Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
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.
Best Overall: Essie Nail Polish
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: O.P.I. Nail Lacquer
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.
Best Non-Toxic: Tenoverten Nail Polish
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
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
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.
Best Matte: Orly Nail Lacquer
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.
Best Budget: Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Nail Polish
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
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.