The 8 Best Matte Nail Polishes of 2023

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Swapping a glossy polish for a matte lacquer is a quick and simple way to switch up your manicure.

<p>InStyle / Brian Kopinski</p>

InStyle / Brian Kopinski

When it comes to trying new beauty trends, painting your nails is one of the easiest, most cost-effective and low-risk options out there. And while your hands might not be steady enough to paint cool designs or intricate nail art at home, there’s actually one trend that is easy to paint yourself: Matte nails. From true matte lacquers to clear top coats, there are many ways try out matte nails on yourself.

In fact, the cool thing is that a matte topcoat can transform any shade to matte, meaning you can mix and match polishes you already own. I have to admit – I’m usually a shiny, glitter polish girl, but while testing these lacquers I really fell in love with the different look of a matte nail — it’s popular for good reason. “You can achieve some really interesting nail looks with [matte nails], like the cartoon pop art look,” says celebrity nail artist Sonya Belakhlef.

So, whether you want to revamp your nail polish collection with a few matte lacquers or are looking for one trusty top coat that will transform any polish to a matte, we found the best — check them out below.

Related:The 12 Best Top Coat Nail Polish of 2023

Essie Gel Couture Matte Top Coat

Best Overall

What We Love: It can make any nail polish matte, and it’s super long-lasting.

What We Don’t Love: Though it can give any polish a matte finish, it works best overtop other Essie Gel Couture lacquers.

Wish your favorite glossy polish was also available in a matte finish? Well, this genius top coat from Essie can instantly make any lacquer matte in just a swipe. The formula instantly takes the sheen and shine out of regular polish, leaving your nails with a cool matte effect. It has the long wearability of traditional gel polishes, but doesn’t require a UV lamp to set, so it can be used to finish off any manicure.

Though this can be used as a topper on any polish, it works best when used over other Essie Gel Couture lacquers. This isn’t a total dealbreaker (your mani will still last over a week!) but something to keep in mind if you want your nails to look pristine for longer.

Price at time of publish: $13

Size: 0.46 oz | Shades: 1 | Formula: Vegan, 8-free

Chanel Boy De Chanel Nail Color in 404 Black

Best Splurge

What We Love: It’s quick-drying and strengthens nails over time.

What We Don’t Love: There are only two shades available.

This quick-drying matte nail polish is luxury in a bottle, and, according to nail artist Miss Pop “is worth every penny.” The sleek polish design looks stunning on any vanity, but we really love the way the polish makes nails pop. It comes with a large brush that makes it easy to fully saturate nails in two swipes, tops. Plus, the formula is quick drying, so you won’t have to worry about your manicure smudging after only a few hours of wear. And, as an added bonus the formula contains panthenol, which helps strengthen nails with wear.

There’s not much we don’t love about this polish — except the shade range. The lacquer is only available in Black and Natural, and we wish there were more options available.

Price at time of publish: $30

Size: 0.4 oz | Shades: 2 | Formula: 5-free

KBShimmer Oh Matte! Matte Nail Polish Top Coat

Best Budget

What We Love: The extra large brush makes it easy to completely coat your nails in one fell swoop.

What We Don’t Love: It’s not the easiest to find — we’ve only been able to purchase it through the brand’s website and on Etsy.

You don’t need to buy countless polishes to build out a matte collection — in fact, any of the lacquers you already own can become matte for less than $10. This top coat from KBShimmer makes any polish matte without dulling the color underneath. It’s super fast drying, chip-resistant, and easy to apply thanks to the large built-in brush. Plus, the bottle is large so it lasts a long time. Our one complaint is that the polish isn’t widely available: We’ve only been able to purchase it directly from the brand’s site and on Etsy, but we do appreciate that it delivers pretty quickly.

Price at time of publish: $7

Size: 0.5 oz | Shades: 1 | Formula: 7-free, vegan, paraben-free

Zoya Matte Velvet Lacquer in Aspen

Best Matte White

What We Love: The polish has a subtle shimmer, but still has a completely matte finish.

What We Don’t Love: You’ll need to apply at least two coats to ensure an opaque, streak-free finish.

This cool matte velvet polish looks like snow on a sunny winter day. Though the finish is fully matte, there’s a hint of glitter in the lacquer, which adds just a bit of depth and makes it standout from the rest of the polishes on this list. We’re not the only fans, either. “I especially love Zoya’s matte shades,” says Miss Pop. “They’re richly pigmented and apply like a dream.”

Be sure to apply at least two coats for the most opaque finish because anything less can result in a streaky manicure. If you’re a fan of the white hue, Zoya also has a full range of matte shades including Yves, a midnight blue, and Honor, a forest green.

Price at time of publish: $12

Size: 0.5 oz | Shades: 8 | Formula: 10-free, Vegan

Related:We Tried 22 White Nail Polishes — These 10 Will Give You the Frosty Manicure of Your Dreams

Nails.INC Faux Sure Leather-Effect Nail Polish in Whatever the Leather

Best Matte Black

What We Love: This coats your nails in a cool leather-like texture.

What We Don’t Love: Because of the texture it chips a bit quicker than other options on this list.

This Nails.INC formula in Whatever The Leather is very different from the other polishes on this list. While it provides a gorgeous matte finish, it also gives nails a leather-like texture for an edgy, cool-girl vibe that we’ve never seen before. One coat is enough to fully saturate nails, and truthfully, we recommend sticking with one coat and sealing it with a top coat because when too many layers are applied this polish chips more easily.

