What makes matte top coat matte and glossy top coat glossy?

December 17, 2018 | Bookmark +

What makes matte top coat matte and glossy top coat glossy?


It is all about how light travels and what the eye perceives. When light hits a smooth or highly polished surface, the surface will appear shiny to the eye because most of the light is reflected in a specular direction. That means a large amount of light is reflected from the surface in an equal amount and at an angle that is symmetrical (equal but opposite angle) to the incident light. The smoother the surface, the higher the amount of specular reflection and therefore the higher the gloss. A top coat that self-levels and dries to a smooth surface will have a high gloss.

A rough surface will have no or just a small amount of specular reflection, so as light is scattered in other directions, gloss is reduced and the eye will see it as dull or matte. To make a top coat matte, solid particles such as fine plastic/polymers, talc, or silica are added to roughen the surface.

— Dr. Vivian Valenty is president of VB Cosmetics ( and an organic chemist.

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What’s the cause of the pinkish-red oval area on the pad of my client’s toes?

I have a client who has a recurring problem with her fourth toes during the winter months. Both of her “ring finger” toes develop a pinkish-red oval area on the pad. Then a month later, when I see her again, the skin has become dry and hard like a callus, with the layers of skin peeling away to reveal a deeper, dark epicenter.  It’s extremely painful for her and, needless to say, we do not touch it. But it clears up in the summer when she’s wearing open-toed sandals, so I suspect it has to be due to the boots she wears in the winter. Plus she never puts lotion on her feet or uses a foot file in between visits. What do you think causes this?

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What are the big white spots on my natural-nail client’s nails?

I have a client who has been with me for about two years. She used to wear acrylic nails but has been a natural nail client for eight months or so. She has these white spots on her nails — big spots that are dry, but not flaky, right in the middle of the nail. I did try to buff them lightly but they do not come off or grow off. I had a new client come in last week who had the same on her toenails. She said it started after she had a pedicure done at another salon. Can you help?

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