Arden: I did it guys! I finally invested in a matte top coat. I did a little bit of internet research, and it looked like most people's favorite matte top coat was the one made by Essie, so I decided to check it out.
For my first time out, I decided to just try a simple reverse triangle manicure. I started by painting my nails Essie Navigate Her with L'Oreal Royalty Reinvented on my ring finger as an accent nail. Then I used Scotch tape to tape of little triangles at the base of my nails and painted those in the opposite color.
I ended up having a lot of trouble painting the reverse triangles. As you can tell, on most of my nails a little polish seeped under the tape right at the top point of the triangle, so I didn't get good perfect triangles. I'm not too sure what I was doing wrong-- maybe it had something to do with my tape? I need to work on this technique to see if I can discover the secret to getting great reverse triangles.
Finally, I finished up with one coat of Essie Matte About You. It's recommended to use one thin coat of this polish to give your nails a great matte finish without any streaks. I followed that advice and it worked great! I actually had been pretty worried that my first time trying it would be a disaster, and I was very pleasantly surprised! It turns out there isn't a big secret to getting it to look good-- just one thin coat works great.
The one drawback to this top coat (and apparently most matte nails in general) is there is no protection against chipping. My nails did begin to chip on the second day, and usually I can get a good 4-5 days out of my nails when I apply a good top coat. It's possible that using a regular glossy top coat first and then the matte top coat could help protect them? I'll have to try that out and get back to you.
Final verdict: matte nails are fun and super easy to do. Essie Matte About You had a foolproof formula and great results (minus the chipping). I'd definitely recommend it if you're in the market for a matte top coat!