nailed it

The World’s Easiest Way to Make Your Nail Polish Look Cooler Right This Instant

Four matte blue nails. Photo: Megan Cencula/WWD/REX/Shutterstock

Nail art is nice and all, unless you’re the one doing it to yourself. It takes a lot of effort, and most of that is expended on painting your nondominant hand, then emotionally processing the reminder that you have, once again, failed to be ambidextrous.

The good news is the trend gods have blessed us with an extremely low-effort way to make your nails look more interesting, and it comes in the form of a matte top coat. Any nail polish shade you coat with it, even if it’s been deemed no longer in style for whatever reason, will look new and updated and fresh for spring. All you have to do is swap your top coat for a matte top coat. If you don’t use a top coat, then this is the perfect time to get one that happens to be matte.

You might think a matte top coat will just flatten everything out, but you’d be wrong! “A matte top coat makes everything really pop because it really saturates the color,” nail artist Holly Falcone, who created the four matte nail looks at Maryam Nassir Zadeh last month, told The Cut. “Texture is really big right now and a matte finish creates a cool one, especially when layered over silvers and metallic.”

A matte top coat even makes that classic red nail you can’t and never will quit look better. “A matte finish makes a regular red nail look a little stronger and really durable,” Falcone adds. If your hands are still very dry despite the calendar saying its technically spring now, and your nails are still breaking left and right, it’s an easy way to make your manicure feel less fragile.

Celebrity manicurist Jin Soon Choi is on a similar wavelength about texture and this transformative final step. “The matte top coat — this is key right now,” she told the Cut. “Matte really changes the look of nail polishes by giving them a satin finish that is very smooth. It looks very luxurious, and makes your colors turn into a velvet finish.”

Matte nails also make an excellent base for any sparkly or shiny doo-dads you wanna glue onto your nails should you take the nail art route, as evidenced above. The non-glossy finish amps up the contrast between the solid polish backdrop and whatever else you choose to layer on.

But no need to get ahead of ourselves — all you really need is one clear coat to take credit for creating a completely new look.

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How to Make Your Nails Look Cooler Right This Instant