The first nail-focused beauty blog

First Look – Chanel Black Pearl Nail Polish

By on December 17, 2010
in Black, Chanel, Spring 2011 with 84 Comments
My Fedex guy is a champ but he always comes so late in the day. I’ve been stalking my door waiting for this lovely package to arrive and when it finally did, there was not a flicker of daylight to be found.

Regardless, I couldn’t wait to play with the new Chanel Spring 2011 polishes, especially Black Pearl.  Even though I had to resort to using artificial lighting, I figured since the collection went on sale this week you’d appreciate a quick peek before it sells out.  Not to worry a full review of the collection will be up once I have some decent light.


In the bottle I could see little flecks of green shimmer peeking out at me creating exquisite oil slick ribbons in the graphite base. On the nail Black Pearl certainly doesn’t disappoint. It feels like Vert Sacrilege’s murkier sister though it isn’t plagued with VS’s opacity issues. What you see below is two medium coats of polish and it completely covered the nail which makes me wonder what the manicurist at the Spring 2011 collection show was doing to result is such a poor looking manicure.

Overall I’m pretty jazzed with the color based on what it looks like at night. I can’t WAIT to see it in the daylight tomorrow and see if it holds its luster. I think Black Pearl may have completely wiped out my nail polish depression. Way to go Chanel!

Chanel Black Pearl and the rest of the Spring 2011 makeup collection is on sale now at Chanel.com and should be at Chanel counters soon if it isn’t out already. The Spring Chanel nail polishes retail for $23/ea for a .4oz bottle.

Early thoughts on Black Pearl? Any comparison ideas you want to throw out? Who already bought the Spring colors? Did you get them all or just Black Pearl?

Disclosure: A product sample was provided by Chanel. For more info view my Disclosure Policy.

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  1. Novidades: Givenchy, China Glaze, Chanel etc « Esmalt | December 19, 2010
  1. Reece says:

    I am probably wrong but it sort of looks like cg gussied up green? It’s a lovely colour but I’m not sure its a $23 colour.

  2. Lisa says:

    What a pretty colour! Thanks for the swatches! :)

  3. Kelly says:

    The Black Pearl polish looks really similar to Wet ‘N’ Wild Morbid. Except the Chanel one looks like it has a “lil more “green duochrome” to it, what are you thoughts??

  4. moeysullivan says:

    Ruh-ro. I see expensive nail polish in my future.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    I hope you’ll post a daylight picture when you have daylight, because as it looks right now…I’ve lost interest. :(

  6. KayDiKat says:

    Ordered Black Pearl yesterday! Had to break my “no more polish til after Christmas” rule due to the free shipping and possibility of it selling out. My first Chanel.com purchase :) I love wearing black pearls and this polish is swoon-worthy! I dunno if this is a long shot, but wondering how it compares to RBL Anne. Can’t wait til mine arrives!

    • Kirsten says:

      Nothing alike. My bottle arrived this morning and I can honestly say that I really don’t think there are any other colors that are even close to duping it. Besides Anne has a lot of gold shimmer and several other colors of shimmer to it as well. Black Pearl’s base color has much more blue to it and some silver shimmer. They’re just not even remotely comparable at all.

      • KayDiKat says:

        Thanks Kirsten. Glad to know my beloved Anne will not have a twin (or even a cousin!) when Black Pearl joins my small but growing collection.

  7. Naz says:

    Oh wow that looks AMAZING! I love pearls and love the whole idea for the collection, but especially the iridescence of black pearls and was hoping that this polish would live up to expectations! Thanks for the review x

  8. Anne says:

    I just snagged Black Pearl from chanel.com. I love your swatch and I can’t wait to see it in person. I’ve been lusting for Lancome pop petrol, so I’m hoping this will fill the void :D

  9. NailPolishFan says:

    I like this color better than the baby blue one. I like how even though the polish is black you can see greenish shimmer in it.I was wondering if you could compare China Glaze’s Black Diamond, Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure polishes in Black Platinum and Midnight in New York, and Essie’s Over the Top.

