Why I’m not going back to black…just yet

Black nail varnish has the ability to evoke drama, rock and roll rebellion and has even been considered modern chic.  I’ve worn black nail varnish loads of times and have loved the instant transformation of attention-grabbing nails.  It makes quite the statement, but sometimes the reasons why we love black nail varnish can also be part of the reason why it poses a dilemma.

Without getting too into science and semantics: Black isn’t really a colour – there aren’t shades of black, there is just black.  On it’s own, black can seem one dimensional and be a little too dark for some people or the event you’re going to.

You can soften the hyper intense nature of black by opting for a colour at it’s darkest hue.  Here are some alternative colours which carry a softer and more interesting twist on black:


Almost black shades with red undertones can be a great option if trying to make dark colours more wearable.  Maroon-type shades are commonly accepted, probably as an extension of the classic red, and won’t tend to raise eyebrows as much as jet black nails.  One of my favourites as you can see by the amount I’ve used is Revlon’s Vixen.

Revlon Vixen Nail varnish


When I was deciding which purple hue to choose as my favourite, it dawned on me that my three finalists were all made by Rimmel. Thinking about it, Rimmel does a great selection of purples generally, but for the almost-black shades my favourites are Black Cherries, Night Flight & Trend Spotting (which I will no doubt be swatching soon!  It’s like a much darker version of Essie Bahama Mama.)

Rimmel Trend Spotting


Dark blues and navies really deserve a lot more credit.  As with fashion, navy can be a great way to soften a look.  With nail varnish it can even add a touch of vibrancy in contrast to a muted black. My favourite is without a doubt Motcomb Street by Nails Inc.  This particular shade is very close to black, but you can go a teeny bit lighter with shades that are more on the Royal Blue spectrum.

Motcomb Street Nails Inc

You can also experiment with plays on green and brown; but I think Reds, Purples and Blues truly capture the intensity of black without being as harsh.

Click here to see my tips for using dark colours

Will you be wearing any of these alternative colours to black?


12 responses to “Why I’m not going back to black…just yet

  1. Awesome post! Revlon Vixen looks like a polish I’m going to need to add to my collection. Usually when I want dark but not black mani I like to reach for a dark navy blue like Butter London’s Royal Navy.

    • Hey Julie, so happy to hear you liked it 🙂 Vixen is a perfect go-to colour if it’s maroon you’re after. Thank you for mentioning Royal Navy – it’s just the royal blue type of shade that I was referring to in the post! A great alternative to black!

  2. I love blackened-color shades! I’m wearing a blackened-copper shade from the Jenna Hipp for Costco set today – I forget the shade name, but it’s a super dark, almost black, brown with flecks of coppery shimmer. So nice for the cold weather.

      • All in all, it is a great set. The bottles look just like wee Ciate-shaped bottles. If the set had been at a Ciate price point, I would have has issues, but at less than $15 US, it is fantastic and versatile! I have a review I posted several months ago, I believe.

        • That’s a fair point to make, the colours are so varied as well so it’s a really good selection. I couldn’t quite remember if I’d seen you talk about them *goes off to have a little read/recap* 🙂

  3. What about greys? That’s a good alternative to black I find for me especially since black is harsh on my skin tone.
    I’m into dark maroons right now like OPI’s Sanguine! But I love my navys and blacks with that shimmer in of blue/turquoise (sinful colors see you soon) or a purple (opi’s nevermore)

    • Greys are a great option but I rarely find shades that are dark enough to capture the essence of black varnish.
      Your selections are like a polish dream! See you Soon is mesmerising! The shimmers really add that extra dimension that makes them more interesting

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