Essie Almost-Black Comparison : Partner in Crime, Stylenomics, After School Boy Blazer & Devil's Advocate

Friday, November 13, 2015 2 comments

In the week leading up to Halloween, I painted my nails jet black in Essie's Licorice. I love a good dark nail, so I was really in love with that mani. Later in the week, my friend Bailey came to hang out and we ended up painting our nails. Since it was still so close to Halloween, I wanted another polish that was holiday appropriate, so I picked Devil's Advocate. The black plum polish ended up looking basically identical to my previous Licorice manicure ( here & here ). That's when I got the idea to dig up all my super dark polishes that are almost-black and compare them: which ones look black and which ones look like a colour? Do they all look black once they are on the nail?

I started by painting my nails black first so we can see what that looks like.


Essie's Licorice is a straight up jet black; there's no other colour undertones in it. Just black. It's a great formula and opaque in 2 coats (read full post on Licorice here).

Partner in Crime

Partner in Crime is a rich dark chocolate. In really low light this can look black on your nails, but most of the time it looks brown, which is really nice if that's what you are going for. It has a smooth, buttery and easy to apply formula. It's opaque in 2 coats (or one thicker coat) and self-levelling as well (read full post on Partner in Crime here).


Stylenomics is an opulent dark green creme...but so dark this one often looks black. You can kind of make out the green tones in it, but I do wish the black tones weren't as strong and it was a bit greener. It had a slightly thinner formula than Partner in Crime. There were a few streaks on the first coat, but still very pigmented and easy to apply. It's opaque in 2 coats and smooth and self-levelling (read full post on Stylenomics here).

After School Boy Blazer

This was my newest dark polish purchase and I got it because I've come across it so many times on other people's Top 10 Essie's lists. I refrained from buying it in the first place because it seemed so dark I thought it would just look black. It definitely does look black in lower lighting, but it has this nice, blue-black, dark navy thing going on that I like. The formula was the same as Stylenomics: thinner than Partner in Crime, but easy to apply in 2 coats because it's smooth and self-levelling. 

Devil's Advocate

Devil's Advocate I got a few years ago while I was shopping with Bailey. I was just starting out in my polish collection, so when we discovered Devil's Advocate on a clearance shelf at Shopper's Drug Mart I scooped it right up. In the bottle you can see more of the plummy, purple tones and I wish that registered more on the nail. To me this one looks the most black on the nail. Even in direct sunlight, you can hardly tell this is purple. The formula felt the same as Stylenomics and After School Boy Blazer but wasn't as pigmented. A few nails were patchy after 2 coats, so they needed a third. 

Here's all of the polishes (without Licorice) side by side on my nail to see if their "colour" comes out. After one coat, none of these look black yet. Partner in Crime is the only one pigmented enough to get away with one coat and the rest are all still a bit streaky. You can definitely see that Stylenomics is green, After School Boy Blazer is blue and Devil's Advocate is plum. 

After two coats however, the blackened part of the equation is much more clear. Partner in Crime is not as black as the pic is showing, it does show up as true brown. For the rest of them, you can see their coloured undertones just slightly.

Here these all are again, side by side with 2 coats each on the swatch wheel. In direct sunlight you can see all of their true colours, except for Devil's Advocate. Does that one look as black to you as it does to me? In low light however, it's just black across the board. 

I LOVE black nail polish, but if I'm in the mood to wear something other than black, my favourite out of these four is Partner in Crime. It gives me that same dark look, but with a warm richness that still comes across as brown in most lights. I am also super loving After School Boy Blazer, but my tastes and whims always change so probably next year I'll think that Stylenomics is my favourite or something ;) Which was your fave?

Left to Right: Partner in Crime, Stylenomics, After School Boy Blazer, Devil's Advocate & Licorice

To see more comparisons, check out:


  • Unknown said...

    I have a hard time with dark colors because if they get into the cuticle around the nail, it stains and it looks messy. Out of these formulas, which one is the easiest to clean up while painting?

  • Kindra said...

    To be honest, I can't remember Jennifer, but if memory serves me correctly they are all guilty of being difficult to clean up if they get in your cuticles.

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