  10. Kelly says:

    Essie Over the Top

  11. Lauren says:

    I can’t wait to see your full review. I can’t think of what it looks like, but I’m not feeling like it’s as unique as I expected. I’d love to see it compared to Don’t Tell Mama. Thanks!

  12. Erin says:

    I like the looks of this one! I am wondering how it compares to SH Black Platinum tho!

  13. Lauren says:

    When I saw the email yesterday morning, I was up like a light and had Black Pearl and Pearl Drop ordered within minutes. I think Black Pearl may be similar to one of my all time favorite polishes – caviar dreams by laura mercier.

  14. Andrea says:

    I like this.

  15. blondycandy says:

    Just saw it in the store but picked Pearl Drop considering it’s more unique. Black Pearl reminds me of beautiful Laura Mercier’s Caviar Dreams.

  16. rachael says:

    looks kind of like Lippmann’s Don’t Tell Mama

  17. Helena says:

    Funny…in this month’s Vogue there’s a bottle shot of Black Pearl and it looks like a goddamned rainbow. This is still beautiful, though.

  18. tricia says:

    I don’t think the polishes are limited edition, because if you notice when u add it to your cart you have the option to set your future reorder time.but when you add riva there is no option to set your automatic future reorder. I noticed this for the permanent vs limited lipglosses as well.

  19. Jen says:

    Oh, dear. It isn’t black and it isn’t pearl. It’s just a frost. All hype and no heart.

  20. Kirsten says:

    Yay! Mine was delivered this morning! I normally have the same issue with late night deliveries, but for the last month they’ve all been coming at 10AM! I only got Black Pearl. I’m waiting to see swatches of Pearl Drop before ordering it and the Peach one just didn’t appeal to me at all.

    As for comparisons: I read all of the comments on and all of the colors you guys have mentioned so far are pretty far off the mark. For example Nailpolishfan none of yours are close. Lippman Don’t Tell Mama is sort of similar I guess, but even its still totally different and more green. The finishes for one thing and the silvery green shimmer in Black Pearl can’t be found in Don’t Tell Mama. Laura Mercier Caviar Dreams MIGHT be similar, but I really doubt it. Didn’t it have more multiple tones to its shimmer and again a different finish? As for Wet N Wild Morbid: again no dice. Morbid doesn’t have the silver shimmer and the finishes differ.

    Bottom Line: As far as I can tell Black Pearl is highly unique and I don’t have a single match for it in my entire massive stash of polishes and I do own all of the colors you guys suggested for comparison except Caviar Dreams. Pop Petrol is probably the closest, but I can’t be sure since sadly I never got my hands on that beauty. Its been quite awhile since I’ve seen such a wholly unique shade from Chanel. I think Jade was the last one that really just stopped me dead in my tracks so IMO job well done on Black Pearl, but the other two seem passable to me.

  21. Sandra says:

    Do you know when this color is going to be available in Europe?

  22. C says:

    It also reminds me China Glaze-Emerald Fitzgerald but I’m sure it doesn’t look same in daylight. Perfect color btw, can’t wait to have it!

  23. Kristina says:

    I think Black Pearl is gorgeous and I’m not sure that I have any other polish like it in my collection. RBL Anne? That may be the closest thing I have to it. I received it last night and I can’t wait to put it on!

  24. Georgia says:

    Reminds me of Icing’s Black Pearl or Zoya Ki. I also have WnW Morbid …. so I don’t need the Chanel. My wallet thanks you

  25. zb says:

    I already ordered all three from Chanel.com. Beautiful!

  26. Faith Dunning says:

    That Black Pearl is a tough one! I’m not super-excited about it, but I may have to pick one up just so I can prove (or disprove) how fantastic it is!

  27. Lois says:

    looks so great! <33

  28. Silva says:

    Meh. It could just be the picture though, maybe I’ll like it better once better swatches are here.

  29. Linda says:

    Chanel is known for their tiny gorgeous shimmers but I think if you can bear without, Revlon’s Steel-her-heart is a good dupe

  30. Lucy says:

    I really like the look of all the shades, but especially the Black Pearl. Sadly I was informed at the Chanel counter today, that they don’t expect them in Canada until the middle of January… and Chanel.com doesn’t seem to ship to Canada… I’m looking forward to your swatches…

  31. Shatteredshards says:

    I can’t justify $23 for a bottle of nail polish, and certainly not for a charcoal frost that, for all of the comments about slight shimmer/duochrome difference, isn’t very unique.

  32. Sharon says:

    The swatch reminds me of Revlon’s Steel-her-heart, too. Steel-her-heart is not as rich or have the depth of color of the Chanel Black Pearl, but it might give a similar look for a fraction of the cost. It would be interesting to see them side by side.

    I love this collection from Chanel, especially the white one.

  33. Stephanie says:

    I didn’t think much of the Black Pearl when I saw it online but I was curious enough to check it out in person. I went into the Chanel boutique today hoping to find it, and they did! I swatched it on my nail and it really is gorgeous! It’s much nicer in person. For anyone not sure, just see it in person! I bought that, and I’m waiting to buy the peach one until it hits Macy’s.

  34. Sarah says:

    They are due in the UK at the end of Jan – such a shame Chanel.com don’t ship here! I’ll certainly be making space for all three.

  35. peachy says:

    Looks greenish though, but then black pearls are kinda greenish too. I would probably like a jet black more

  36. Heidi says:

    Love Black Pearl! How does it compare to CND Hyde in the Dark?

  37. isnotfashion says:

    I picked it up today and it’s on now. I think that there’s an opi recent dupe.

  38. Catch Me In Your Net says:

    I’m surprised you like this one! Usually you can’t stand such noticeable brush strokes.

  39. Faye says:

    I bought in the store on Wednesday, and had a manicure with it Friday — I can confirm that it looks just as gorgeous in daylight as it does inside! Well done, Chanel.

  40. Lisa H says:

    Stellare Notte by Borghese may be very close. Black with green shimmer and purple shimmer in sunlight.

  41. Santica Labs says:

    This black pearl polish looks wonderful on you. Thanks for the post.

  42. Kitty says:

    Nice but I’ll pass on this one.

  43. Christy says:

    I can’t wait to see the other two colors!

  44. Patricia says:

    Holy mother of brush strokes, is it really very frosty? Pity, because it’s a beautiful colour… :(

  45. vinha says:

    I thought it was more black than green, now I’m surprised! Anyway it’s beautiful :)

  46. Courtney says:

    Have you ever done a tutorial on what you use to remove your nail polish or how to go about getting a good application? Out of all the beauty blogs I read, you by far apply polish the best. Do you nails get wrecked from all the polish?

  47. Corinne says:

    anyone know the free shipping code for Chanel?

  48. greenCerulean says:

    I’ll have to see pics of it in the daylight but that looks just like my Wet n Wild Morbid polish which I got for $1.99 I think. Couldn’t be farther from the nail polish cost spectrum.

  49. Anita says:

    Is this only available online or will it be available in stores? (i.e. Nordstrom)

  50. I am still undecided about this color. I think I like the name more than the actual product. Looking forward to seeing your day shots of it!

  51. Corinne says:

    This is available at Nordstrom now! I just picked up my bottle =) it’s SOOO pretty

  52. Mary says:

    I’m a huge fan of green polishes, so I like Black Pearl with its green shimmer. But I agree with the person above who said it looks like China Glaze’s Gussied Up Green.

    Never bought a Chanel polish before. I’d need to wait for a more unique colour before I splurge.

  53. Zemlet says:

    Even though I know this has a lot more character, it would be interesting to see how it compares with Illamasqua Snap.

  54. eva-k says:

    ohhhhhh….Luvn the black pearl! Definite must try.

