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Nothing says statement nail like a super matte, super black nail this fall and winter. Black nails are not just for Halloween, but are perfect all season long. Black works well no matter the shape or length—short, medium, or long; round, square, stiletto, coffin, squoval—it doesn’t matter. We’ve got tips to get your best matte black manicure every time.

Sometimes, we all just throw some polish on our nails and go. But with statement nails you want to be sure to have a clean nail bed by removing any polish remnants, since these will be nails that get noticed. You’ll also want to use a base coat, such as Orly Bonder, not only for staying power, but to protect your nails from staining.

In addition to removing all prior nail polish, be sure to soften cuticles and push back, using a cuticle softener and orange wood stick. If applying cuticle oil and moisturizer, swipe nails with acetone again before applying the base coat. This ensures a longer-lasting manicure because all oils will be removed from your nails. Oils from cuticle conditioners and moisturizers can cause polish to chip more easily.

Click here for our guide on doing a DIY manicure. 

There are two ways to get a matte black mani: buy a matte black nail polish or buy a matte top coat for crème nail polish. Matte black polish is a bit hard to find, but by scouring the internet, you can find some indie brands with good options, such as For Whom The Bell Tolls by Honey Bunny Lacquer or Black Mist from Born Pretty’s matte collection (they also have a matte top coat).

If you are going the more commercial route, crème black nail polish is mostly what you’ll find, though occasionally brands create matte collections. Of course, OPI Black Onyx (available in Infinite Shine as well) is a classic, but not only does OPI have other shades of black, other brands have some great blacks as well. Check out Essie Licorice or China Glaze Liquid Leather.

Whether using a matte or crème nail polish, you’ll want to be sure to use a matte top coat to either keep or create that no-shine look. OPI offers a popular matte top coat, and but you can also try Sally Hansen Big Matte Topcoat Treatment or Essie Matte About You Topcoat Finisher. With these top coats, you want to be sure your nail polish is fairly dry before applying, but don’t worry—the top coats will dry quickly. The best thing about a matte top coat is that you can use it for other polishes, too, and feel like you’ve expanded your collection.

Not sure an all matte black mani is for you? You can try a crème tip with a matte bottom or keep one accent nail crème. You can also add a glitter gradient on an accent nail (whether matte or crème). Glitter is an unexpected look on matte nails, but it’s an awesome one.

Did we miss any black nail polishes that you love? Let us know!