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Dark Nail Polish Colors That Don’t Scream Goth

My passion for dark nail polish began in eighth grade. I had never really been one for wearing color on my nails until I spotted a girl in my math class wearing an inky black hue that I couldn’t help staring at. Let’s just say I didn’t learn much geometry that day.

The next week I went to the nail salon with my mom and scanned the wall of polishes to find a shade that matched the one I saw on the girl in my class. I grabbed a bottle of “Lincoln Park After Dark” by OPI, a practically pitch black shade with the slightest hint of purple, and my mom looked at me asked, “are you sure about that color?” I wholeheartedly replied, “absolutely!”

After the nail technician brushed the first coat of the striking midnight polish onto my nails, I was hooked. I wore that color for about five weeks straight until I decided it was time to start testing out new options. I loved the way black polish looked on my nails, but I also I wanted to return to my more colorful roots. I tried just about every hue on the spectrum in a darker shade and ended up finding lots of other polishes that felt just as rich and eye-catching as my go-to dark color.

Here are some of my favorite darker nail polish shades, from deep berry to forest green, to add to your collection if you want to rock a moodier look!


1. “Off Tropic” by Essie

Credit: Target 

This lush green hue reminds me of a lush, magical forest at night. This polish would make the perfect transition to the winter season since it definitely gives off major holiday vibes.


2. “Suzi Mio” by OPI

Credit: OPI

I love a vampy purple hue since it brings me back to my “Lincoln Park After Dark” days. This polish is a little less goth than my classic color since it’s more of a deep plum shade. After swiping on this polish be sure to put on some Lana Del Rey and cry a little.


3. “Dark Like Me” by Smith & Cult

Credit: Smith and Cult

Is it possible to fall in love with a nail polish? Well, I think I managed to since this divine berry hue is making me feel some kind of way. In all seriousness, I can picture myself wearing this color 24/7. Move over “Lincoln Park After Dark” because “Dark Like Me” is making all of my dark polish dreams come true.


4. “Delos” by NARS

Credit: NARS Cosmetics 

This dark copper polish proves that not all metallics have to be bright and shiny. While a rusty penny is not the first thing that comes to mind when I think of beauty inspiration, “Delos” proves that this not-so-conventional metal makes for an amazing polish color. 


5. “Steel Waters Run Deep” by OPI

Credit: OPI 

Grey is commonly associated with being drab, but I believe that there’s more to be said for this hue, especially when it comes to nail polish. I personally believe grey makes for a chic and sophisticated nail color, plus it pairs well with just about every outfit. Throw on some jeans and your favorite knitted sweater or an LBD, and your grey nails will bring a certain coolness to complete the look. Not so boring after all, huh?


6. “516 Mariniѐre” by Chanel

Credit: Refinery29

For those of us willing to splurge a bit on our nails, may I suggest a treat-yo’-self-worthy purchase? This gorgeous navy blue polish is all kinds of wonderful and definitely looks just as expensive as its price tag (I’ll save you the trouble and tell you now that this beauty is a whopping $28). Chanel Beauty is the closest (and most affordable) way to own something by the luxurious brand, so give into your bougie side and get yourself a bottle. Your nails deserve some love, so why not give them the best?


I consider myself a nail polish chameleon since I like to change my color so often. I love trying out new shades, and sometimes I even plan outfits around the polish I’m wearing. With the winter season just around the corner, I’ve been embracing darker hues. I’m determined to wear more blues and greens this year since I tend to rotate between reds and blacks during the chillier months. Maybe I’ll find myself swiping on “Lincoln Park After Dark” one of these days just for old times sake. What can I say, old habits die hard!


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Emma is a senior at BU studying Journalism and Gender and Women's Studies in the College of Communications. She's originally from sunny Los Angeles, California. She is an avid fan of local bakeries and making oddly specific Spotify playlists.
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