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Matte Car Paint – Is This Paint The Right One For You?

by Jordan Harris
Matte Car Paint

You noticed a lot of matte car paint lately and you are kinda digging it? Everyone loves matte paint. But nobody wants to properly maintain it. That’s the sad part of this story. But you shouldn’t worry because we are going to cover everything you need to know when it comes to matte car paint in this article and more.

Giving your car that matte finish is going to make a world difference when compared to other cars on the road. When people see matte paint, they just know it’s matte. But how can you tell a matte paint? It’s quite simple, the matte paint does not have a glossy finish to it. Which means, no clear coat.

This makes the surface where the paint extra rough. Similarly, to touching sandpaper. When you press on the paint, you will notice how the surfaces are not smooth and the hand grips onto the paint. This finish is a matte finish. And more about this finish and also the alternatives we are going to learn in this article.

First, we are going to cover what is matte paint and we are going to learn all of the matte finishes. Since there are three types of matte finishes. Then we will discuss how you can properly maintain a matte finish and also the repairability of the matte car paint. Then we will see the alternatives by which you can achieve this matte finish and also some products that are going to help you out. So, let’s get started.

What Is Matte Paint?

We live in a world where everything is nice and shiny. That’s why we always turn our heads when we see something different and new. Like matte car paint. This paint is special because it gives the car that depth and it strikes the people when they see it immediately. Just like a stealth jet fighter. They wear a matte coat as well.

Nevertheless, spraying your car with matte paint will make a world difference compared to the regular glossy paint that 99.9% of the vehicles have. So, if you want to be different, this is the way to do it. It’s expensive but it’s worth it. But to note that this paint job also has downsides and more about them we are going to cover after we cover the matte finishes that are available.

The important thing is to know how do you get this matte finish on your paint, or in other words, how to make your car look spectacular.

The short answer is that you will need a respray. You will need a new coat of paint on your car that will be matte. But is this a different color for matte finishes? Actually, no, it’s basically the same type of color. The main difference is how you lay out the clear coat. For a matte finish, the clear coat is laid out differently compared to a gloss finish.

There are three types of matte finishes that we are going to cover in the next chapter. There are also some alternatives that are available on the market and will give you the same effect and they are far cheaper than matte car paint. And we are going to cover them after we cover the types of matte finishes.

Types Of Matte Car Paint Finishes

As we mentioned, there are three types of matte finishes. These three finishes are quite different from one another. And depending on the effect that you are after, you need to pick one and make sure that this is the finish that you want because there is no way back unless you respray the whole car again and again.

This could be a money pit if you are not decisive enough. That’s why we are going to help you out with that by covering these finishes in great detail so you have a much better perspective on what to expect from each matte car paint finish.

Flat Matte Finish

The flat matte finish is the true matte finish. This finish has no shine to it and no reflections. It is so rough when you touch it that it almost looks grainy with no sheen to it.

You will be able to see shadows on it but no reflections whatsoever as we mentioned. This finish will give you that deep stealth look that you are looking after.

Most of the people that want to do a matte finish go after this paint job and the flat matte finish. The important thing is to do this job right because most cars are looking that they are not primed.

That’s why you need to choose the right color when you are going for a matte finish. Colors like army green, burgundy, or cherry red look extremely good with this finish.

But any way you paint it. It’s going to stand out from the crowd and will turn heads when you drive it on the street. Especially if you add some window tint (for more context, check out our guide on how long does it take to tint windows) and also matte finished wheels.

Satin Matte Finish

The satin matte finish is the second type of matte finish that you can do on your car. But what makes a satin matte finish different from the regular flat matte finish?

The difference between satin matte and flat matte is that the satin matte can make reflections. And it’s also smoother compared to flat matte. But what this means?

This means that when the car is in the sun, the paint will reflect and will not have that endless depth that is most notable on flat matte finishes.

This type of paint is the perfect paint that offer’s the best of both worlds. You will experience the matte finish but also your car will look good under the lights or in the sun in the summer.

That’s why if you want a matte finish, this is the finish I would recommend to you. Now let’s cover the last matte finish that is the semi-gloss matte finish.

Semi-Gloss Matte Finish

The semi-gloss matte finish is the last type of matte finish that you can paint your car in (or learn how to paint a car). As the name implies, this finish is semi-glossy. Something in between of a satin matte and a glossy finish.

This finish is also another good option if you want to make your car shinier than the satin matte finish. The difference between the two is that this finish has a clear coat more than the regular satin-matte finish. This means that all of the unevenness is filled a bit more than the flat finish and the surface is smoothened up a bit. But not quite, to be considered to be a gloss finish.

But this doesn’t mean that is similar to a gloss finish since you can still damage the paint if you are using clay or a buffer to clean the paint. With this type of color as well the similar colors cleaning is recommended to be done only with soapy water and other non-abrasive cleaners that will not damage the paint. But we are going to cover more about that in the following chapters.

