28 May 2013

DIY Matte Nail Polish Review

how to make diy matte nail polish top coat, does cornstarch make your nail polish matte
DIY Matte Nail Polish: clear, mixed, after a few days of sitting on its side (left to right)

Hmm. I'm pretty torn on this one. Does it work? Yes. Does it work well? Ehh. Would I try this on polish that cost more than 99 cents? NO. Sometimes I think it's better to let either corporate or indie nail polish elves take care of things for me and this is one of them.

I did a lot of searches on Pinterest and Google for how to make your own matte top coat but couldn't find the amount of corn starch to polish. I wound up using about a teaspoon in my bottle of clear polish that I got for 99 cents at my wacky $tore. I was concerned about how it would mix/dilute because all the times I've used corn starch for paint it separates and isn't easy to break it apart once it settles.

Now, there is a colored matte polish suggestion of adding eye shadow into your clear polish along with corn starch. I don't really understand the point of that if a matte topcoat does two jobs in one. If you have broken shadow I'd use this tutorial to fix it or crush it for loose pigment. I wouldn't waste it in polish, personally, especially if you're picky about your eye shadow and spend more than 99 cents on a color.

In other words yes, you can DIY your own matte polish on the fly but don't use a whole bottle - use your mixing palette to make a one-time use-as-you-go batch or just invest in a bottle of matte top coat made by professional elves who know what they're doing...if you think it's something you'll want to use often.

My nail polish palette - just an extra plate I dab and mix upon.

The DIY matte worked well enough, but it was gloppy and I suspect it will only get worse the longer it sits [update below]. I waited a few days after mixing the formula before putting it on my nails. I used a very shiny blue (two coats) then added two coats of DIY matte nail polish...no top coat because I didn't want to sacrifice a bottle of that (and I only have shiny top coats in case that wasn't obvious).

how to make diy matte nail polish top coat, does cornstarch make your nail polish matte
Sorry the lighting is so varied but it I was aiming to catch The Shine - top left, plain. top right - one coat DIY matte clear polish, bottom left - two coats DIY matte clear polish, bottom right - nail in center topped with OPI/Sephora Matte Top Coat

When I walked into Sephora today I saw that they had restocked a few OPI by Sephora Matte Top Coat bottles and I bought one. I used the sample to put over two of the nails I'd done the night before and there was an immediate difference!

Some stuff is just worth the purchase. I love the look of matte and have heard drugstore brands are starting to make it. I'd decided to try the tutorials to DIY since I was having trouble finding it.

As my husband and I would say to each other in couple-speak: good...good, not great.

UPDATE will your DIY Matte Polish Last?

My DIY Matte Polish after a couple of weeks: completely separated
My DIY Matte Polish after a couple of weeks: completely separated

Chances are, no. Cornstarch settles into thick clumps and needs to be broken up when remixed so there is no way to shake this back into its former glory. It's totally settled to the bottom or if I turn it to the side the chunk will drift there. I'm glad I tried it on cheap polish! I still think using a plate to mix your own (enough for one use at a time) would be a great alternative, though I haven't tried it. If you go that route you could do that with any color!

I'd love to hear about your results if you decide to give it a try!


  1. I would totally do this if I had the cash, but I feel like nail polish is one of those things that's on my personal 'do not buy' list. Now keep in mind that I don't think I've ever finished a bottle of polish IN MY LIFE. Maybe if I could buy the tiniest of mini bottles. Are there nail polish samples? Is that a thing?

  2. They do actually! Mini bottles. The indie girls sell them and I've gotten little Orly around the holidays. At Marshalls/Ross and uhhh Claire's they carry them in sample color packs. I love the stuff (obv) and can't go in public with nakie toes. But I won't spend money on coffee (unless it's a special coffee date). Home-brewed & iced :)


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