While I've been keeping well abreast of the matte nail trend and the way it continues to run and run (and run!), I'd never felt the need to get on board that particular bandwagon. Until, that is, those gold and petrol blue CND nails that we saw at New York Fashion week. So I picked up a bottle of Essie Matte About You topcoat, €15, on a whim in Liberty when I was in London a couple of weeks ago.
If you want to work the matte trend without having to fork out for a new stable of matte colours, then a matte topcoat is definitely the way to go. There are a couple of issues with application here - you do need to be careful to apply it thinly, as it can look as though there's a whitish film on the surface of the nails if you're too heavy handed. For the same reason, you should try not to not to overlap each stroke, while making sure not to leave any gaps which will end up looking shiny.
Now, while I'm still not convinced of the merits of matte dark polishes - hell-o, blackboard paint! - I am definitely digging the look of a matte pastel nail for some ice-creamy perfect-for-Spring yumminess.