Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Matte Topcoat Comparisons, Part 10

**NOTE 23-Feb-2015: This was originally published as Part 9, but as kind reader Drew of Mo' Manis Mo' Problems pointed out, I'd already done a Part 9. I added that link at the bottom. Ooops!**

A while back, I got an email from Dr.'s Remedy that worked just the way I'm sure the marketing person who wrote it hoped. It said they had a matte topcoat that I could get for free if I'd just buy another polish, so off I went to their website. By the time I was done, I'd bought three polishes to go along with the free mattifier, since that way I'd also get free shipping. I haven't tried the polishes yet, but today I am resurrecting my ongoing but dormant since last spring series of matte topcoat comparisons to see how the Dr.'s Remedy stacks up against some others. In addition to the Dr.'s Remedy Matte Top Coat, I grabbed the Zoya Matte that was a gift with purchase at Ulta last year, Hollish This Is Matteness that my friend Trish grabbed for me, and OPI Matte Top Coat for a control, since I know that one is good and matte.

I put on my go to Wet 'n' Wild Black Creme and then added the toppers in the same order as the bottles above. The Dr.'s Remedy behaved nicely, drying almost as matte as the OPI. With a regular price of $17.50, it had better behave. I was very surprised to see the Zoya forming cracks as it dried; it had a nice matte finish, true, but I'd be really upset if it did this cracking thing on a mani I'd spent time on. I'd seen this sort of thing before with the elf matte topper but didn't expect it from a brand like Zoya. The Hollish, contrary to its name, was not matteness. Maybe this is a bad bottle, maybe the formula broke down in the months it sat waiting to be swatched, maybe it was supposed to be called "This is Satin Finish". I'm not sure. The OPI, of course, was its usual reliable matte self.

I was so confused by the behavior of the Zoya (and to a lesser extent the Hollish, though that did change the finish evenly, just not as much as I'd hoped based on the name) that I took off all the polish and started over, thinking maybe I'd somehow messed up the application. The results were the same. I then decided to try a different black creme for the base, grabbing Sally Hansen Insta Dri Black to Black. I trusted the OPI would be fine, as I've yet to have it misbehave, so here are the other three, in the same order as above. The Zoya liked this base much, much better, but I still saw some slight cracking along one side (you can just see it along the left side of my middle nail in the photo). Shame, because the finish otherwise is gorgeously matte.

It might be that the Zoya behaves perfectly over Zoya colors, but I want a matte topcoat that's not so fussy. The Dr.'s Remedy is nice, and perhaps better for keeping one's nails in good condition what with the tea tree oil and other good stuff they put in their products, but I'm not sure it's $17.50 nice. The Hollish is not matte enough for me.

Links to all the episodes in this series (so far):

Part 1: OPI, Barielle, China Glaze, Sinful Colors, Butter London, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics
Part 2: Revlon, NYC, Essie, Claire's
Part 3: OPI, Essie, GOSH, Cult Nails, Icing, Ulta, Fing'rs
Part 4: Orly, Salon Perfect, OPI, Sally Girl
Part 5: OPI, elf, L'Oreal
Part 6: Nicole by OPI, OPI, Sally Hansen, Formula X for Sephora, Deborah Lippmann, Dolce & Gabbana, Nails Inc., Nina Ultra Pro, Illamasqua
Part 7: Fresh Paint, OPI, CK One, Wet 'n' Wild
Part 8: Glitter Guilty, Rescue Beauty Lounge, H & M, Kleancolor, Wet 'n' Wild, OPI.
Part 9: Paul & Joe, OPI, Wet 'n' Wild


On another topic, congratulations to the winners of the Sally Hansen/SinfulColors prize packs in my recent giveaway: Tara from Ohio and Emelie from Sweden! Both of them got back to me right away when I emailed, which I much appreciate.


  1. That was an interesting result with the Zoya, thanks for sharing!

  2. Oh no Zoya!! *cries* Although, being a fan of crackle I just might forgive it if I could get it to do that consistently.... hehehe

  3. Thanks for such a detailed post!...really interesting

  4. I love your matte series. I am surprised at Zoya, it is a shame because I really like the way it mattifies the polish.

  5. Surprised about the Zoya! I've only got the Kleancolor and Rimmel matte toppers :-)

  6. great comparison, thank you so much!

  7. odd to see something like that from brand like zoya :(
    i guess you did well buying all those polishes from dr remedy, hope they be as good as their matte topcoat :D

  8. This series on matte topcoats has been so helpful! I'm not remotely interested in anything in a satin or rubber/vinyl finish (looks too much like a glossy mani that's lost its shine to me), so being able to steer clear of those topcoats is great. Thanks so much!

  9. Should this be part 10? I think part 9 was here: http://thekarend.blogspot.com/2014/07/matte-topcoat-comparisons-part-9.html

    1. Drew, you are so right! Thanks for catching that--I will make corrections later today.


Thank you for reading and commenting! I greatly appreciate knowing I'm not just talking to myself here. :) I'm moderating most comments now due to the spate of spammers who claim to be looking for sexy times.