The Best Black Nail Polishes for Long-Lasting, Chip-Free Manicures

OPI Nail Lacquer in Black Onyx has a vivid, glossy pigment that can last up to seven days.

In This Article

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Best Black Nail Polishes

OPI

In the same way that a little black dress is essential in every wardrobe, black nail polish is needed in every at-home manicure collection. The rich, inky hue can instantly transform fingertips, making nails look bold, sophisticated, and elegant. Just like a LBD, black nail polish also pairs effortlessly with anything, including edgy makeup looks, everyday outfits, and a range of accessories. 

Sure, all black nail polish might look the same on the outside, but take it from us: Not every formula is created equal. So, what makes a notable black polish? Well, it has to go on evenly without any streaks, it must be opaque with one to two coats, and it can't be prone to chipping. 

To find the lacquers worthy of praise, we did a deep dive into the best black nail polish on the market. We also tapped industry experts for their expertise on the matter. In the end, each polish was selected with longevity, vivid color, and nail health in mind. OPI Nail Lacquer in Black Onyx came out on top as our favorite black polish thanks to its glossy finish and chip-proof formula. 

If you’re ready to take your manicure or pedicure to the next level, keep reading for the best black nail polishes of 2022.

Best Overall

OPI Nail Lacquer in Black Onyx

OPI Nail Lacquer in Black Onyx

Amazon

What We Love: Two coats of this polish is all you need to get a rich, shiny finish.

What We Don’t Love: The applicator is thick, meaning if you have small nail beds, the polish might get on your skin.

There’s a reason this nail polish has over 7,500 five-star reviews on Amazon: It’s as classic as it gets, touting a jet-black hue that doesn’t turn violet or navy in bright light. Thanks to the deep, dark color and high-quality formula, this nail polish only requires two coats for a gorgeous finish.

One thing particularly notable about this lacquer is that it has a mildly thick formula that makes the paint look almost gel-like. The sturdy polish sticks to nails and rarely chips – especially when used for pedicures. To get the most out of this polish, seal in the inky black color with the help of a clear top coat. If you want to take things one step further, apply two drops of OPI DripDry Lacquer Drying Drops to ensure they stay smudge-free. 

While there’s so much to love about this lacquer, the one thing we would change is the included brush because it’s a bit thick, and makes for a messy application if you have small nail beds.

Size: 0.5 fl oz. | Finish: Glossy | Certifications: 3-free

Price at time of publish: $11

Best Value

LeChat Nails Dare to Wear Nail Lacquer in Black Velvet

LeChat Dare to Wear Nail Lacquer in Black Velvet

Walmart

What We Love: This $6 polish has a creamy finish.

What We Don’t Love: Too many coats can make it prone to chipping.

Celebrity nail artist Elle Gerstein swears by this drugstore pick when it comes to creating the perfect dark mani. “I like it because it’s solid and ultra-glossy,” she tells InStyle. “You can even get away with doing just one coat.” If you’re still not convinced, Gerstein gave Blake Lively a black manicure with this polish for the premiere of A Simple Favor, and the finished product was nothing short of spectacular. As for professional nail artist and Le Chat Nails educator, Syreeta Aaron, she describes this polish as “the perfect creamy, classic black.”

One of the main draws of this polish is its gorgeous opaque hue. The formula is highly pigmented and bright, which makes it the ideal base for glitter, nail designs, and even nail stickers. Feel free to use one to two coats, because trust us, you won’t need any more. And actually, the more you add the more prone it is to chip, so keep it simple with one swipe. 

Size: 0.5 fl oz. | Finish: Creamy | Certifications: Cruelty-free

Price at time of publish: $10

Best Splurge

Mischo Beauty Nail Lacquer in Run The World

Mischo Beauty Nail Lacquer in Run The World

Macy's

What We Love: This polish is vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, and doesn’t contain artificial fragrances.

