Hello dear readers,
Ever since I started using gel polish a couple of years ago I have been in search for the perfect black cream. I have 8 brands 7 of which I will feature in this post. The 8th, Gelez Pitch Black turned into a gross, blobby mess in the bottle and is unusable. My perfect black would be opaque in 1-2 coats, have little to zero shrink back, and would not wrinkle. I will show you that not all blacks are true blacks and not all are completely opaque in 1 coat. I have swatched 1 coat on a clear stick to show how the colors can have brown, blue or grey undertones. Please see the accompanying video for 2 coat results.
The first sample is Gelish Black Shadow. Of the 7 this is by far the thinnest, least pigmented black. I had to shake it to within an inch of it’s life to get the gel and pigment incorporated. It has brown undertone and is very sheer in 1 coat. This black has terrible shrink back and is my least favorite. I will say this was one of my gel polish purchases about 2 years ago and since then Gelish may have changed their formula but this particular bottle is just not worth the hassle :(.
The next swatch is Ink Blackout. This has a definite blue undertone and is quite sheer in one coat. There is also a shimmer which I have been told was a factory mistake and subsequent batches are pure creams. the Ink brand has terrific soak-offs, about 5 minutes and usually comes off in one sheet.
The next pic is Orly Liquid Vinyl. This is a true black, slightly more opaque than the first two. My experience with the Orly gels has not been very good, I have horrible soak-offs which take up to 30 minutes to come off. Keep in mind this my experience, yours might be different.
The next brand is Red Carpet Manicure Black Stretch Limo. This color leans a little brown and is somewhat sheer with one coat. Application is nice with very little shrink back.
This next one is Couture Little Black Dress and it’s more of a true black and more opaque than the previous ones. I did experience some shrink back with this brand but wiping the tacky seemed to help. Soak-offs are breeze with this product.
Next up is Gel II Midnight Black, this is a true black and much more opaque in one coat than the others. My first bottle applied great with very little shrink back but a new bottle had major shrink back issues, they may have changed their formula or I could have gotten a bad bottle. Because the base coat is already incorporated into the polish I have experienced lengthy soak-offs with Gel II, if you’re looking for a polish that will last a good 2-3 weeks this is a great option. Formula is a bit on the thick side and I had to keep shaking my bottle to make it easier to apply.
And now we arrive at my absolute favorite black, LeChat Black Velvet. This is the most pigmented black I’ve seen so far and as a result is opaque in one coat. The LeChat formula is fantastic, slightly thicker than the others but still easy to handle. A light hand is recommended, because this is so pigmented if the coats are too thick they will wrinkle. I have zero shrink back with this color and it wears great and soak-offs are a normal 10-15 minutes. I can’t recommend this brand enough.
So there you have it. I hope this has been helpful to those still searching for the perfect black. I’ve found mine, I’d love to hear from you if you find yours!