To me, matte nail polish seems like a relatively new phenomenon. I did a search to see if I could find out precisely when the product was first introduced, and I found out the first line of matte polishes actually came out in 1992! I was only 5 then!
But according to the *article I found, the trend quickly died and was not brought back until autumn of last year by OPI.
This makes sense because OPI is the first brand I remember seeing with them, and I thought the idea was interesting, but I wasn't about to spend $8.50 on one shade to try the trend out when I knew I might hate it (call me a cheapo).
More recently, though, a few brands have come out with top coats that will make the finish of any polish matte. Did you see that? Any polish. So instead of paying for a single matte shade, you can get one of these top coats and essentially double your polish collection because each one you already own now has the potential to be matte.
I've played with this in swatches a few time but not on a full manicure until now. I decided to try out China Glaze's Matte Magic over the Zombie Zest that I showed in my last post for this little experiment. I tried to paint the matte coat on only a few nails and then photograph them against nails that hadn't been covered yet, but I couldn't seem to ever get the light to evenly hit both to show the true difference, so here's what I did...
...paint one nail with both.. As you can see, the left bit has the Matte Magic, and the right does not. The source of light creating that white sheen on the right portion is actually hitting the left side equally as much, so you can see how it's responding to the light. The little flecks of yellow in the matte portion aren't actually reflected light, but rather the glitter in the polish shows up as yellow-green spots.
I think it looks extremely interesting. It creates a strange visual texture, almost looking like a rock (a bright green one, that is). I found the process of applying interesting as well. When you first apply the top coat, your polish will still appear shiny, but you can watch it go matte as the top coat dries. And it dries fast! Within a minute of applying it, it was completely dried and set - amazing if you're in a hurry.
A couple of caveats/warnings
If you go looking for this item, you should know that it is not the same size as the China Glaze polishes.
The polishes come with .5 oz whereas the top coat only has .325 oz, so don't be surprised when you find this baby bottle.
Also, I think that nice 'rock' texture that I like so much will only come up if you apply this over a polish that contains large reflects (or glitters). When I first got this home, I tried it over OPI's Sanguine, which contains a lot of micro-glitter, and all of the dimension given by that glitter vanished when the Matte Magic dried - the particles just aren't big enough to show through. So, it ended up looking like a flat, matte red wine shade - not nearly as interesting as the 'rock' look in my opinion.
So what do you think? Are you a fan of the matte look or are you sticking to ones with glossy finishes?
Let me know!
*If you'd like to see the article I referenced, click here.