What We Don’t Love: It takes three coats to get a high-shine finish.

If you want a collection of luxe polishes that are worth every penny, let us introduce you to Mischo. The Black female-founded beauty brand formulates polishes without toxins, meaning your nails will be protected from harmful ingredients. Our favorite polish from the line is Run the World — a pitch-black hue that has a bright, glossy finish. We love that it’s ultra buildable, so you can add as many layers as desired without worrying about it getting goopy. 

To get the best results, we recommend applying a base coat to clean nails. Follow that with three coats of Run the World (this will ensure a seriously shiny finish) and one layer of top coat. After that, your mani will be chip-resistant for up to seven days. 

Size: 0.37 fl oz. | Finish: Glossy | Certifications: 10-free, Vegan-friendly, Cruelty-free, Gluten free

Price at time of publish: $20

Best Glossy Finish

Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro in Fade to Black

Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro in Fade to Black

Amazon

What We Love: This polish allows you to create a gel manicure at home without the hassle of UV light kits.

What We Don’t Love: This formula can get thick and goopy.

PSA: You don't need to go to the nail salon or deal with DIY UV light kits to get a gel-finish manicure at home. Deborah Lippman Gel Lab Pro Nail Color in Fade to Black stays shiny and chip-free for days just like gel – sans nail damage. On top of that, the formula is infused with ingredients like biotin, primrose, and green tea extract, which condition and strengthen nails. It’s even made with silk fibers for an extra smooth finish. Oh, and did we mention you can get this lacquer off with regular nail polish remover as opposed to wrapping nails in acetone-soaked cotton balls?

The Deborah Lippmann line, which is named after one of the most notable celebrity manicurists in the industry, is known for its good-for-your-skin ingredients and long-lasting formulas, which makes sense as to why this inky black gel polish secured a spot on our list. You can expect nothing but the best with Fade to Black — vibrant color, a safe formula, and a full coverage finish are guaranteed.

Size: 0.5 fl oz. | Finish: Glossy | Certifications: 7-free, Vegan, Cruelty-free

Price at time of publish: $17 (originally $20)

Best Matte

Chanel Boy De Chanel Nail Color in 404 Black

Chanel Nail Color in Boy De Chanel

Chanel

What We Love: You don’t need a base or a top coat for this polish to last. 

What We Don’t Love: It’s only marketed towards men, even though anyone can wear black nail polish.

Tired of the same old nail look? It’s time to try matte polish. Our favorite matte nail lacquer comes from Chanel, which means yes, it’s expensive, and yes, it’s worth it. The Boy de Chanel Nail Colour in 404 Black is as sophisticated as it gets, with a built-in oversize brush applicator that ensures a streak-free finish.

Keep in mind that if you want to keep the bold matte finish, you should avoid applying a top coat. It’s also recommended to apply this polish directly onto the nail (no base coat needed). Pro tip: Use it for nail art to achieve an eye-catching matte effect.

Size: 0.4 fl oz. | Finish: Matte | Certifications: Toluene-free

Price at time of publish: $30

Best Glitter

Smith & Cult Nail Polish in Dirty Baby

Smith & Cult Nail Polish in Dirty Baby

Amazon

What We Love: Even though this polish is glittery, it’s still easy to take off.

What We Don’t Love: The glitter can make the polish feel rough on the nail, so a clear top coat is recommended.

Take a traditional black mani to the next level and opt for a glittery alternative. This Smith & Cult nail lacquer looks beautiful on nails thanks to its deep black hue and ultra-fine silver glitter. Complete with a thin precision brush, your manicure will stay neat and shine brighter than ever before. 

To make the most of this shimmering polish, apply a base coat to nails first. Then, add one to two coats of Dirty Baby, and seal it in with a clear top coat (this final step is extra important if you want a smooth finish). The best part: Even though this Smith & Cult shade is shinier than a disco ball, it's easy to take off with any remover. And, you also won’t find random flecks of glitter on your face, sheets, or clothes after the fact, which is a major bonus.