  55. bluejinx says:

    These three are NOT limited edition. So no need to worry about sell outs! I got the black pearl and pearl drop and are just awaiting their arival.

  56. jess says:

    Neiman Marcus’ CUSP is selling them online at $18 w/ free shipping. It’s looking more and more tempting

  57. am says:

    does it look like OPI’s cuckoo for this color? in that lighting it certainly does

  58. Mary Perkins says:

    This is perfect for my new goth look. :)

  59. martha says:

    I think that I

  60. Blushful Betty says:

    I love the black pearl but I can’t wait to see the Pearl Drop one. I have OPI’s Pearl of Wisdom. I use a cream nail polish that matches my skin tone (like two coats OPI dulce de leche)and then one coat of pearl of wisdom. I love the subtle but beautiful effect!

  61. D says:

    I don’t think this color lived up to the name. Maybe if it was named Tahitian Pearl I’d be more impressed. Nice color, but I’ve seen similar/better for much less than $23 a bottle.

  62. Faith says:

    I have both a Cover Girl and a Sally Hansen polish that look extremely close to this. Chanel is such a rip-off.

  63. PrincessZmunda says:

    Looks a little to me like Sally Hansen’s Extreme Wear Gun Metal which is to die for! Although this is darker and more of a green base so maybe i’m off…..

  64. Marianne says:

    I was once an intern at Chanel, and after spending hours behind the makeup counter I was so turned off by Le Vernis… for over $20, I thought the colors were pretty average and found the formula to be thin and streaky.

    But, last week I gave it another shot with Black Pearl and I’ve completely changed my mind about Chanel polish. I’ve been so tired of short dark nails and found this color to be just as appropriate for the fashion set, but with an understated twist of the unexpected. The formula is great and the blue-green sheen is just delicious! I wore it to some job interviews in New York City and got lots of compliments friends and strangers alike… even a fabulous drag queen riding the N train at 3am said she liked my nails!

    As for the rest of the collection, Pearl Drop is very similar to Intermezzo, a shade that can be found in their permanent collection… it might just be slightly more opaque. I’m DYING to try P

  65. Emilie says:

    I like Black Pearl but I don

  66. Miss Cassandra says:

    I was a bit disappointed after seeing several swatch photos on this blog and others. In my issue of Vogue it looked like a really cool oil slick but on the nail it looks like a pearly green jade.

  67. Alisa says:

    How does Black Pearl compare to RBL Anne? I own Anne right now (she’s on my fingers as I type ;) and they seem somewhat similar to me. I sorta expected Black Pearl to be resemble an oil-slick puddle with a full-spectrum of colors reflecting.

  68. Chloe says:

    I was anxious to get Black Pearl as a must have for my collection…I have already spent a few bucks chasing the dupes, but I must say I still caved and bought the Chanel Black Pearl (CBP) when it finally hit the counter at my local department store. After I put it on I thought Sally Hansen Gunmetal (SHG) was an almost exact match, that being said I painted a few nails with each polish to test. The SHG runs a bit more grey and the CBP is on the green side. Black Pearl is definitely worth the money if you are a collector. If you don’t want to spend the money stay with the SHG but if you want to splurge you won’t be disappointed.

  69. Jaybelle says:

    Loved the Black Pearl and bought it right off the counter on first sight.
    …But I have to say I am disappointed by the lack of pigment and streakiness. It’s taken three coats + touch-ups to get a decent effect. Part of the problem is the unhelpful brush design – seen better on varnishes costing a couple of quid, against Chanel’s

  70. Ola says:

    Looks like Inglot #966 is almost exact dupe of Black Pearl. And it’s half of a price…

  71. Candy says:

    I find that Revlon’s “Black with Envy” looks very much the same… Not sure if it is an exact dupe, but for a quarter of the price, I gave it a shot.

  72. Wanda says:

    Do you think that Black Pearl now is call Perfecto???

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