and no top coat is needed. It follows that since matte top coat is a clear nail polish loaded up with silica, then colored matte nail polish must also be a regular polish formula with silica.
These days consumers have realized that it’s much easier to own just one matte top coat that will transform all of their nail polishes than it is to own both matte and shiny versions of the same nail polish.
Photos via @id_nails_space, Nordstrom