Size: 0.5 fl oz. | Finish: Glittery | Certifications: 8-free

Price at time of publish: $18

Best Gel

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Blacky O

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Blacky O

RiteAid

What We Love: This polish is extremely chip resistant.

What We Don’t Love: This is a two-step gel system, which means you’ll need to get the Sally Hansen top coat to use with this polish.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel has earned cult status for its ultra-glossy, super-pigmented finish that rivals a salon manicure. Their take on the blackest black, Blacky O is extra dark, meaning you’ll only need one coat to get a rich, inky shade. What we love about this product is that the formula is chip-resistant, so you won’t have to deal with a grungy, chipped black polish look.

Another plus about this affordable product is that while you get gel results at home, no UV light is required. Additionally, the polish comes off with regular nail polish remover, so you don’t have to go to the salon to get it off – or worse – rip it off yourself (which we’re all guilty of). Just make sure you get the Sally Hansen top coat so you can seal in the color and get the best results. 

Size: 0.5 fl oz. | Finish: Glossy | Certifications: Formaldehyde-free, Camphor-free, DBP-free, Toluene-free

Price at time of publish: $11

Best for Nail Art

FingerPaints Striping Polish in Ch-Art-Coal Black

FingerPaints Striping Polish in Ch-Art-Coal Black

Sally Beauty

What We Love: This polish features a super thin brush.

What We Don’t Love: The formula dries out easily.

Creative nail designs change with each season, bringing new colors and inspiration to every set of fingertips. While some nail art trends revolve around bright, neon hues or chrome accents (read: fall 2022 trends), there’s nothing more classic than a bold black design.

That’s where FingerPaint striping polish comes in handy. Ch-Art-Coal, the jet-black hue, comes with an extra skinny brush to ensure that completing new designs is a breeze. Experiment with a moody black French manicure, a checkerboard design, or even vampy floral nail art — the sky's the limit and the possibilities are endless with this lacquer. 

Size: 0.25 fl oz. | Finish: Glossy | Certifications: Toluene-free

Price at time of publish: $4

Best Quick-Drying

Essie Quick-Dry Nail Polish in Now or Never

Essie Expressie Quick-Dry Nail Polish in Now or Never

Ulta

What We Love: The angled brush makes for easy self-application with both hands, even your non-dominant one.

What We Don’t Love: This polish can look streaky if applied too fast.

Let's face it, you want your manicure to last without taking forever to dry. That's where the Essie Expressie collection comes in. It’s designed to dry completely in just one minute (which is essentially like magic, if you ask us). So no, your black manicure won't smudge even if you have to shimmy into a pair of jeans immediately after application.

We aren’t the only ones who love it. Gerstein also gushes about this Essie pick, describing it as “a highly pigmented, one-coat needed, extremely quick-drying polish.” Aside from its dark black hue and smudge-resistant capabilities, the formula itself is worthy of praise since it’s made without toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, or animal-derived ingredients. 

Size: 0.33 fl oz. | Finish: Creamy | Certifications: 8-free, Vegan, Toluene-free

Price at time of publish: $10

Best Long-Lasting

SNS Dipping Powder in Silent Summer Night

SNS Dipping Powder in Silent Summer Night

Walmart

What We Love: Your manicure can last up to 14 days with this dip powder.

What We Don’t Love: You’ll need the SNS base and top coat to complete an at-home manicure.

If you swear by dip manicures because they last longer, consider saving a trip to the salon (as well as some cash) with this at-home solution. This vibrant black powder will give you the same professional results since it’s the same exact formula found at salons. Not to mention, the dip powder is a healthier alternative to gel polishes, and you don’t need to use a UV light. As for the best part: Nail color can last up to 14 days.

