Fall 2009 Matte Nails: Top Coats Put to the Test

by Bionic Beauty on 21.Nov.2009 · 3 comments

Fall’s big manicure trend is matte nail polish. And it seems like new matte polishes and top coats are being released every few days. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but there are a ton of options for gals looking to try this trend. And it can all be more than a bit overwhelming.

To take some of the guesswork out of your wealth of options, I tested a variety of top coats and reviewed them in true Bionic Beauty fashion.

Matte Nail Polish top coat swatches and comparisons

Bionic Beauty compares the popular brands of matte polish top coats.

All the top coats are shown over Rescue Beauty Lounge nail polish in Mismas (from the new “Blogger” collection – a medium purple cream).

Five fingers, 5 different top coats…

  • Rescue Beauty Lounge “Matte Top Coat” – This top coat is the best I’ve tried. It provides a true matte finish that is exceptionally long lasting.

I know this brand is very pricey and I never thought I would spend $18 on a nail polish, but they are worth saving up for a few special colors (or put a few on your wish list for the holidays!). Their nail polish lasts without peeling or chipping. Typically I can’t get through 24 hours without chips and peeling, but with RBL that doesn’t happen. Their colors are super pigmented – the purple Mismas polish I’m wearing is only ONE coat! I usually do three coats with most brands. So I’m using a third less polish.
Anyhow, the RBL matte finisher is my favorite of this bunch. It’s long lasting, protects the polish underneath, and you can lightly buff any lotion or oils off (use a soft shirt or towel) to get your matte finish back. It applies smoothly- no ridges, clumping or bubbling. $18 at RescueBeauty.com.

  • Essie’s “Matte About You” top coat – This is my second favorite mattifier. It also provides a true matte finish, goes on smooth without ridges and without drawing a ton of attention to any polish mistakes you may have made. Contains no formaldehyde, no toluene and no DBP. Available at Essie.com, SkincareRx.com for $10Essie Matte About You nail polish finisher, or check your local Trade Secret or spa/salon.
  • Orly “Nails for Males” – Orly’s top coat is what I consider semi-matte.  It provides a very forgiving application since you still have some gloss, hence it doesn’t highlight mistakes in the nail polish underneath. This is a great way to try the trend if you aren’t ready for the full matte effect of essie, RBL, or China Glaze. It was originally developed for men, as the name suggests, to wear over bare nails, but it works just as good on women over colored polish! $6.99 at Sally Beauty SupplyOrly Nails for Males matte polish top coat or check your local CVS (that’s where I bought mine).
  • CND “Super Matte” – This top coat is truly baffling to me. Prices range from $7 to $20 online and it’s quality is not up to typical CND’s standards. It certainly isn’t matte, it’s more of a semi-gloss, plus it makes the polish color underneath look milky and foggy. I had tip wear within hours and it highlighted every little ridge and imperfection in my polish application. My least favorite of the bunch.
  • China Glaze “Matte Magic” – I had high hopes for CG’s Matte Magic. It comes in a mini-sized bottle and is pretty cheap- $6.50 at your local Sally Beauty Supply. It provides a true matte finish, but was pretty unforgiving in application. If you look closely at my thumb in the picture above, you’ll see that the finish coat streaked a bit. However, it did have good lasting power. It’s very similar to Essie’s Matte About You except in a smaller bottle, smaller price and a bit lower on the “quality” scale. It’s a great option to see if you’d like full matte nails, or if you can’t find any of the others locally.

I truly wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy the matte nail trend, but I am truly LOVING it! It’s fresh, a bit indie, and works over so many nail colors. I’d rather get the top coats than matte polish colors, because it allows me to mattify any of my existing polish colors (of which I have an embarrassing amount).

Stay tuned because on Tuesday I’ll give you some top-secret extra-special tips to embracing the matte nail trend!

Have you worn matte nail polish? What do you think of the trend?

{ 1 comment }

1 Bionic Bronnie November 22, 2009 at 11:37 am

I’m really frustrated trying to find a topcoat that doesn’t peel or chip. I had terrible luck with Essie, it peeled the entire nail bare in the shower, in fact I think 6 finger’s worth of a 24 hr. old mani peeled all the way off…

Lancome..didn’t impress Me

Barielle Nail Rebuilding system is my new favoritve for healing and preventing chipping.

I am currently testing Lippmann polish and am happier with it than almost any other. (Still testing!)

I am struggling to find a clear top coat that doesn’t ruin the mainure….

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