These 8 Black Nail Polishes Will Bring Out Your Dark Side

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Whether you're wearing them to work or on the weekend, black nail polish is a classic and versatile hue that adds a polished (pun intended) edge to your daily look. While we all can appreciate a classic soft-pink shade (like Essie's iconic Ballet Slippers), sometimes it's fun and exciting to stray toward the dark side of nail polish, especially if your makeup and clothing style is already pretty subtle all on their own. So, ready to embrace the darker side of your nail polish collection? Then switch up your usual nail aesthetic by adding a bottle (or two) of an ink-colored lacquer.

Keep scrolling to see the best black polishes, ranging from classic black to glittery onyx. 

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Essie Nail Polish in Licorice

Essie Licorice Nail Polish

Courtesy of Walmart

For a trusty black nail polish at a drugstore price, we recommend this one from Essie in the shade Licorice. It's shiny and inky black (just like IRL black licorice), and it's super affordable, so you won't feel like you have to save it for something special. 

Best Classic: OPI Nail Lacquer in Lincoln Park After Dark

OPI's Lincoln Park After Dark is an iconic shade. It's equal parts blood red, plum purple, and inky black, depending on the light you're in. If you're looking for a black shade with just a pop of color, then this is the polish for you.

Take a look at our selection of the best red nail polishes.

Best Non-Toxic: Tenoverten Nail Polish in Bond

tenoverten bond polish

Courtesy of Tenoverten

Not only is this an impressively deep black hue, but Tenoverten's nail polishes are also free of eight potentially harmful chemicals traditionally found in other nail formulas, like formaldehyde and camphor. Plus, they're cruelty-free and vegan.

Best Non-Toxic, Runner-Up: Zoya Nail Lacquer in Claudine

zoya claudine polish

Courtesy of Zoya

Speaking of nontoxic nail polish, Zoya is another trustworthy brand we often turn to. As far as black polish goes, it has a number of different shades, including some that are glittery and textured. Our favorite is the shade "Claudine," which is black with a fine gold shimmer. It's dark, warm, and insanely chic (perfect for creating black-and-gold nails). 

Best Glossy Finish: Jinsoon Nail Polish in Absolute Black

jinsoon absolute black

Courtesy of Jinsoon

Byrdie's editorial director, Faith, names this Jinsoon polish as one of her all-time autumn favorites. "This new polish from Jinsoon's Monochrome collection is the inkiest, shiniest black nail polish I've ever seen, which makes it perfect for moody fall days," she says.   

Check out our best nail polishes article for more options.

Best Matte: Orly Nail Lacquer in Liquid Vinyl

orly nail lacquer

Courtesy of Orly

If slick and shiny black polish has been your go-to for years and you're itching to try something new, then reach for a matte shade like this one from Orly. It dries down to a flat black with no mattifying top coat necessary. 

Read reviews and shop for the best top coats on the market.

Best Budget: Sally Hansen Insta Dri Nail Polish in Back to Black

sally hansen black to black

Courtesy of Walmart

If you're short on time, try reaching for this quick-drying formula. It's the ideal jet black hue that won't smudge or streak seconds after you apply it on. It's also super affordable.

Best Shimmer: Smith & Cult Nail Lacquer in Dirty Baby

smith and cult dirty baby

Courtesy of Smith & Cult

This Smith & Cult pick is far from your traditional black polish. It contains fine silver glitter suspended in an obsidian base, making it both luxurious and edgy.

Want to take a look at some other options? Check out our roundup of the best nude nail polishes.

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