Nevertheless, using the semi-gloss finish would be great if you are looking for that showroom look that many owners are after.

Matte Car Paint F.A.Q

Before we cover the alternatives to matte paint. Let’s cover some questions and misconceptions about matte car paint. Knowing these things will save you a lot of money and time. It will also help you out if you really want this paint finish on your car and from which things to be aware. In order not to do damage or scratch the paint. So, let’s get started.

Can You Repair Matte Paint?

The answer to this question is no, you cannot touch up or repair any scuffs or scratches on the paint unless you do a full respray on that specific panel that was affected.

This makes matte car paint serviceability extremely poor and expensive. If you have a matte paint-finished car, then your prime focus should be on keeping the paint in good shape and making sure that you don’t end up in an accident. This means, that you should pay twice the attention that you give compared to having regular gloss paint.

Gloss paint is simple to fix, a small touch-up will fix most of the scuffs and dings. But not with the matte paint. When you have matte paint, always check twice. Just in case.

But you can also protect the matte paint. Which is a good thing that you can cover most of the panels that are usually affected in accidents. And more about that we are going to cover later in this chapter where we will share some tips on protecting the matte paint.

Can You Wax Matte Paint?

Many people are asking this question and the answer is no. You cannot wax matte paint (even if you understand how often should you wax your car). Why is this the case? This is the case because matte paint is not smooth.

If you put the paint under a microscope, you will notice how the paint is not even. There are tiny crevices that are in the coat of paint which are almost microscopic.

If you try to apply wax in this paint, you will end up with a smooth finish, but you will ruin the paint. The wax will enter in these crevices and will fill them up. Which will result in something weird-looking. The paint will turn white when you apply the wax since the wax is white.

It could return to the original color over time, but the damage of this microscopic unevenness will remain and the spot where you applied the wax would be quite noticeable and most people would be able to tell the difference. So, using this type of car care is not recommended on matte finish paint if you don’t want to ruin the paint.

Can You Buff Or Clay A Matte Paint?

The answer to this question is pretty much similar to the previous one. Any of these practices and you will ruin the paint permanently.

The clay is designed to remove particles that are inside of the fine scratches and prepare the paintwork for the buffer. But the matte paint is all over with these uneven surfaces which means that the paint is rough and the clay will not work at all with matte paint. It will get stuck after a few passes and will ruin the paint job at the place where you applied the clay bar. That’s why never clay bar your car. But can I buff?

Matte Car Paint

Hell no, you cannot buff the matte car paint. As soon as you apply the buffing compound and you start buffing. The buffer will start to smoothen out the paint. In the end, you will get a gloss finish single-stage paint. And you don’t want that. You want your paint to be matte.

That’s why you should never use these products on your matte paint if you don’t want to do permanent damage to the paint job. Respraying will cost you hundreds and sometimes even thousands of dollars if you damage the paintwork.

Can You Use Regular Shampoo?

Nope, you cannot use regular car shampoo. Regular car shampoos are using wax, this could possibly enter inside of the paint job and stay there. Ruining the look of the car in the process.

Also, regular car shampoos are using a formula that has high pH or translated into English means that it has a higher acidity. This could also damage the paint. Also, using your own made shampoos with vinegar or other products can also damage the paint as well. That’s why you shouldn’t use anything that isn’t approved for this application. You can use it though, but the damage would be irreversible and you will end up paying thousands of dollars on a new paint job.

That’s why for this job you will need a car shampoo that is pH neutral, which means that there is no acidity in the shampoo, and make sure that the shampoo is also wax-free. This will guarantee that your paint will not get damaged in the process of washing.

Also, never go to an automated car wash. These brushes that these carwashes are using will ruin the paint job. They also are using the standard wax soap that will damage your paint and will make you waste a ton of money on a respray.

We understand that the matte paint job isn’t cheap, but that’s how things are and we cannot change them. If you want to maintain the paint of your car in excellent condition, you must comply and follow the rules when it comes to the maintenance of matte car paint.

How To Protect Matte Paint?

Protecting your matte paint is crucial if you have a car that has a matte finish. Luckily there are a couple of ways that you can pull this off without damaging your precious paint job. One of them is pretty simple and anyone can do it. While the other way requires a lot of skill in order for the desired effect to be achieved and the paint job to look immaculate and protected at the same time. So, which are these ways to protect the matte paint? Let’s find out.

Ceramic Coat Your Paint

Ceramic coating is something pretty new and an extremely popular way to protect almost anything.

This coating works basically on any surface, metal, plastic, wood. Everything that gets ceramic coated is protected. When the ceramic-coated surface comes in contact with water or dust, they simply do not attach to the coating.

