Matte Gel Polish Topcoats

Matte Gel Polish vs. Matte Classic Polish

In recent months, a few of the leading gel polish providers have released new matte gel polish top coats for those who like to mix up their polish wear. Harmony Gelish offers one ($14), the OPI Gelcolor line has one ($12), and now, so does Sensationail ($10). Matte nails and matte nail art have stuck around as on-trend for a few years now, so it makes sense that the gel giants would like to tap into the market. More people are adopting gel manicures than ever, so it makes sense from a business/sales perspective.

As for me, I’m less concerned with what’s on-trend, nail-wise (or otherwise). I still wear matte nails from time to time (metallic and glittery polishes look outstanding mattified), but I haven’t invested in, and probably will not invest in, any matte gel polish topcoats.


If you’ve been reading a while, you may already know I am gel-obsessed. Rarely does regular polish touch my fingernails these days.

BUT I can get a regular polish matte topcoat atop my gel manicure and achieve the same effect. Lately, I’ve been using China Glaze Matte Magic ($5-7), but you can use your favorite RNP matte topper. Very similar wear, and it dries pretty damn swiftly, too. I also have the freedom to, should I get bored of my matte manicure, swipe it off swiftly with acetone without harming my underlying efforts. Call it two manicures in one.

If you use a matte gel polish topcoat, though, you have to wait to redo it. You may be able to slap your classic glossy gel top coat on them, but then you’re adding unnecessary, awkward bulk. I guess, alternately, you could try finishing with a matte gel polish topcoat and then topping that with Seche Vite…but I’ve never used a glossy product after a matte one. I don’t know how it behaves.

I’m not constantly wearing matte manicures, so I’ll save a few dollars a bottle and stick with the classic stuff and slap it on top my cured gel if I want to mattify it.