Price at time of publish: $10

Size: 0.47 oz | Shades: 5 | Formula: 5-free, vegan, cruelty-free

Orly Nail Polish GELFX Matte Gel Topcoat

Best Matte Gel Top Coat

What We Love: This long-lasting top coat gives any gel polish a matte finish.

What We Don’t Love: It needs to cure under a UV lamp.

Though gel polish is known to have a super glossy finish, sometimes you want to switch up your manicure and still get long-lasting results. That’s where this gel top-coat comes in. The heavy duty formula gives gel nails a crisp matte sheen that lasts for up to two weeks. The one downfall is that it needs an LED lamp to cure, so if you don’t have an at-home gel kit you’ll need to bring this top coat to the salon for your next appointment.

Price at time of publish: $20

Size: 0.3 oz | Shades: 1 | Formula: 12-free, vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free

OPI Matte Top Coat

Best Matte Polish Top Coat

What We Love: This matte top coat intensifies your base color for a vibrant finish.

What We Don’t Love: The top coat has impressive staying power — so much so that it can be a bit difficult to remove.

Of all the matte top coats on this list, we found that this one intensified the polish color for the most vibrant manicure. It enhances light and dark hues alike, and provides a seriously long-lasting matte finish. One thin coat is all we needed for a perfectly matte look and our manicure stayed intact for well over a week. Though we appreciate the longevity, it does take some extra effort to remove when you’re ready to switch up your nails. We recommend using one of these effective, non-toxic nail polish removers for the most seamless removal.

Price at time of publish: $12

Size: 0.5 oz | Shades: 1 | Formula: 3-free

Related:The 15 Best Non-Toxic Nail Polish Brands of 2023 for a Healthier Mani-Pedi

Mineral Fusion Matte Top Coat

Best Non-Toxic

What We Love: The formula is made completely from naturally-derived ingredients.

What We Don’t Love: The bottle is fairly small compared to other options on this list.

We love this eco-conscious, affordable formula from Mineral Fusion. The formula is chip-resistant and really extended the life of our mani while providing a cool, matte effect. Not only is it cruelty-free and vegan, but it’s made without 16 common chemicals found in nail polishes, including parabens and formaldehyde. We do wish the bottle was a bit bigger, but it should last you a long time.

Price at time of publish: $10

Size: 0.33 oz | Shades: 1 | Formula: 16-free, vegan, cruelty-free

What to Keep in Mind


To get a manicure with a matte finish, you’ll need to either use a matte nail polish or finish with a matte top coat. True matte polishes, like Nails.INC Faux Sure Leather-Effect Nail Polish, Zoya Matte Velvet Lacquer, and CHANEL Boy de Chanel Nail Color, won’t require a matte top coat because the formula itself already has the crisp finish. When using any of these lacquers, apply at least two coats for the smoothest finish.

On the other hand, matte top coats can be layered over any polish (even glossy and shimmery lacquers) to create that shine-free finish. Once your base and color layers have dried, you can lock in the manicure with a matte top coat, but be sure to give yourself ample time for it to dry. Celebrity nail stylist Gina Edwards explains that matte finish formulas take a bit longer to dry. While it may look dry, she recommends giving it a full 15 minutes to ensure you don’t smudge your manicure.


Nail polish formulations have come a long way over the years, and now more brands are more conscious of what is actually in (and more importantly, not in) their nail polish. The standard is five-free formulations (which don’t contain dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin or camphor), but some brands go a bit further and are seven-, eight-, 10-, or even 16-free, like Mineral Fusion Matte Top Coat 

Your Questions, Answered

How do you make nail polish matte?

You can use a matte top coat to make any traditional polish color have a matte finish. Some polishes are matte on their own, but matte top coats are more universal and can broaden the amount of nail looks you can create.

Does matte nail polish last longer?

No. According to Edwards, matte polish typically doesn’t last as long as glossy and shimmering lacquers. “Typically matte colors wear at the edges a little faster than traditional gloss coat polishes,” she says. A pro tip to make your matte nails last longer? “Apply a glossy top coat first to help with wear and create a perfectly smooth layer before adding a matte top coat,” says Miss Pop.

What shades look best matte?

You can make any shade matte, and it’s really up to personal preference to pick your favorite. But, according to our experts, there are a few shades that look especially gorgeous when matte. “Matte polishes give a cool, casual nail look — I love a navy or black hue best in matte finish,” says Edwards. Belakhlef agrees that darker colors (like deep purple and dark red) look beautiful matte and give your overall manicure an edge.

Can you use matte top coat on bare nails?

Yes! “I love to put a matte top coat on a bare nail to make it look freshly buffed and bring out the blush tones in the nail bed,” says Miss Pop.

Why Shop With Us

Dory Zayas is a freelance beauty, fashion, and parenting writer with over a decade of experience in the beauty industry. She’s written for Well+Good, Glamour, Forbes, and, among others. For this story she used her extensive knowledge of beauty and personally tested nearly every matte nail polish on the market. She also interviewed nail experts and celebrity manicurists for this piece: celebrity nail artist Sonya Belakhlef, celebrity nail stylist Gina Edwards, and nail artist Miss Pop.

Related:The Best Long-Lasting Nail Polishes for a Chip-Free At-Home Manicure

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