If you add ceramic coating, your paint job would always look immaculate. Even if there is small debris on the paint job. A small rinse would do the trick.

Matte Car Paint

The ceramic coating is also easy to apply and it cures in minutes. You will only need a towel from the kit that the ceramic coating comes with and you apply a few drops on the cloth and then apply the coating on the paint.

One small bottle would be enough to cover a whole car. And it also lasts quite long and you will not have to worry if it will stop working after a week. It will be months until this coating on the matte car paint stops working and dissolves. Good stuff!

Add Paint Protective Film (PPF)

Paint protective film is another option. There are paint protective films for any type of matte car paint. It doesn’t matter if it’s a flat, satin, or semi-gloss finish. There is an option for everybody. You can apply these protective films to the whole vehicle. Or if you want to cover only the bumpers, you can do that too. This will be extra useful when it comes to bugs (thus, aiding with how to get bugs off your car) and other debris that flies when you drive your car on the highway.

But it’s not cheap. Even the bumpers and the hood will cost you a good penny. These jobs start from $1,000 and can go up to a few grand. Depending on how much surface you need to cover and also the complexity of the job. Since all cars are different and it can take a while to cover some cars that have pretty complex body panels. If you have the budget, this will be the perfect way to protect your matte car paint.

Alternatives To Matte Car Paint

There are also alternatives when it comes to matte car paint and these alternatives are even better, to be honest. The best thing is that you could remove them when you desire and return the stock look of your car. So, which are these alternatives? Let’s elaborate.

Plasti Dip

Plasti dip is one of the easiest ways that you can achieve this matte finish. The plasti dip essentially is liquid rubber. This means that this plasti dip can be sprayed on the car like regular paint.

The difference is that the plasti dip is quite thicker compared to paint and you will need to have a special gun in order to spray your car.

And what is even better is that you can perform this work at your garage. That’s right! You can plasti dip your car at home. For this you will need plasti dip solution, then you will need an air compressor and then you will also need a proper spray gun to coat your car with plasti dip.

You only need to mask off the spots that you do not plan to paint with plasti dip and then remove the masking tape and you are good to go. Even if your overspray, it’s not a big deal. You just peel it right off after it dries. And the best thing is that it lasts for months or years in some cases. A perfect way to change your color and return to stock when you get tired of it.

Vinyl Wrap

Vinyl wrap is the other option that you have if you want to change your color into matte. This operation unfortunately is quite expensive if you are doing it at a shop. Similarly, to the PPF that we covered before.

Car Wrap Nissan GTR

Changing the color of your car will be quite expensive and you could easily pay even $1,000 for the simplest jobs. These would be not doing the door jams and other panels that are usually covered. If you decide to do your car 100% with vinyl wrap, you could expect to pay even thousands at a professional shop. That’s why if your budget is limited, the way to go is with the plasti dip.

Matte Car Paint Facts:

  • Matte car paint is a finish applied to a vehicle’s paint job to create a muted, flat finish.
  • The matte clear coat added to a paint job emphasizes the imperfections in the paint and adds dimples that obstruct light reflection, creating a dull matte finish.
  • Matte paint comes in different degrees of dullness or shine, and it is essential to specify the degree of finish you prefer when repainting your car.
  • Matte finish requires handwashing and specific matte car wash solutions that protect the protective layer, as standard car wash solutions and dish soap (to find out more, we’ve previously looked at whether can I use dish soap to wash my car) can break down the finish’s protective layer.
  • Waxing a matte finish is not recommended, and matte paint coating is the best solution for protecting the finish.
  • Paint protection film provides another layer on top of painted surfaces to help prevent blemishes and damage. It comes in matte finishes and is removable if you tire of the matte look.
  • Scratches, chips, and dings on a matte finish cannot be repaired through touch-up paint or buffing; the entire panel requires repainting, which can be costly.
  • The cost of adding a matte finish to a new car ranges from $3,250 to $6,800, depending on the model and quality, while repainting a car with a matte finish can cost between $1,000 and $6,000.
  • Luxury carmakers typically offer matte paint finishes, and the features come at premium costs.
  • Matte car paint looks cool and adds serious style to your ride, but it also comes with drawbacks like high cost, upkeep, and repair.


In this article, we have covered a lot when it comes to matte car paint. First, we learned what matte car paint is and all the three types of matte car paint which were the flat, satin, and semi-gloss matte paint.

Then we have covered the most common questions when it comes to matte paint. This information is key in order not to mess up your matte paint job.

Lastly, we have covered the alternatives that you have when it comes to changing your car color into a matte finish. There were the plasti dip and the vinyl wrap. If you are a beginner, we would recommend the plasti dip for you. Because it is hard to ruin something with it. It just works and it is beginner-friendly.

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