How to Make Your Matte Nails Shiny Again




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Keeping up to date with the latest trends is what many ladies live by. If you are one of them, just like me, then at some point you must have encountered the trend of matte nails. Matte nails were a real breakthrough in the industry at the time, and they are still holding to the reputation they earned.

Matte nails can be made shiny again by completely removing the matte nail polish, gel, or acrylic and applying the chosen technique with a glossy top coat. A matte manicure is most commonly achieved by using a matte top coat, so putting a glossy top coat on an already existing matte top coat will not do the work.

Reversing the process and going from matte to shiny nails again may seem like a complication, but in reality, it is a no-brainer. But there might pop up some concerns that I will clarify, like what would happen if you decided to skip some steps and just put the shiny top coat over matte.

Here you can read about matte nails and glitter.

Can You Put a Shiny Top Coat Over Matte?

If you decide to get matte nails and you end up not liking them, the most obvious solution for this issue that will pop up in your mind is to use a shiny top coat to kill the matte effect. Although theoretically, it would do the work, your manicure would be completely ruined.

To be able to understand why a shiny top coat is not going to look good on matte nails, let me explain the science that makes shiny nails shiny and matte nails matte. To really see the difference between shiny and matte nail polish, you’d need a microscope to investigate the structure of the polish itself.

When enlarged under the microscope, nails with a shiny top coat have a sleek, smooth surface, allowing the light to bounce off in a continuous and even manner. This is making the illusion of shine.

On the other hand, if you enlarge the surface of matte nails, you would find many tiny imperfections, which make the light bounce off in different directions, making the nails look matte. Basically matte nails just reflect less or no light compared to nails with a shiny finish.

OPI Matte Top Coat, Matte Finish Nail Polish Top Coat, 0.5 fl oz

Now that you know this, you might notice what is the problem with this idea – if you put a shiny finish on top of matte nails, there would be a conflict between the rough surface of the matte layer and the smooth surface of the shiny layer. This is why it’s not recommended to use a shiny top coat on matte nails. The manicure would end up looking messy.

A shiny top coat also kind of kills the whole point you tried to achieve with matte nails. There is no shortcut to quickly going back if you decided you don’t like the matte technique. Just be patient and do the process properly so you can enjoy your long-lasting shiny nails.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish Shiny Top Coat, 101 Miracle Gel 3.0 Shiny Top Coat, 0.5 Fl Ounce

How to Keep the Nails Matte?

First, let me teach you how to create a matte finish. With a basic, standard matte top coat you can easily transform any glossy nail polish into a matte-looking one. And the process is very easy; after applying and drying the first layer of nail polish, apply the matte top coat and wait at least 60 seconds.

If after 60 seconds your nails are not looking matte, two things might have happened. Your base nail polish coat was not completely dry when you applied a matte top coat, or your top coat needs a little bit more time to work. Just leave it for another minute and see the results.

If you like to experiment and you are looking for more fun while creating matte nails, there are few DIY techniques you can try. I personally love the magic that happens behind this one – try using a steamer to create matte nails. Paint your nails and place them over a steamer (be careful not to burn yourself). After few minutes you should have matte-looking nails.

Hilife Steamer for Clothes Steamer, Handheld Garment Steamer Clothing Iron 240ml Big Capacity Upgraded Version

The disadvantage of this technique is that the matte effect does not last for a long time. But it’s very easy and fun, and if you take a little extra care of your nails, the matte finish may last a few days more than mine did.

Another technique you might try is to mix your nail polish with a little bit of baby powder. This will transform any glossy-looking nail polish into a matte one. And the third and most popular one is to use a smooth nail fine to make the matte top layer. This one is the best solution if you don’t have any matte top coat at home.

After getting gel or acrylic matte nails, the real trouble is to keep them matte in the first few days. This is because your technician removes all the natural oils and hydration from your nails while applying gel or acrylics. After the treatment, your nails would require a few days to renew the oils, making the nails shiny again.

To fix any shine that might pop up in the first few days, just use a simple nail polish remover or alcohol and see the magic happen! Your nails would instantly return to the matte state.

How to Achieve Shiny Nails?

If you had matte nails and now you want to switch to glossy ones, or you changed your mind at the salon – there is no specific requirement or special preparation that needs to be done. Just inform your nail technician that now you would like to try another technique and she would switch up the products.

After properly removing the matte nails, your technician will prime the nails, apply the base coat with acrylic or gel and then apply a top, glossy coat. The top coat would need to be cured under a UV lamp for around 60 seconds, and you are good to go for another 4 to 6 weeks with your new manicure.

Shiny nails are so popular that almost 95% of women wear them. This is due to the low maintenance they request and the availability of products. They are easily achievable even while you are at home, doing the manicure by yourself. The majority of standard nail polishes available on the market are the ones with a glossy finish.

For extra security and shine, whenever I’m using regular nail polish for my manicure, I apply either clear nail polish or a shiny top coat to my nails. This way I’m sure that the extra sleek look is set to last for a good 5 to 7 days. 

Of course, the duration of the shine solely depends on your day-to-day activities and the technique you have used on your nails. If you tend to soak your hands in water for an extended period of time, the shine would start to disappear and the nail polish would eventually start to break and fall off.

Another situation you might encounter is that few days after applying your regular nail polish, it starts to lose shine. To fix this, just use clear nail polish to repaint the nails and regain the shine. This will extend the duration of your manicure for a few more days and refresh the looks of your nails.


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