Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Does Adding Cornstarch to Nail Polish Make it Matte?

I've tried using Pam to dry my nails (which does not work, you can see my post here). So when I saw this pin all over Pinterest, I decided to put it to the test.  Add cornstarch to clear nail polish to make a matte polish.  Use it as a top coat for any nail polish.    I've seen lots of cool pictures where people do a french manicure using half glossy and half matte.  I always wanted to try it but never got around to buying matte polish.  This was the perfect opportunity to see if this Pinterest recipe actually works.

I say recipe loosely because if you see the link there isn't any measurements on how much cornstarch to nail polish.  For my experiment I started off with 1/4 teaspoons of cornstarch to one bottle of clear nail polish.  To put the cornstarch into the bottle I made a little paper funnel.  I found that 1/4 teaspoons was too little and ended up using approximately one teaspoon of nail polish.  One additional thing to note is that if your bottle of polish is full you need to pour out some polish to get one teaspoon of cornstarch in there.  You want to also do this on a protected surface because it gets a little messy.  I also used a small chopstick to push the cornstarch into the polish.

The entire process was pretty messy (but easy to clean up, because its only cornstarch, as long as you didn't spill the polish).  So to results of my new matte clear coat?   Marginal Pass.

Cornstarch added to clear nail polish does make it more matte.  But not a matte that is true to color.  The matte is more of a cloudy matte.  It does have a unique look to it, but not anything that I would waste a bottle of good clear coat polish on.

I have read on other forums that you can add cornstarch directly to colored nail polish to make it matte.  This may work out better, but after this test I'm hesitant to try.  Other forums said that a lot of brands now make matte top coats that are really great.   So for the effort I would say, don't try this at home.  It is not worth it.

Have you tired this before with better results?  I would love to hear your experiences.

I used a cheap top coat nail NYC nail polish.
Make a funnel from any paper and do this on protected surface.
The cornstarch does get everywhere and can overflow your bottle if you have too much polish.  So remember to dump out some polish if your bottle is too full.

Looks pretty cool as it goes in the bottle.  Reminds me of the Brain Hemorrhage cocktail.

Shake up the nail polish really good.

Here is the matte polish painted on my middle finger and pinky finger.  You can see it does make it matte, but a little cloudy.

I changed my nail polish 3 times to test different colors as a base.  This one had some bubbles from where the corn starch didn't completely mix.  You can see the cloudiness better here.

With a light base you can't really see the matte.


  1. I HATE LOATHE DESPISE that post on Pinterest. The picture taht's with that BS "cornstarch" post is NOT cornstarch added to a top coat. It's an image from the July 2012 issue of Real Simple that talks about the new matte/velvet nail polishes by Zoya and Julianne. (the actual article and image is here: http://www.realsimple.com/beauty-fashion/skincare/hands-feet/matte-nail-polish-00000000022905/index.html)

    I debunked it on my Pinterest Myths and Rumors board. It really annoys me that people will believe anything they see on Pinterest w/out bothering to actually validate the information first.

  2. @ Kara - wow calm down, it's nail polish not a cure for cancer.

    Besides, in this post she's testing the technique anyway.

  3. Thanks for the debunk. You save me a bottle of nail polish. :)

  4. I was totally going to try it, but out of laziness, never pulled the trigger. Thanks for saving me some trouble and a good bottle of top coat!

  5. I was thinking of trying this, but I did search for an original source (which is how I found your post!). So far I've found the most instruction here: http://drugstoreprincess.com/post/31942125232/helpful-makeup-beauty-tricks

    It suggests mixing a pinch with a bit of polish that you have poured onto some wax paper. That way you don't have to risk a whole bottle (I use Zoya and it is too expensive to me to risk the entire bottle:) With little risk, I may still try it just to see the result in person. Thanks for the post!

  6. NYC makes a matte clear nail polish (under $2 @ WalMart)

  7. hmmm that's really interesting. SOme day I may do my nails again ;)

  8. I believe you're suppose to sprinkle the corn starch onto the nail... not mix it with the polish.

    1. Hmm. Then you put top coat over it? I'm intrigued!

  9. i've got in no way tried using matte nail bed varnish but appears like For a nice and getting left behind, love that!
    Matte nail polish

  10. I love this idea and how cheaply someone can make their own matte nail polish. I am going to try this myself. Great article keep it up.

  11. I mixed a white-ish colour nail polish with cornstarch on a piece of wax paper then applied it. It went on clear and then dried matte.

  12. Mine worked and they wern't cloudy... maybe you used too much cornstarch?

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