Sometime last summer I decided black polish and black sandals must look pretty fabulous together, so I went and bought Essie Licorice and loved it. Now, I've sort of sought out blacks within my favorite brands, and I know there are variations, even amongst the pure blacks, so I thought I'd swatch the three I own side by side.
I've got Butter London Union Jack Black on my ring, Essie Licorice on my middle, and Zoya Raven on my index. I've said it before; black polish is harder to apply than red lipstick, even with Zoya's amazing formula. Um, maybe it's just me.
Union Jack Black, Licorice, Raven
Raven is clearly the standout, appearance-wise. It's not as rich and has a satiny finish due to some micronized silver bits, making it the most elegant of the three. I almost can't tell a difference between the Essie and the Butter, but Union Jack Black's got a slight shine and richness edge, making it the most risque.
Zoya's formula can't be beat; Raven had the best dry time of the three, as well as being the most unique. Union Jack Black was slightly easier to apply than Licorice, and dried faster as well, with no pulling when I applied my topcoat. Licorice pulled just a smidge. Maybe you don't need both the latter (I do, though) depending on what exactly you're after in a black polish. If I did nail art I would designate Licorice for that; the other two are the better stand alone colors.
I'll stick with Licorice for my pedicures, the patent-leathery Union Jack Black when I want some edge without the forwardness of a red, and satiny Raven will be my LBD polish. No one else may be able to tell the difference, but I will. ;)