31 Black Nail Polish Alternatives

1
Deborah Lippmann Single Ladies
2
Deborah Lippmann Single Ladies
3
Essie Carry On
4
Essie Carry On
5
Essie Poor Li'l Rich Girl
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Essie Poor Li'l Rich Girl
7
Essie Wicked
8
Essie Wicked
9
MAC x Proenza Schouler Dayflower
10
MAC x Proenza Schouler Dayflower
11
RGB Crimson
12
RGB Crimson
13
Chanel Blue Satin
14
Chanel Blue Satin
15
Essie After School Boy Blazer
16
Essie After School Boy Blazer
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OPI Incognito in Sausalito
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OPI Incognito in Sausalito
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Deborah Lippmann Don't Tell Mama
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Deborah Lippmann Don't Tell Mama
21
Essie Stylenomics
22
Essie Stylenomics
23
Essie Cashmere Bathrobe
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Essie Cashmere Bathrobe
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Jin Soon Obsidian
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Jin Soon Obsidian
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OPI My Private Jet
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OPI My Private Jet
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X Formula Metamorphic
30
X Formula Metamorphic
31
Chanel Vertigo
32
Chanel Vertigo
33
Deborah Lippmann Dark Side of the Moon
34
Deborah Lippmann Dark Side of the Moon
35
Essie Chinchilly
36
Essie Chinchilly
37
Essie Luxedo
38
Essie Luxedo
39
Essie Merino Cool
40
Essie Merino Cool
41
Essie Smokin' Hot
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Essie Smokin' Hot
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Julep Gabrielle
44
Julep Gabrielle
45
OPI Lincoln Park After Dark
46
OPI Lincoln Park After Dark
47
X Formula for Sephora Dramatic
48
X Formula for Sephora Dramatic
49
Deborah Lippmann Modern Love
50
Deborah Lippmann Modern Love
51
Essie Island Hopping
52
Essie Island Hopping
53
Marc Jacobs Beauty Baby Jane
54
Marc Jacobs Beauty Baby Jane
55
OPI Java Mauve-A
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OPI Java Mauve-A
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Essie Blanc
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Essie Blanc
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OPI Alpine Snow
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OPI Alpine Snow
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Jin Soon Matte Maker
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Jin Soon Matte Maker

A few weeks ago, I asked you ladies to weigh in on my black nail polish crisis: is it still chic or did the faux-goth thing look, like, totally passé? Many of you stuck up for the shade in question, while several others offered wildly varied alternatives. (What's better to chase an onyx obsession than a soft shade of periwinkle?) And since I love nothing more than indulging in my nail polish obsession, I took the opportunity to give your suggestions a try. From dark blues to mauves, from white to matte black, here are 31 polishes (because who needs even numbers anyway?) to give a shot when black just isn’t what the manicurist ordered. What's your favorite?

Berries/Reds
Deborah Lippmann Single Ladies
Essie Carry On
Essie Poor Li'l Rich Girl
Essie Wicked
MAC x Proenza Schouler Dayflower
RGB Crimson

Blues
Chanel Blue Satin
Essie After School Boy Blazer
OPI Incognito in Sausalito

Greens
Deborah Lippmann Don't Tell Mama
Essie Stylenomics

Greys
Essie Cashmere Bathrobe
Jin Soon Obsidian
OPI My Private Jet
X Formula Metamorphic

Mauves/Purples
Chanel Vertigo
Deborah Lippmann Dark Side Of The Moon
Essie Chinchilly
Essie Luxedo
Essie Merino Cool
Essie Smokin' Hot
Julep Gabrielle
OPI Lincoln Park After Dark
X Formula for Sephora Dramatic

Pinks/Nudes
Deborah Lippmann Modern Love
Essie Island Hopping
Marc Jacobs Beauty Baby Jane
OPI Java Mauve-A

Whites
Essie Blanc
OPI Alpine Snow

Matte Top Coat
Jin Soon Matte Maker

—Elizabeth Brockway

Photos by Elizabeth Brockway and Devon Swartz.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Carlene Vitale

    Maybe it's just my monitor, but the instagrammy effects make most of these still look black. :/

    • mamavalveeta03

      I agree. The ones that stand out and look beautiful, are the colors.

    • Kale

      I think this article was meant to help out the ladies whose go-to polish is black. After all, it offers more sunshine-acceptable colors for us black nail lovers. I know I wear black polish every season but summer. In the summer, I like colors that appear black in dim lighting but appear a brighter, more succinct color in direct sunlight. I also like the muted pastels, don't ask why cause I couldn't tell you. But as someone who has been looking for an article just like this, I sincerely believe the author did a great job. Thanks Elizabeth!

