In the last few years, matte finishes have become increasingly popular. The finish spans many industries, including photography, home decor, and automotive and motorcycles. From your bathroom tile to your motorcycle helmet, matte finishes can be found everywhere.
If you’re considering purchasing a matte helmet, you should know the differences between a matte and gloss finish helmet.
In this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons and everything you should know about matte vs. glossy helmets.
Are Matte Or Glossy Motorcycle Helmets More Popular?
In the last decade, matte finish helmets have increased in popularity. More colors and graphics are now available in “flat” finishes, making them even more common. However, glossy helmets are still just as popular as matte helmets.
Which Type Is Easier to Keep Clean?
Arguably, gloss helmets are easier to keep clean than matte finish helmets. They don’t need to be washed as frequently and rarely require special protectants or cleaners. However, you may opt to add wax to glossy helmets for extra shine matte helmets don’t require.
In the end, each finish has its own set of pros and cons when it comes to cleaning.
Gloss helmets are prone to show scratches and dust more easily than matte finishes. However, matte helmets are notorious for showing oily fingerprints and smudges. For this reason, matte helmets are considered more difficult to keep clean.
How to Clean Matte and Glossy Helmets
Regardless of which type of helmet you have, both are simple to clean. Just grab a bowl of warm water, a couple drops of dish soap and a microfiber rag. This combination is simple but shouldn’t be underestimated. The majority of bugs, dirt, and mud can be removed without using harsh chemicals that can ruin the top coat of your helmet.
There are many cleaning products specific to helmets that you can purchase to help get the nastier debris off your helmet. You can also polish your gloss helmet for extra shine. If you have a matte finish helmet, you can protect the matte finish with special products as well.
Matte helmets also have a bad rep for not lasting. Some riders report that after a few years, the paint begins to peel and feel sticky and rubbery. This may have been true for cheap helmets or in the early days, but most manufacturers have figured out the art of matte.
Today, the finish of matte and glossy helmets should last the same amount of time. Manufacturers have figured out the formula to allow matte helmets to last just as long as gloss helmets, as well as becoming easier to maintain (even if it is more frequent).
Are Glossy Helmets Warmer Than Matte Models?
Glossy helmets aren’t any warmer than matte helmets. When matte helmets began to rise in popularity, they were only available in matte black, which is why some people may think that matte and glossy helmets absorb heat differently.
There are many studies that show how darker color helmets, like black, absorb more heat than lighter colored helmets.
In 2013, LS2 Helmets put this theory to the test by placing two of their helmets, one black and one white, in the sun for an hour. They took temperatures of the exterior and interior of the helmets using an infrared thermometer and found the white helmet to be nearly 20 degrees cooler than the black helmet on the exterior and 10 degrees cooler inside.
The color selection of matte helmets has expanded since they first hit the market but it is still most popular in black, which means riders who choose this color may find their head to be a little warmer than if they had chosen a lighter color.
Is it Safe to Paint Your Motorcycle Helmet?
If you choose to paint your helmet, you should do so with extreme caution. The fumes from paints can break down the EPS liner of the helmet.
When helmets are manufactured, the shell is painted separately from the EPS liner, which eliminates the risk of fumes entering the impact-absorbing material.
It should also be noted that matte helmets are not any easier, or cheaper, to paint than gloss helmets. There is a misconception that matte helmets don’t have a finish and are therefore easier for the painter to paint over. This is not true!
Matte helmets are not just unfinished gloss helmets. There is a unique clear coat applied to the helmet to give it a distinctive flat, dull look. This means the painters still have to sand down the helmet and paint it as they would any other helmet.
While matte helmets may require a few more cleanings than your old glossy helmets, matte helmets are just as good as glossy helmets. Color and graphic selections of matte finishes have also expanded since they first hit the market with a matte black only option.