Experiments in Frankenpolishology 101 - Solving the Matte Problem: My Journey


Oct 12, 2006
I selected O.P.I. You Don't Know Jacques as the Authentic Matte specimen.

It has really good coverage, 1 thick or 2 thin coats will do the trick, but it dries almost instantly, so just slop it on and worry about cleanup later. And/or put vaseline around your nails like you probably should do with any dark colored polish.

The color itself is beautiful. If you haven't found the perfect chocolate brown, I would recommend getting this one even if you plan to put a glossy top coat on it. (I think it also comes in a glossy version, but I haven't tried it, so I don't know if the color is the same)

However, if you haven't been able to bring yourself to embrace, or even shake hands with - the matte trend, You Don't Know Jacques is probably the reason for your hesitance.

This is the matte you're afraid of, the matte you see in your mind's eye, if you haven't actually seen any matte polish on anybody's nails, and aren't really sure you want to.

You Don't Know Jacques is hard-core matte, completely flat matte. Powdery-flat, once applied and dried it looks for all the world like when, as a child, you treated your nails to a nice thick coat of tempera paint.

But don't despair! You don't have to turn in your fashion forward card quite yet.

There is a beautiful, moderate land of happy medium between traditional gloss and traditional tempera paint.

And it also happens to be Poor Person Friendly, meaning you don't have to go out and buy all new nail polish.

Enter Nail Tek Foundation II, the Peacemaker, Nail Tek Foundation II the Glorious Compromise, ready to bestow, upon any and all of your existing nail colors - and for only about $4, the gift of the kinder, gentler matte, the Better-Than-Matte, More-elegant-than-gloss, the born classic, high fashion sister of matte - the Satin Finish!

There are other products that are reported to do the same thing, (somewhere around here is a list & brief discussion of them) but they all cost more than Nail Tek, which is actually sold as a nail treatment, intended to be used as a base coat, but has today become the Milky Ticket out of the glossy land of yesternail, and into the soft, lustrous glow of Satin!

This previously unsuspected SuperPower of Nail Tek was discovered by Dr Frankenpolish, with whose genius every Authentic Poor Person fingernail owner and designer should be familiar.

Her works are Great Art, the stuff of legend. As the Mother of Frankenpolishology, she is, as you would expect, serious about it. While dabbling devotees like me may dribble bits of this and that onto paper plates, having been politely asked to cease tormenting the porcelain condiment dishes, and never get exactly the same color twice, the good Dr actually buys empty bottles and pours into them with little paper funnels, gives them names and generously posts the formulae onto her Noble Blog.

And that is how it came to pass that I, an humble reader of that blog, sent off to Beauty4you or something like that, and got me some Authentic Matte Nail Polish, and a bottle of Nail Tek Foundation II, and boldly set out to do some humble but hopefully useful experimenting of my own, in this new and exciting land of Non-Gloss Options For The Poor.

Herewith are the results:

I couldn't resist the temptation to start by satinizing my Authentic Matte specimen, and it gives me great pleasure to report that topped with Nail Tek, You Don't Know Jacques is just as rich and cocoa-licious, and the soft, satiny sheen makes it look exactly like a new-milled bar of fine Swiss chocolate.

Milani Key Lime Shine, despite the name, is actually a very bright metallic silver that I ususally use when making bling out of garbage. It features fabulous 1-coat coverage, effortless application, and beats expensive metallic silvers out of the water.

I was hoping that mattifying, or more accurately, satinizing, the metallic silver would produce a reasonable facsimile of Concrete, but a little lighter, and be a quick and dirty alternative to pouring white creme into a condiment dish or something, and adding toothpick-tips of black creme to produce just the right pale dove gray, which I would then satinize with the Nail Tek, but that didn't happen.

Instead, I got a satiny silver - toned down from the bling-quality dazzle, but still very unmistakably metallic in character. After a couple of hours, it began to grow on me, but more as a festive occasion color than everyday. And I wonder if the bottle might be mislabeled, because it is a straight-up metallic silver, not a hint of green in it.

To represent the red/pink family, I chose Wet n' Wild Wild Shine Lavender Creme, which is neither lavender nor completely creme, more of a hot pink with just the barest kiss of pearlescence, Nina Ultra Pro Salon Formula in Red Fox, a light-ish bright slightly blue-red, and a little frankenette I made with a few brush-dunks of Lavender Creme into a bottle of clear.

