Chanel Black Pearl Review & Swatch + Dupes & Creating a Frankenpolish!

By | February 15 2011 | 21 Comments

chanel black pearl

The dogs on the street know that Back Pearl, €21, from Chanel’s SS11 collection, is the latest must-have, oh-I-will-not-cannot-live-without polish shade from the brand.

Much nicer to my eyes than the muddy Paradoxal, which I could definitely take or leave, this is along the same lines – a greyed out multi-dimensional shimmer that catches the light differently depending on how you turn the bottle. It’s got sophisticated microshimmer and is dark enough to look elegant on nails.

chanel black pearl

S’lovely, I really really like it. But I haven’t really seen a dupe for it yet, though oh sure, there have been some suggestions: New York Lady’s blog suggested Essence Multi Dimension in Must have and Saloule reckoned one of the new Models Own shades, Black Swirl, was a fit. But nah, to my mind neither is right, there’s a lot of teal in Black Pearl that neither capture.

So I decided to see if I could recreate it myself, frankenpolish-stylee.

nail polishes

Digging through my polish box, here’s what I picked for mixing: Essence Multi Dimension in All Access, YSL La Laque in Stormy Grey, Revlon Emerald City, Dior Vernis in Black Sequins and Lancome Le Vernis in Pop Petrol.

chanel dupes

Before I even started to mix, I tried both the Essence and Lancome colours to see how they compared, as they were clearly the closest both in terms of tone and finish. While they’re both great shades that will give you a similar result, neither’s quite right, as you can see from the comparison with Black Pearl. I was pretty hopeful that mixing them might provide sexy results.


Didn’t work. In order to spare you a frankly boring series of pictures of minutely different nail swatches, here’s some of my mixing experiments.


The two on the right are a varying mix of Essence All Access, YSL La Laque in Stormy Grey, Dior Vernis in Black Sequins and Lancome Le Vernis in Pop Petrol. Quite quickly though I realised that there is a lot more grey in Black Pearl than I’d bargained for, so a new approach had to be taken.

On the left, looking rather different, is a combined blob of Revlon Emerald City, Dior Vernis in Black Sequins and YSL La Laque in Stormy Grey. This mix surprisingly delivered the closest match I could manage from the bottles I had to hand.

chanel black pearl dupe

Painted on a Broadway, here’s what I came up with. As you can see, it’s only really half-right.

chanel black pearl dupe

On the left, yeah, I could pat myself and my dupe on the back a little. Not a bad match at all. But once you change the way the light hits Black Pearl, my frankendupe falls flat on its one-dimensional arse. It’s dull, it hasn’t any of that lovely microshimmer Black Pearl’s got – probably because I’m not a master polish formulator and I’m working with a limited palette of finishes.

So, a fun experiement but I won’t be expecting a call from Peter Philips any time soon. Can anyone put me out of my misery and suggest a real honest-to-goodness dupe for the shade?

Face, Reviews , , , , , ,

21 Replies to "Chanel Black Pearl Review & Swatch + Dupes & Creating a Frankenpolish!"

  • Aifs says:

    I’m SO excited to try this at the weekend. BF did good – thanks to this site! ;) Apparently it was sold out in BTs but he got it in Arnotts with a few others. :D

    Does anyone own both Paradoxal and Barry M Dusky Mauve? I have DM and BF bought me Paradoxal. Thinking of using my gift receipt.

  • nua eabhrac says:

    you’re right, Black Pearl has a sort of x-factor quality that hasn’t been replicated yet by any other polish. your frankendupe is really well done though! you should set up a range of nail polishes ;)

  • Kirstie says:

    it’s the shimmer, the two dimensions and the grey that make it so hard to dupe I reckon. I am quite amazed neither Barry M nor Models Own have managed it yet!

  • Cazzy says:

    I picked up a shimmery dark grey essence, when I was in Dunnes to pick up a few bits for dinner the last day. I wonder would this and a bit of all access replicate it. Might have a try when I get a minute to myself.

  • Kirstie says:

    psst: for anyone interested, my ring is this feller:

    and it’s from here:*Bright-Eyes*-Rabbit-Ring/product_info.html

  • Aphrodite says:

    oooh fab post

    and fab bunny ring!

  • Daisydaisy says:

    I wonder if you mixed Gosh Ocean and a black together would that work…I have a swatch of Gosh Ocean on my thumb at the moment and looking at it, it has that shimmery green/teal look about it….hmmmmmm

  • Vividnod says:

    I think “Over the Top” by Essie is a pretty good match, but not an exact dupe. It’s a very dark grey with a shimmer, most descriptions say it is “gun metal grey”. I read elsewhere that other than the green shimmer you see with Black Pearl in certain lights, Over the Top is pretty close. I wore it last weekend and got a few compliments, which is always a good sign. I got it last year on Transdesign and immediately thought of it when I first saw swatches of Black Pearl.

  • Sarah says:

    Thats so odd, one of the girls was wearing this last night and I was oohing and aaahing over it. Good job on the dupe though!

  • Kirstie says:

    this is the essie one, gosh I have to say it’s not a match at all. No green at all there, by the looks of things? Or is this maybe just a bad pic?

  • SJP's Missing Mole says:

    This immediately rang a bell with me. There’s one called Black Pearl by a little-known brand called Savina, and you can get it on for (I just checked) $2.68.

    Do a Google Image search – it’s veerrrrry similar. But I don’t own it myself so can’t be sure. I remembered it cos I it was in my shopping cart at one stage. But then I guess my fickle self bumped it out for something else. Regretting it now!

  • Vividnod says:

    “Over the Top” looks darker in real life. Oh well, I thought it was an ok match for the Chanel one, but yes there is no green in it.

  • Kirstie says:

    this is the savina one – hmm, not bad, not bad… a little more iridescent than Chanel

  • sweetie says:

    Hmmm, I’m liking this Savina baby more than Chanel!!:)

    At the moment I have a TopShop polish on, one of their winter collection polishes,looks nearly black in a bottle with green/purple duo chrome shimmer. SO pretty, looks like a back of a bug. Ladies, id highly recommend all the polish lovers to check it out while the collection is in stores. Pure beauty, have spent a lot of time staring at my nails in the last two days:)) will check the label once home and report on the name/number. Can’t comment on a staying power as I’m taking it off today after two days – time for a change;)

  • Danielle says:

    Oh I love this. I normally wouldn’t spend that much on a nail varnish, but it might be worth it for that colour

  • CherrySue says:

    TopShop for nail varnishes? What are you doing to me Sweetie?! :)

  • sweetie says:

    CherrySue, just think of me sitting on your left shoulder wisperring ‘Get one in Lead!!!!’ That’s the name of the color I have – it’s absolutely stunning, me thinks:))

  • carky says:

    Ah Sweetie you are killing me…I will Have To Go to Topshop tomorrow to see can I get it! Have serious polish addiction..

  • Eilis says:

    “Does anyone own both Paradoxal and Barry M Dusky Mauve?”

    Yes, I do. I think Dusky Mauve is the best dupe I’ve ever seen for anything. I’m waiting to see if Barry M can do the same with Black Pearl!

  • LuLuBabe says:

    This is gorgeous. I think I may have to have it, though I have a real problem with the chippiness/peeliness of Chanel polishes.

Leave a Reply

Content © and partners