As a gothy pre-teen, I was forever smearing Barry M’s blackest nail polish onto anxiety-gnawed nails and getting it all over my fingers in the process. Frankly, that experience it left me with a deep distaste for the nail paint shade, and mostly reserved it for Halloween, funerals and the occasional bit of nail art.
However, in my 20s I’ve come to the realisation that black nail polish isn’t gothic, boring or only worthy of a funeral, but it’s actually a neutral shade that goes with everything. It’s all about perspective. It’s not melancholic, it’s mysterious – it’s not spooky, but sultry.
This month my manicure would see me through a Primal Scream gig and Tramlines festival, so I wanted something with a bit of a disco vibe. My brief to my nail tech, Chloe, was just that. Brief. Extremely vague and subject to interpretation. It went along the lines of: “I’ve no idea what I want, but I want them black and glitterball inspired – maybe with a lightning bolt.”
I wanted something I’d not had before, and I had seemingly made my way through the colours of the rainbow over the last three years, so black seemed the perfect solution. Similarly, while I love everyone’s festival nails over on Instagram, I wanted something totally different that would set my manicure apart from the neon colours and trippy nail art on my explore page.
After a thorough prep with Navy tools and The Gel Bottle builder, Chloe got to work with very little planning and a lot of ingenuity. She pulled out paints, glitters, brushes and decals that would work for the theme, and went straight into painting a reflective french tip on my pinky, using the same shimmery black polish to coat my index finger, which would go on to be encapsulated with star sequins.
My thumb was also painted with a french tip, adding highly reflective glitter over the top for that disco ball feel. One nail remained plain, but painted with a white lightning bold with little black cow spots. But the show stopper was a chrome heart with an eye painted into it, with black and white rays radiating down the nail bed. The other hand saw the same designs often reversed in colour, and on different nails for the ultimate black mix and match set.
In the sunlight, these nails come into their own creating a rainbow of colours across the heart and practically blinding anyone in a three metre radius as light bounces off the glitter. The design, thanks to Chloe’s creativity, is cohesive and really makes a statement despite only using two colours and a helluva lot of glitter.
They might not be your classy sleek black stilleto nails, but they certainly prove that black nail polish doesn’t have to be boring and there are so many ways you can have fun with it. This chic shade is wearable and goes with everything, and I honestly think everyone should have a black mani at least once a year – but don’t fall into the Halloween cliche.
If you’re looking for inspiration for your next nail appoinment, I got you: