For an of-the-moment nail look, a matte top coat lends instant attitude. A mediocre formula can result in noticeable track marks and an oddly milky cast, but the best matte top coats leave a velvety soft finish — and they all cost less than $10. They’ll make even demure pastel pink look modern and fresh and turn traffic-stopping shades into even bolder statements.
From there it's worth considering what type of nail polish you'll be using before the matte top coat — do you prefer traditional or gel? Some special considerations come into play when you mix and match — like say, using a regular matte top coat over gel nails. Here's the breakdown of what you need to know: If you’re using a gel top coat over traditional polish, it likely won’t last as long as a full gel manicure. Similarly, if you paint over gel nails with standard polish, it may flake off because the surface is so smooth. And if you apply regular polish over gel, be sure to use non-acetone remover if you want to keep your stronger mani intact.
For a super smooth finish all over, fans on reddit and Amazon alike recommend using your go-to glossy top coat first, and then applying your matte formula on top of that for a super-smooth and velvety finish. You can also get creative with your top coat by accenting your nails with a stripe of matte along the top of the nail, down the center, or however your polished little heart desires.
Ahead, the four best matte top coats, from a hard-wearing gel to the nontoxic vegan bottle set that works just as hard as award-winning name brands.