  • mlle p

    I agree with Carlene - most of the dark ones look the same in the photos. Right now I am liking a color that's the same as my skin, Revlon Elegant, and then matte over it so it looks like mannequin hands.

  • fancies&beauty

    Nice selections.

  • Meredith Halphen

    Chanel Blue Satin is my all time favorite! Check out NYC Skin Tight Denim Creme. They sell it at drugstores for like 99 cents and it looks great on my toes with gold sandals!

  • theshallowvoid

    yeah most of them look the same, but that opi alpine snow I need. I hate the essie white nailpolish (its so runny)

  • Elisabeth

    Need the rings. Please tell.

  • Jess M

    You forgot about Gwen Stefani's beautiful burgundy OPI called I Sing In Color.

  • http://naeolia.net/ Nicole

    Deborah Lippmann's Dark Side of the Moon is a staple on my nails. I'll wear it by itself, or if I'm feeling a little festive, swipe some glitter polish over it. It's fab.

  • http://ivysmaquillagecove.com/ Divya

    Ooohh luv the matt finish of Jin Soon, very modern..Great collection!

  • http://www.vibrantbeautyblog.com/ Jennifer Monforton

    Great roundup! I have Essie Smokin' Hot and absolutely love it. Need Deborah Lippmann Modern Love, pronto! xo

  • bhaa

    is this an Essie ad? lol

  • http://www.clevergirlreviews.com/ Clever Girl Reviews

    OPI LPAD is one of my favs. It's just shy of black and looks better with pale skin then pure black!

  • http://kittnoir.com/ Kitt Noir

    Deborah Lippmann Don't Tell Mama! Looks lush

  • cat butt

    I was missing black nails today so I painted mine with Essie "No More Film." It's a super dark, rich purple. It's beautiful and a nice switch up from my usuals, Lollipop and Big Spender.

  • Mimi

    OPI Lincoln Park After Dark, the Proenza Schouler one, and white-out nails are my favs.
    That is some serious nail polish dedication!

  • http://www.theoutofofficediet.blogspot.com/ Camille Marie

    A great outlet for me to vent out about Essie. Essie may have amazing colors but the quality sucks. It is so bad. They've build enough brand equity that it doesn't affect them as much but I think people will catch on.

  • Shannah

    I 100% appreciate your commitment to painting your nails 28934728934 times for the sake of this post. I wouldn't have the patience for that, for sure.. thank you. :)

  • Kelly

    omg love this post!! I'm always looking for alternatives to black polish. Great post!! xo kelly

    http://beautyhuddle.blogspot.com/

  • xtine

    Long live Chinchilly!

  • rude and not ginger.

    I applaud your dedication to do 31 actual on-the-nail swatches. This is what makes nail polish posts really good and worth reading.
    But seriously, how did your fingers survive that?

  • Alyssa Gapske

    I love After School Boy Blazer and Smokin' Hot! Also love a black red like Wicked!

  • ais

    you must be able to recommend a good nail polish remover after having to change out all those colors for this post!

  • Diana D.

    I'm a sucker for dark nail polishes! It's all I wear. This article was amazing... Most people won't get it because the nail polishes kind of look the same. But they are not! They change with the light... My favorite nail polish of all time is OPI Midnight in Moscow and the second is Revlon Vixen... Warmer colors suit me better

  • Me, Moi, et Je

    You actually have one of my favs up there - OPI's Java Mauve. It is a great shade that I saw on another gal and just had to have, glad to see it is making the rounds!

  • http://www.theoutofofficediet.blogspot.com/ Camille Marie

    Perhaps. My roommate also doesn't like Essie. We've just had bad experiences with the brand (I'm talking more in-home. At the salon, I just pick whatever color I like). I'm sticking to the new L'Oreal line. I like the colors and they stay on me. I always wear a topcoat though.

  • http://www.practicalpolish.com/ Amanda Oppenheim

    I also really like Chanel Provocation as a black alternative. It fits into your mauve category and is dark but not too dark. This is a great list with a ton of ideas. Thanks for positing!!

    Amanda

PRODUCTS MENTIONED

Deborah Lippmann
Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish
essie
Essie Nail Polish
MAC
Proenza Schouler for MAC Nail Lacquer
RGB Cosmetics
RGB Nail Color
CHANEL
Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour
OPI
OPI Nail Lacquer
Jin Soon
Jin Soon Obsidian
Jin Soon
Jin Soon Matte Maker
Formula X
Formula X Nail Polish
Julep Beauty
Julep Creme Nail Color Gabrielle
Marc Jacobs Beauty
Marc Jacobs Beauty Nail Lacquer in Baby Jane
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