Alone, the red and the hot pink are very different from each other, though both are still in the general blue-red color family.

But after being satinized, they began to look more and more alike!

Of all the colors I satinized, red/deep pink might take the most getting used to. But this may be because it sort of reminds me of the nail polishes of the "My Merry" line of children's faux cosmetics that was very popular in the 1950s, which "dried" sticky, came off with soap and water, and was not as shiny as real nail polish.

That little whisper of shimmer in the Lavender Creme is not really perceptible - but in the sheer frankenette I made from it and the clear, it is - and it turns out, it needs it.

While the frankenette does a passable job of what I intended it to do - MYBP (My Nails But Pinker), satinizing it took away the pearlescence, and the result looked more like the "pink" of an inflamed cuticle. My Nails But Injured.

I was especially curious to see what would happen if I satinized a "French Manicure" polish, and the first one that came to hand happened to be Orly's Rose Colored Glasses, a very sheer pale pink creme, so pale, and so sheer, in fact, that it could pass for transparent. Satinizing it resulted in a zero sum game - it looked the same as when you just put on the Nail Tek by itself, which looks exactly the same as if you don't put on any Nail Tek - or anything else!

Except for the Scalded Look of the satinized franken, all the experiments were successful enough that I will definitely wear them, at least occasionally, but the hands-down, no-contest undisputed Winner of the Championship was Sally Hansen Quick Sand.

Just a few shades lighter, and just a few shades more-than-that pinker than my skin, satinized Quick Sand is My Nails But Subtly Pinker!

This will be my new Matte Trend Compromise Every Day Holy Grail Nail, a title I am confident that it will be happy to share with its yet-to-be-sanitized beigish-pinkish-taupish family brothers and sisters in my collection.

It should be emphasized here that your results, even if you were to satinize the exact same colors I used, will almost certainly be different than mine, because like lipstick or clothing, nail colors look good, better, or just awful on us depending on the length of our nails as well as the tone and undertones of our individual skin.

My nails are mouseho short, and my skin (in which melanin production has been discontinued by the Liberation of Menopause, in association with the Passage of Time) is the color of a faded Weimeraner lightly brushed with dirty mustard water, so every red/deep pink nail thing I own, including nail color, is firmly seated on the blue-red side of the aisle, and satinizing may have a completely different effect on rust-reds, corals, etc, and if your nails are long, any dark or bright color will take on a whole nother personality than if they are short.

And this will be especially true of The Principal Principle I Learned - which, in case you have scrolled down just to see if I ever actually said anything, is that the Best Choice for an everyday, wear-anywhere satinized color, is an opaque creme in a neutral or near-neutral tone that is at least within spitting distance of the color of your skin.

So if you have skin anywhere near chocolate brown, and short nails that are NOT wearing O.P.I. You Don't Know Jacques in Matte, satinized with Nail Tek Foundation II, this is a situation that you must rectify immediately.


Oct 12, 2006
Of course this has to begin with an apology.

I failed to include a Lighting Disclaimer. All results were viewed in about 3 different levels of regular indoor lighting, semi-dim, medium, and Bathroom Brite.

Overnight Opinion Revision and Recanting - Authentic Matte specimen

After several hours, the naturally occurring oil in your skin, combined with inevitable "buffing" that happens with normal hand use and contact with other things - the reason we try to sit still and not do anything before our nails dry - will cause some level of Auto-Satinization, especially if you apply lotion** after washing and/or have oily skin and touch your face at all, even just to brush your hair back.

In my case, the matte-ness gap between Authentic Matte alone and Authentic Matte satinized with Nail Tek closed to the point of being imperceptible.

Even people with good eyesight could not see a difference between those two finishes, or begin to guess which was which.

Moral: The old platitude about everything looking better in the morning is especially true of matte nail polish, so do your nails at night and save your Nail-Tek for satinizing regular Old School glossy polishes.

So don't rush to judgment like I did. Disregard any Initial Alarm andGive Matte a Chance.

** (In yet another sin of omission for which I apologize, I neglected to point out that O.P.I. Matte Polish comes with a little hang tag which specifically says not to use base coat, top coat or hand lotion with the product, so disobeying cosmetic companies would be at variance with your personal standard of behavior, cultural values, etc, then the door to the Frankenpolishology Department is not one that you should even open).
Jan 28, 2007
Thank you for the insight, Shimma. Your posts whisk me away! It sounds like a very nice nail polish.