How to Properly Apply Matte Top Coat over Glitter




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The shinier, the better! If you are one of the ladies that go by this saying, I am pretty sure you are crazy for glitter nails. Glitter has taken the manicure to a whole new level, providing an endless combination of colors and shapes. After using glitter, nails are really a masterpiece!

Glitter nails need to be protected with a top coat, either shiny or matte. Before applying a top coat, make sure to dust off all the excess glitter. If you don’t remove the excess glitter, the top coat may not adhere properly, and it may break and fall off together with the glitter. 

Of course, there is always room for improvement, so after the glitter nails came super popular matte glitter nails. Although this combination may sound weird, it was such an unexpected success. I will touch on a few tips on how to apply the top coat correctly.

Beetles 20 Pcs Gel Nail Polish Kit, Modern Muse Collection Soak off Nail Gel Polish Nude Gray Nail Polish Pink Blue Glitter Gel Polish Starter Kit with Glossy & Matte Top Coat and Base Coat Christmas

Why Do I Need a Top Coat?

A top coat is a finishing touch when it comes to any nail technique. You may or may not use it with regular nail polish, but it is an almost unavoidable part of gel or acrylic manicure. It is believed that a top coat will lock all the layers in place and provide protection.

Besides this, the biggest role the top coat plays is that it is providing that extra durable shine everyone is looking for. At some point in time, a matte top coat took over the throne and became an absolute hit.

When properly applied, the top coat will provide protection, but it will also hide any tiny mistakes that you might have made during the application of the chosen technique. On the other hand, you have to be extra careful if you decide to go for a matte top coat because it will enhance any imperfections there might be.

If you choose the matte nails, make sure that the polish is applied seamlessly so the mistakes are not showing after the application of the top coat.

How to Apply a Matte Top Coat?

The matte top coat requires more skills and patience to be applied. The matte top coat is formulated differently, so not only does it need more time to dry, but it also needs some time to work. And there is no way to make this process faster – you will have to wait for around 20 minutes for a matte coat to work.

This is because it takes around that time for the magic to work and create a perfect matte surface from something super shiny.

Make sure that you apply the matte top coat only after the last layer of polish or base coat is completely dry. If the surface is not cured, the matte top coat will ruin the manicure, and maybe it will not work as it should.

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

Do You Put a Top Coat on Loose Glitter?

Since monochromatic matte nails can be really boring, women started experimenting with glitter in a combination with a matte top coat and it turned out to be great! There are several combinations you could try – glitter with gel, acrylic, or gel polish.

Loose glitter can enhance the look of your manicure, and it is usually applied after the base coat. Regardless of the technique you are using, the loose glitter would require a surface that’s sticky enough. 

After applying the glitter, you have two options – either to use a matte top coat or a shiny top coat. No matter which one you choose, make sure that you apply it correctly, so the manicure would be a success.

Sometimes if the glitter creates an uneven surface on the nails, a trick you can use is to apply more than one layer of top coat, to smooth out the surface. Although this trick may work with the shiny top coat, it will probably not work with the matte one.

Another thing that can happen is that you put too much glitter and forget to dust it off. If you apply a top coat over a surface like this, it will cause you trouble because the top coat will not adhere to the surface of the nails.

This will result in glitter breaking the top coat, and they both will fall off the nails in chunks. To avoid this, just dust off the excess glitter, and if you do make a mistake and put a top coat over too much glitter – remove everything and start from the beginning.

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If you want to learn to apply powder on to nails you can read about it here.

Gel And Gel Polish

If you want to apply loose glitter on a gel, prep the nails and apply the base coat, just like you would if you were doing regular gel nails. The base coat would create a sticky surface usually for the gel to adhere to, but only in this case, you would be using glitter.

Apply the glitter generously, allowing it to stick to every corner of the nails. Before proceeding to the next step, make sure to dust off any excess glitter. Now, carefully apply the matte top coat and cure it for 60 seconds under the UV or for 30 seconds under the LED lamp.

Also, there are some already premixed gel polishes where the glitter is already incorporated in the formula. In this case, you would not have to worry about the top coat; just apply it after you make sure all the layers are completely dry.


To apply glitter on acrylics, take a brush and pick up a clear bead of acrylics and dip it into the glitter of your choice. Now you can form and shape the glittery nails as you like. After you finish, proceed with the matte top coat.

Acrylics are a little bit easier for a matte top coat application because the glitter has already been combined with the acrylics, so the application of the top coat is easier. Nevertheless, be careful not to put too much product – then the top coat would not properly sit on the nails.

What Happens If You Don’t Put a Top Coat over Glitter?

A top coat cannot be avoided when you have glitter nails, especially if you have used loose glitter. Although a base coat will act as glue, it is not enough for the glitter to last long enough on your nails.

To ensure a long-lasting glitter manicure, you have to lock it up by using a matte or shiny top coat. If you skip this step, it is very likely the glitter will come off after a few days, if not the very same day you did your manicure.

As already explained, the base coat is not strong enough to hold the glitter itself, and that’s why the top coat is acting like another layer of glue that will hold the glitter in place. Matte top coat over glitter will take your nails to a new dimension, providing the wow effect we all look for.


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