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These Black Nail Polishes

This black nail polish is good.OPI black nail polish

This black nail polish is goopy and runny and makes me feel like a teenager.

wet n wild black nail polish

This black nail polish is seriously really really good. It’s perfect and amazing. I didn’t know nail polish could be this good. S159219_XLARGE 2

This post was inspired by these cashews.  

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Lizz is a consumer, lover and writer of all things pop culture and the Fashion/Style Editor at Autostraddle.com. She is also full time medical student at Brown University in Providence, RI. You can find her on the twitter, the tumblr or even on the instagram.

Lizz has written 261 articles for us.


  1. First things first, WELCOME BACK LIZZ!! I hope that you are happy and well and enjoying being Dr. Lizz!!

    So much of your earlier articles helped me in my baby gay femmeness. But back then, I was much more shy and never really wrote in the comments. So, now that I have the opportunity:Thank you, a thousand thank yous.

    Second, the Chanel black satin nail polish is one of my all time favorites. I have it on my toes right now, in fact. I can’t afford Chanel personally (I generally keep with OPI and Essie), but my nail salon carries it and I like to treat myself.

    My favorite near black, it’s actually purple but once it’s on your nails it’s so dark it might as well be black, is OPI’s Lincoln Park After Dark:


  2. Black nail varnish is the ultimate for adding a bit of edge when you have to dress conservatively for work.

  3. also essie has a black nail polish that is very good. wet and wild is literally the worst nail polish ever ever ever.

    anyone know of any good black matte nail polishes?

    • i have been wearing this awesome steely black matte polish by zoya. it was a free sample with some other polishes i got so i don’t know the name of the shade, but i love all of their polishes soooo much! zoya often has special promos where you can get 3 polishes for “free” + shipping (which is usually $10).

    • I know the quality isn’t great, but damned if I’m spending (over) twice as much per bottle.

    • have you ever tried a matte top coat? I know Essie makes one and I think OPI does as well! And ye, Essie’s Licorice is super good.

  4. Thanks Liz! I haven’t found any that aren’t gloop-heavy so far so I’ll put this knowledge into practice the next time I look!

  5. Essie licorice! But I decided to be more light-hearted and switched to Essie “power clutch” which is gray-(barely)green. And it disappeared from the world, which is what I get for being easy breezy.

    I guess what I’m saying is yes. A million times yes.

  6. Are we supposed to understand that since you didn’t link #2 to Google telling us not to but them (unlike the cashews) that feeling like a teenager with goopy runny nails is desirable in some way?

    Yay for more Lizz!!

  7. I’ve found that Essie polish dries out my nails. I really like the quality of Revlon polish (the regular polish, not that colorstay gel envy stuff). Also Seche Vite makes AMAZING base and top coats.

  8. this black nail polish (sinful: what’s your name?) is the best cos it has green glitter in it:

  9. OPI is my go-to brand so I’m inordinately pleased to see it called out here :D and now I want to start wearing black polish more often

  10. It’s ridiculous, but even though this post is so simple it is sooooo relevant to my life. I’ve spent so much time sitting on the floor of stores brushing 12 different black nail polishes onto my fingernails trying to evaluate goopy-ness, depth, shine/matte, etc., and never being truly satisfied. I will try one of these though.

  11. This is exactly the type of content I’m here for.

    Hi Lizz! Glad to see your name here again, I hope medical school has been treating you well!

  12. i am putting that chanel polish on the vision board that i don’t have, in hopes that looking upon its black lustre each day will magically make the necessary funds appear in my bank account

  13. Wet ‘n’ Wild Wild Shine Black Nail Polish is THE BIGGEST THROWBACK EVER to my very short-lived emo phase in middle school. I’m actually pretty sure my original bottle of that stuff is still sitting on my desk at my parent’s house…

    also if someone wants to bankroll my purchasing the entire Chanel Nail Polish collection you’d have my eternal gratitude, just sayin’

  14. I myself don’t care for black nail polish but I just had to add that the Sally Hansen miracle gel is awesome and there is a black. One thing to keep in mind is that as you add the top coat the color will bleed on the brush. To avoid that, tap the clear coat on instead of brushing.

    • I have the Sally Hansen gel black and it does stay for EVER without chipping, but it is also very shiny and I feel like its more of a very dark charcoal than real black. None of those things are necessarily bad, but I prefer real emo black for my own hard-femme tendencies.

  15. I missed you, Lizz!!! Does anyone have any super cheap recommendations for perpetually broke people like me?

  16. I haven’t tried black nail polish since about the eighth grade (I was going through a ~phase), but I think about trying a more grown-up version every so often. I think you’ve finally convinced me to take the plunge!

  17. How does Autostraddle always do that thing where it READS MY MIND??? I recently decided to be the rebellious teen I never was and try wearing black nail polish for the first time, and was totally satisfied with the result. Now I can’t wait for the subsequent successful adult phase in which I can afford $27 Chanel polish.

  18. Welcome back!

    I have never done black but I was in love with that one holy grail Chanel polish (Peridot) but preliminary research tells me there are GAP and OPI dupes. So yay!

  19. OMG Wet n Wild. I just had so many flashbacks of little me trying to be a badass and failing miserably.

    I also love all of the callouts to Essie in the comments. I love Essie so damn much. They just came out with this sparkly black polish called Beluga that I have been lusting after.

  20. for a matte black try zoya’s dovima! for matte black WITH GLITTER try zoya’s dahlia. zoya is my go-to & has never disappointed. also only $10!

  21. I just read something about a study that concluded cheap nail polish lasts longer than expensive stuff! Discuss?

    • @queergirl Ugh, if we’re talking ‘lasts longer in that my fingernails are stained red and I CANNOT get it off’, definitely. $4 nail polish was not a wise choice in this case. I’m resigned to keeping them painted (in other, less staining colours) until it grows out at this point.

  22. LIZZ. Lizz!

    I endorse the sephora Formula 1 polishes (in every color especially their nudes – “Dark Matter” is their black); very high quality formulas and really not that much more expensive than drugstore. [I also obviously endorse Chanel.]

  23. I’ve only just discovered how much I love dark nail polish – til now I’ve very much been a fan of orange! and red! (with the !). As ever Autostraddle, this article is perfectly timed and contains the exact right amount of detailed analysis that nail varnish requires.

  24. FYI — I impulse ordered the Chanel nailpolish late on Tuesday afternoon, and I just got it (2:40pm on Thursday). They’re not screwing around.

  25. Excellent. Hey, do we know if Seche Vite is still #1 for a fast-dry topcoat? I have OPI’s and Essie’s and they’re basically garbage in comparison. I used the former over a deep purple Chanel polish and almost half the tips chipped off within 24 hrs. GARBAGE!

  26. Whatever, I stick with Wet n Wild Fast Dry because it’s still better than coloring my fingernails with black Sharpie in art class bc my mom wouldn’t let me have black polish as a teenager. Then again, I’ve never used anything but that brand and, like, low-tier Sally Hansen, and as a result I’m still deeply reluctant to shell out for even OPI.

    BTW, Wet n Wild eyeliner now has hilarious packaging that doesn’t even try to describe the product, but instead goes off into reminiscing about being 12 and nervously buying your first makeup with your pocket change.

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