9 Best Matte Top Coats for Any Nail Polish (2018)

matte top coat

A matte top coat lets you put unexpected twist on the look of your nail polish and it’s an effect that can be utilized for all sorts of interesting nail art designs. Check out this matte nail polish art compilation on Ink Your Nail for a little inspiration.

It’s great for a change of pace, to highlight nail art, or if you’re looking for a slightly more downplayed look. I find that matte looks particularly good over black, red, bright yellow, soft pinks, and nudes.

Matte tips and tricks.

Generally, you can apply your matte coat directly on top of your dry nail color. However, if you’re having trouble with transfer (polish being picked up on the brush) you can avoid all of this by applying a quick-dry top coat before adding your matte. My go-to is still Seche Vite.

If you’re playing with nail art or nail stamping, most matte polishes can smear your artwork so you’ll definitely want to apply a quick dry top coat first to protect your nail art from streaking.

Sometimes when matte formulas are really old, the dissolved silica can clump together and you end up with white flakes on your nails when it’s dry. So if you’re getting white specks, it’s time to toss that bottle.

Because matte dries unevenly to form its dimpled surface, it can feel dry before it really is. When your matte manicure feels dry, give it another five minutes just to be safe.

Not all matte top coats are made equally so if you’ve tried one that ended up looking streaky or not matte at all, then you need to pick up a new brand. Also, since the trend has been out for almost 10 years now, companies have had time to perfect their formula so you may have tried a few brands years ago that were atrocious but they’ve since gotten it right.

Let’s get down to the best matte top coats around today.

What Are the Best Matte Top Coats?

Lechat matte top coat bottle with black cap Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Suede finish
  • Durable for a matte
  • Easy open cap
Price: $10.89 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
bottle of cirque matte nail polish with dark shadow, cirque colors, cirque matte top coat Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Durable for a matte
  • Velvet finish
  • Made in America
Price: $12.50 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
ooooooo Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Quick drying
  • Brushed metal finish
  • Thick brush
Price: $10.50 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Silver China Glaze polish bottle and black cap, China Glaze, Magic Matte top coat Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Super matte
  • Great formula
  • Two free
Price: $8.89 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
ooooo Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Super matte
  • Possible crackle effect
  • Supports indie brand
Price: $13.13 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Tan glass Morgan & Taylor polish bottle with black cap, Morgan & Taylor, Mattes a Wrap Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Suede finish
  • Great brush
  • Easy to apply
Price: $9.05 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Frosted rectangular bottle of JINsoon matte top coat, JINsoon Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Frosted finish
  • Five free
  • Made in America
Price: $18.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
oooooo Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Satin finish
  • PETA certified
  • Made in America
Price: $11.39 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
White bottle of Orly matte top coat with fuchsia cap, ORLY, matte top coat Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Affordable
  • Satin finish
  • Easy-open cap
Price: $8.84 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. LeChat Dare to Wear Matte Top Coat

    Pros:
    • Soft touchable look
    • Trusted brand
    • Long-lasting
    • Easy to open bottle
    Cons:
    • Costs more than others
    • With lighten the color of polish
    • Cloudy formula

    For a soft, suede matte try out this top coat by LeChat. This is a brand that I’ve featured several times in my gel nail polish articles, but they also have some great products in their regular nail polish line.

    This isn’t a drastic chalkboard look, but more of a velvet. As you can tell by the near opaqueness of the top coat, this is one that will lighten the color of your polish a shade once it’s dry.

  2. Cirque Colors Matte Look Top Coat

    Pros:
    • Soft velvet look
    • Made in America
    • Long-lasting for a matte
    • Cruelty-free
    • Doesn’t contain DBP, formaldehyde, or toluene
    Cons:
    • The tiniest bit shinier than some mattes
    • Best if applied to very dry polish
    • Bottle smaller than average

    This matte finish by Cirque goes on clear but still creates a velvet finish. I find this one to have a very soft looking effect that’s chic and upscale.

    For matte, it has a long life to it. You can get a couple of days out of this without chipping and if you’ve worked with matte before, you know that is no small feat.

    I like that as an indie brand so you’re supporting an American small business and all of Cirque’s lacquers are made in New York. Matte Look Top Coat is vegan and free of four of the more toxic ingredients normally found in nail polish.

  3. OPI Matte Finsh Top Coat

    Pros:
    • Soft, brushed metal finish
    • Dries quickly
    • Great brush
    • Trusted brand
    Cons:
    • Best over a layer of top coat
    • Formula is thin for some
    • Will smear nail stamping

    This top coat from OPI will mattify anything you can throw at it. It’s a thin, slightly cloudy formula that’s easy to spread and won’t flood your cuticles. If you prefer thicker formulas, this may seem a little watery to you.