To get the mani of your dreams, apply SNS Gelous Base to clean nails. Then, dip each nail into the Silent Summer Night Dip Powder and brush off any excess. If you want to do two layers of dip, simply repeat steps one and two. Once you have as many layers of color as you want, apply SNS Sealer Dry as the top coat, and you’re good to go. 

Size: 0.5 fl oz. | Finish: Creamy | Certifications: Hypo-allergenic, Cruelty-free, Vegan

Price at time of publish: $13

What to Keep in Mind

Format

Between gel, dip powder, and regular polish, there are many types of lacquer to choose from. While it does come down to preference, dip and gel polishes are known to last longer. If you prefer dip, try SNS Dipping Powder in Silent Summer Night, but if gel is more of you jam, go for Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Blacky O. As for a classic nail polish, you can’t go wrong with our best overall winner OPI Nail Lacquer in Black Onyx.

Ingredients

Nail polishes are made from a lot of things. You can find resins, solvents, plasticizers, and pigments in most of them, as well as film former, which improves adhesion and toughens the polish coating; and nitrocellulose, which creates a continuous coating on the nail plate. While most nail polish brands note what the products are free from, so instead of reading through expansive ingredient lists full of long words, you can just look for polishes that are seven-, eight-, or 10-free, like Mischo Beauty in Run the World.

Your Questions, Answered

Does black nail polish stain nails?

It’s uncommon for black nail polish to stain nails. While brands might have differing nail polish formulas, most paint should come off with nail polish remover. If black nail polish is not coming off, we suggest soaking a cotton ball in remover and placing that over the nail. Secure it in place with a piece of tin foil and leave that on for up to ten minutes. Once the time is up, remove the foil and cotton ball and wash your hands. All the remnants should be gone. 

What’s the best way to remove black nail polish?

Want a top-secret tip that’ll make removing black nail polish 100 times easier? Aaron notes that it’s important to make sure you use a base coat before applying black nail polish so that the removal process is more seamless. She also recommends using “circular motions around your cuticles then pulling the cotton ball down – never go upwards into the cuticle because this can create a mess with darker polishes in general.” 

How can you get black nail polish off of clothing?

If you’ve ever had the misfortune of getting nail polish on clothing, you know what a pain it is to get out. Luckily, there are a few ways to remove polish from fabric. First, if the polish is still wet, try lifting it with a paper town or cloth (read: don’t blot). If the polish is somewhat dry, you can try to use a dull knife to cut through the paint. For the times when the polish has been there for a while, the best thing to do is spot-treat the area with stain remover and then wash it.

How do you make a manicure or pedicure last longer?

“In order to make a manicure look great, you have to do some prep beforehand,” Gerstein says. “Begin by scrubbing your nails with an antibacterial soap (think of it like washing your face). Let the nails dry and then use rubbing alcohol (75% and up) to cleanse the nail. This will act like an astringent and bring your nail to the proper pH level while eliminating any dust and debris from your nail.”

Once nails are prepped, it’s time to paint. “First, paint a base coat (think of this like the primer to your foundation),” Gerstein explains. Once that dries, remove any excess polish from around the nail. Then, it’s time for the colored polish. “Flatten the brush and start painting the first line close to the cuticle — wiggle it so it’s closer to the cuticle and then paint a stripe straight up,” she says. “Do the same with a stripe on the left and right sides, and across the free edge of your nails. Make sure the edges are covered.” When this coat is dry, you can apply another or finish with a top coat of clear polish to seal everything in and prevent chipping.

Why Shop With Us

Lauren Harano has been a contributing writer for InStyle since August 2022 covering all things beauty — from the best lip glosses to hair care essentials. Her work has also appeared in both digital and print publications including Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, POPSUGAR, and Esquire. For this article, she researched the best black nail polishes that would provide nails with long-lasting, chip-free color. Each nail polish on this list was backed up by either great customer reviews, trusted expert recommendations, or Lauren’s own personal knowledge of black nail polishes.

Related Articles