Matte polish is one of my loves. I may not get the textured thing, but matte - yes please! Mishka with Accio Lacquer is far better at showing the matte love.
Now, you can buy straight up matte polishes. I have some of those, and I do love them. But you can also buy matte top coats. Of which there are now several on the market. So I'm here to break them down.
My only order is by cost per 1 mL, highest to lowest. Simply because I need SOME way to start. I'll provide links if I have any. I'm also figuring out the total for 15 mL, since that's a fairly general standard size. I've got 9 options, so they'll be ranked 1-9.
Julep Matte - $14.00 for 8 mL - $1.75 per mL, $26.25 for 15 mL
Total waste of money in my book.
It's insanely expensive, and I'm not going to become a Julep Maven because I'm too picky about the colors I like, and all the boxes I've seen have at least one color that is awful.
It actually DOESN'T do matte finish well, or my bottle doesn't. It goes to a rubbery satin finish more than matte.
It burnishes like mad, you rub the finish at all and it goes to gloss.
It's very streaky.
I can't think of ANYTHING I like about this polish. It's dead last in the running, flat out. It's over priced and doesn't perform. It's 9th and would be lower if I had more places.
ManGlaze MatteAstrophe - $13.13 for 11 mL - $1.19 per mL, $17.85 for 15 mL.
It's ok, but it does work far better over other ManGlaze polishes than over other brands.
It does tend to work fairly nicely over wet/damp indies, apply similar to how you apply Seche Vite, if you want full matte. If you want matte with glossy crackles, apply it to dry glossy polish.
It does go very matte, it's harder to see over other ManGlaze polishes which have some shimmer, but over a basic black creme, it does matte nicely.
This does burnish some, not too bad.
I do like it, but if you don't have other ManGlaze polishes, it's probably not worth the bother. Other matte topper work better and are cheaper. I can't say I'll buy it again since I don't like the crackle look and I have others I like better for matte. But it's 7th in line.
Butter London Matte - $19.00 for 17.5 mL - $1.09 per mL, $16.35 for 15 mL
I've only used this a few times from a friend. Mishka at Accio Lacquer uses it a good deal.
It mattes nicely, doesn't look streaky, works well.
It did burnish slightly at the tips when I tried it.
It does dry slightly hard, so it can crack sometimes. I've found this to be less likely if it's applied over a fully dry fast dry glossy top coat.
Overall, I like this, it works nicely, it's got the nice Butter London formula - but it is on the higher end of the price, so it's only coming in at 4th place. It's honestly one of the best, if not the best matte top coat - but it's just painfully expensive.
Out The Door with Wonder Beauty Product ZAP powder - $10.00 for 15 mL - $0.67 per mL
Yup, one of my favored quick dry toppers. I put in some ZAP powder, and with some fiddling, I got it to a nice, flat finish.
It is fussy to get to, I will admit that.
But I have a quick dry matte top coat, I like it. It acts like OTD normally does.
This is very high on my list, just because it's so easy to use in my world. I put it at $10, OTD being $5 and ZAP being $5 for 2 tablespoons - but I used 1/4 teaspoon to get OTD matte as I like it, so it's really a good deal less, about $0.21 of product. But if you don't already have ZAP, you do have to buy it. So I'll be fair and use the $10. Since it's not premade and you do have to fiddle with it, I don't rank this first, but it's close. It's my second runner up.
Essie Matte - $10.00 for 15 mL, $0.67 per mL.
Absolute junk on my nails. Essie never seems to flow well for me, so I don't know why I bothered buying this.
But it does matte pretty well, it doesn't go the the really flat matte that I like.
It burnishes pretty heavily, and is prone to streaking.
It also is really crackly for me, more so than the ManGlaze which advertises as being a potential for crackle.
It's not dead last on my list because it's not worse than Julep, but it's not one I recommend or will ever buy again. 8th place.
Nail Pattern Boldness Glitter Food - $8.00 for 15 mL, $0.53 per mL
Yes, I'm including my beloved Glitter Food.
No, it's not a true matte. It's more a satin/eggshell finish. If you like the rubber texture that some lines put out, this works very well at that. This is actually more matte than Julep's really awful attempt.
If you put ZAP in, I suspect it'll go to a full matte. I haven't bothered because I have other matte toppers I like, and I love this as the rubbery texture.
It doesn't burnish at all, yay!
It's not streaky!
It is slightly thick, as it should be for the starving glitters.
For fun of a satin or rubbery finish, I love this. I adore this. It's coming in 3rd, even if it's not a true matte.
Hard Candy Mattely In Love - $4.00 for 10.3 mL - $0.39 per mL, $5.85 for 15 mL.
Meh. This is ok, it's not great, it's not awful.
It mattes nicely and it's not streaky.
It does burnish some.
It dries very hard and is very prone to cracking after 24 hours of wear.
This is ok, nothing more, nothing less. Before other lines put out their mattes, this was a better one. This is getting harder to find in stores, at least as far as I've found. I'm not sure if Hard Candy is pulling this product or not. It's a solid 5th place.
Revlon Matte - $4.99 for 14.7 mL - $0.34 per mL, $5.10 for 15 mL.
This stuff is weirdly runny and just don't work nicely.
It does go to full matte.
But it's streaky, it cracks and it burnishes. It's ok over other Revlon products, but not over other lines.
This sucker comes in 6th. It's just not that great, nor is it worth the money. Same issue with ManGlaze, if you own a lot of the line, it's fine.
And our FINAL matte top coat......... Who is also my personal favorite recommendation........
N.Y.C Matte Me Crazy - $1.99 for 9.3 mL - $0.21 per mL, $3.15 for 15 mL.
Yup, this one is my recommendation!
Very simple. It works. It mattes down perfectly. It doesn't show streaks. It applies nicely. It doesn't crack.
It's only flaw is burnishing, but every matte I tried has burnished. This does burnish a bit more than Butter London - but I can get 18.6 mL of NYC for $3.94. I can put up with the burnishing for the cost savings.
So there's my vote on the better matte top coats out there. NYC Matte Me Crazy wins, if you want to make your own, go the OTD route because that is a bit nicer. If you want a true matte to buy, NYC Matte Me Crazy or Butter London are the way to go.
There are more matte top coats out there, but this is what I have or have tried. Others may be better or worse.
* disclaimer - all polishes reviewed have been purchased by me for my use or borrowed from friends who purchased the product. This is my opinion and experiences only. *