    You get that wide, full OPI application brush making it easy to get full coverage fast and with fewer passes so you can avoid brushstrokes. It’s not a quick dry top coat but it does dry fairly quickly.

    I will say that this top coat does have a tendency to transfer the nail color onto your top coat brush so if you’re having this issue, you’ll want to do a layer of quick dry top coat before adding the matte.

  4. China Glaze Matte Magic Top Coat

    Pros:
    • Slate or satin finish
    • Not streaky
    • DBP and toluene free
    Cons:
    • Discontinued
    • Smaller bottle
    • Cloudier than others which can be good or bad

    This was one of the favorites for a long time because of its ability to create a slate, chalked-out look. Unfortunately, it’s been discontinued–but you can still get your hands on it for the time being.

    The supply is finite so this isn’t something you can rely on being able to try in a few years. The formula is a little thicker but goes on nicely. It dries quickly and keeps your lacquer true to the color it normally is instead of a slightly lighter color which tends to happen with most mattes.

    The only issue here is you run the risk of really falling in love with this top coat and possibly not being able to find it in the future. Just be aware that Matte Magic comes in a slightly smaller bottle than your average nail polish.

  5. ManGlaze MatteAstrophe

    Pros:
    • Extremely matte
    • Made in America
    • Cruelty-free
    • Three free
    • Unique bottle art
    Cons:
    • Not predictable in whether it will crackle or not
    • Not for nail stamping
    • Not everyone is into the branding

    Another indie brand, ManGlaze is targeted toward men and anyone else into something more offbeat. The bottles look like street art instead of the usual, more feminine nail polish labels. Their matte toper, called MatteAstrophe, has one of the mattest finishes on the list.

    It’s a flat, chalkboard look without a speck of shine to it. This is a matte effect for when you want to stand out.

    That said, it’s a little bit of wild card because the formula reacts differently with each polish brand and even different levels of dryness. Sometimes you get an impeccably smooth matte finish and sometimes you can get a matte crackle effect. It’s not entirely predictable but it is fun and looks great however it dries.

  6. Morgan & Taylor Mattes a Wrap

    Pros:
    • Touchable suede look
    • Trusted brand
    • Great formula
    Cons:
    • May pick up nail color on the brush
    • Not for nail stamping
    • Bottle can be hard to open

    Mattes a Wrap both has a clever name and a great mattifying formula. The finish on this one is a soft, suede or velvet look. It looks super touchable and elevates any color you apply it to.

    The consistency of the formula is great though it does tend to transfer so you’ll likely want to put a quick dry top coat over nail art before applying this. It dries quickly and has a decent lasting time for a matte.

  7. JINsoon Matte Maker Top Coat

    Pros:
    • Frosted glass effect
    • Cruelty-free
    • Five free
    • Made in America
    • Great formula
    Cons:
    • Not as matte as others
    • Luxury price tag
    • Bottle smaller than average

    For a runway inspired look, this JINsoon Matte Maker creates a dull satin sheen. Not as matte as some of the others, the Matte Maker has more of a frosted glass look to it so it keeps some shine while still being mostly matte.

    The formula is a perfect medium of thick and thin and so easy to work with. Five free and made in America, this lacquer is a good choice for those looking for a low toxin nail polish.

  8. Ella+Mila Matte-ly in Love

    Pros:
    • Soft satin finish
    • Made in America
    • 7 free and cruelty-free
    • No brushstrokes
    Cons:
    • Chips an average amount for matte
    • Pricier
    • Brush isn't that good

    If you’re looking for a quality matte that’s also vegan and low toxin, Ella+Mila may be your brand. Mattel-ly in Love is seven free as well as cruelty-free.

    The formula is slightly thicker for better control without becoming too thick. It delivers a brushed velvet finish without having to struggle against brushstrokes. It’s not the longest lasting on the list, but it is one of the safest.

  9. Orly Matte Effect Top Coat

    Pros:
    • Flat, satin finish
    • Dries quickly
    • Affordable
    Cons:
    • Chips faster than others
    • Not as matte as others
    • Can pick up color when applied

    Orly is an example of a brand that originally got into the matte game when the trend came on the scene, but their product wasn’t that great. It was streaky and not all that matte.

    Now, years later, their new formula has really stepped it up. Their most recent matte topper creates a very smooth, streak-free matte finish. It’s not all the way to chalkboard matte, but it gets pretty close.

    Plus, it dries quickly, which I always appreciate. This top coat isn’t as durable as some others but it’s a great deal for the price.

Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.

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