matte and glossy nail polish

There’s nothing quite like a matte nail for some refined sophistication. But a really neat twist on the look is to combine a matte base with shimmery elements for some stunning contrast. These looks range from accented glossy tips to creative flower patterns.

Getting matte nails is a pretty easy and versatile process. The matte look comes from a matte topcoat that you add on top of your normal nail polish, meaning you don’t need a ton of new polishes to achieve this look. An example of such a product is Sally Hansen Big Matte Top Coat.

Since you’re going for a glossy and matte look in one go, it’s just a matter of waiting for a glossy base nail polish dry, and then selectively applying the matte topcoat. Covering the parts you don’t want matte with clear tape while applying your matte topcoat is a good hack here. Some other looks require adding glossy polish over a dried matte finish. If you’d like to get this look, below are several styles to get you inspired.

Tips: This is a matte look that has a dark colored base and glossy dark tips. It looks stunning with glossy black tips and dark blue or red as a base.

Slanted: Another look is to apply the matte topcoat in a slanted pattern so that half the nail is glossy and half the nail is matte.

Stripes: This look requires a brightly colored matte base. Then over that, you apply a glossy polish in a stripe pattern.

Dots: This look requires a matte topcoat over a base. Over that, you reapply the glossy polish in a dot pattern.

Monochrome Tips: Another idea is to simply leave the tips alone when applying that matte topcoat.

Flower Pattern: This look also has a matte base, and then glossy polish is applied over that in swirled flower patterns. It’s a fun look to try, especially if you have some artistic flair.

Checkerboard: This look has four squares on the nail in alternating glossy and matte finishes. It’s a look that will be easiest to apply by laying down some clear tape over the part you want to be glossy, then painting on the matte topcoat.

Zebra Stripes: This look layers some glossy stripes over a matte base in a zebra print pattern.

Rowed Dots: This is like the dot look above, but the dots are arranged in a line going down the center of the nail. The dots start larger and get smaller as they get closer to the tip of the nail.

Michelle Lovrine Honeyager is a freelance writer living in Southeastern Wisconsin. You can find out more about her at