DIY Matte Topcoat

DIY: Matte Top Coat

DIY Matte TopcoatI really wish I had known about this little trick YEARS ago. By now I’ve collected several matte top coats. They’re all about the same (and were all on the expensive side). NYC is the only brand I know of that sells an inexpensive matte top coat (less than $2). So if you’re looking for a matte top coat and aren’t really the DIY type definitely check out the NYC matte top coat.

Doing a DIY matte top coat is something I ended up trying because I had a regular top coat that I hated. The NYC Extra Shiny Top Coat just didn’t work for me and I had no use for it. Then I remembered a good while ago I had read somewhere (wish I had saved the article…) that adding cornstarch to nail polish will make the polish matte. This was back when OPI was releasing all their matte and suede polishes. It seemed like a great idea but I never had any nail polish I wanted to make permanently matte.

Then I started thinking about it and thought perhaps the same concept would work to make a top coat. As it turns out it does work.

Below the jump there are instructions and a list of everything you need to do this! I’d love to know if you’re going to give this a try!



DIY Matte Topcoat suppliesWhat You Need:

  1. A bottle of clear nail polish that is at least 25% empty.
  2. Cornstarch
  3. A spoon
  4. A small funnel (or a small piece of paper rolled into a makeshift funnel)

How to:

  1. Place the funnel (or piece of paper) in the neck of the nail polish bottle.
  2. Add about a teaspoon of cornstarch to the bottle of nail polish. The amount of cornstarch really doesn’t matter so it doesn’t have to be exact!
  3. Start shaking the bottle to mix the cornstarch with the clear polish. It takes ALOT of shaking.
  4. Let the polish sit for a good 24 hours before using it.
  5. Use as a normal matte top coat!
NYC Midtown Mimosa topped with my DIY matte top coat
NYC Midtown Mimosa topped with my DIY matte top coat

Letting the polish sit for a day might seem strange but I found even after shaking it to death using it immediately just left small clumps of cornstarch on my nails. Once I let the polish sit for a day this problem solved itself.

I found this matte top coat works as well as my normal matte top coat (by butter LONDON). This is a great, very inexpensive way to add a matte top coat to your collection. Especially if you have a bottle of clear polish that you have no use for!

Julep Lucy topped with DIY matte top coat
Julep Lucy topped with DIY matte top coat

36 thoughts on “DIY: Matte Top Coat

  1. Craftynail June 5, 2013 at 9:35 am

    THIS IS GREAT!!! who knew??? thanks!

    • Alli June 5, 2013 at 2:22 pm

      Hard to believe it’s that easy, right!?

  2. Carissa (@cstar_1) June 5, 2013 at 9:51 am

    I don’t use matte topcoat that often so the bottle I have has lasted a long time but I have been using topcoat I have no use for to make a holographic topcoat. I put several drops of Color Club Harp On It in a partially used bottle of topcoat and it worked perfectly. A little tip though, if you are mixing things into topcoat store the bottle on its side so when it settles its easier to mix it back up.

    • Alli June 5, 2013 at 2:25 pm

      That’s a great idea, too!

    • Katie June 5, 2013 at 4:51 pm

      Oh I think I’ll try this! Sparkles 🙂

  3. fairyjossy June 5, 2013 at 10:07 am

    This it’s really awesome I will try it. Thanks

    • Alli June 5, 2013 at 2:25 pm

      Hope it works well for you 🙂

      • fairyjossy June 8, 2013 at 9:51 am

        Alli: I did it and it works fine. From now on I don’t need to purchase matter top coat or matter polishes. I will just add the cornstarch. Thanks for posting Avery great DIY project.

        • Alli June 8, 2013 at 11:35 am

          I’m so glad it worked for you!

  4. Ayesha June 5, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Who knew this would work? Thanks so much. Will def try! I so love ur blog!!

    • Alli June 5, 2013 at 2:25 pm

      Thank you for reading!

  5. pikrodafni June 5, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    I might try it with a bottle of matte top coat I have – by Mavala – the effect is so light I’m the only one to know I applied a coat of matte top coat! Thank you for the tip. 🙂

    • Alli June 5, 2013 at 2:22 pm

      That’s a good idea. This is definitely very adjustable. The more cornstarch you use, the matter the finish is.

      • Katie June 5, 2013 at 4:51 pm

        What’s the matter with a madder matter?

        Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh 🙂

  6. Miss Education June 8, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Have you tried mattifying polish? I bought a blue revlon polish that I thought would look baller matte, and it does, but it would be cool to make it a matte polish.

    PS, Hard Candy makes a great matte top coat. It’s $5, and it’s more matte than the Butter matte top coat… I’m not sure what other matte coat to compare it to — maybe Essie’s? Anyway, it’s super matte, so if anyone is looking for an inexpensive matte coat, that’s another option!

    • Alli June 8, 2013 at 2:30 pm

      I have no tried this with a regular polish but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. If you try it make sure and let me know how it goes!

  7. Nikell September 9, 2013 at 1:54 am

    Do you think this would work with baby powder or flour?

    • Alli September 9, 2013 at 9:44 am

      I don’t think flour would work. Alot of baby powders are made from cornstarch so that would probably work. Baking soda also works.

  8. Solomon December 22, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Im thinking about trying this with a completely different product. I just made a DIY Hair styling wax but what to negate some of its shine. Anyone try anything similar with success or outright failure?

  9. Ego February 10, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Oh, what an interesting idea. I would have never thought of that. And I’m pretty sure I’ll test it – though I do have “matte” topcoats, but they’re rather ‘satiny’ (or something like that) just like your topcoat. Nothing wrong with that, but I simply prefer matte over satiny finish, so I will try to make my ‘satin coats’ matte with your trick. Thanks for inspiration!

    • Alli February 11, 2014 at 10:30 am

      Hope it works for you! *fingers crossed*

      • Ego February 11, 2014 at 11:16 am

        Thanks, I’ll let you know how it came out.

  10. Seray March 16, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Hi, i made this a couple of days ago, and it worked wonderfully. But i noticed that the corn starch seemed to settle down at the bottom of the bottle and no matter how much i shake it it stays put, i was wondering if you experienced this as well? Thank you. ^^

    • Alli March 16, 2014 at 11:55 am

      The corn starch does settle but if should be fine once you shake it. Does your bottle have a metal ball in it? That is key!

  11. Rare May 14, 2014 at 11:17 am

    I tried it out. It did not work. There are clumps of cornstarch still stuck in there. I did follow all the tips you mentioned. I did shake it like for about one and half hour as I was working that my hands started to hurt. 🙂

    • Alli May 14, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      Did you use a bottle with metal balls in it? Those are key!

      • Rare May 15, 2014 at 11:27 am

        Oh I see. The bottle does not have metal balls but I do have some spare metal balls from my old bottles. I will try it out and thanks for getting back to me. 🙂

      • Rare May 15, 2014 at 11:30 am

        No, I don’t have metal balls. Do you have any other alternative? 🙁

        • Alli May 15, 2014 at 6:12 pm

          Hmm, I don’t know. There needs to be something in the bottle to break up the corn starch.

        • Rare May 17, 2014 at 4:03 am


        • Julie September 15, 2014 at 3:09 pm

          BB’s are inexpensive and would work great for using in bottles with no metal balls. Just ask for them in the sports section of somewhere like walmart .

  12. Anonymous June 8, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    Just tried this! Works awesome!!!!

  13. myweirdandawesomeviews October 14, 2015 at 1:41 am

    Gotta try this!

What do you think?