Product Review: Clinique A Different Nail Enamel in Black Honey

Saturday, September 28, 2013
After having my only experiences with high end nail polishes be negative (Chanel = gorgeous but obscenely short lived, and Dior = just plain horrible), I've kind of sworn off buying any nail lacquer outside of the drugstore. The only two reasons that I actually ventured out of my allowed budget with this polish were that a) I was wondering about how this was such "a different nail enamel" from others, and b) I needed to tip my Clinique purchase over the $25 mark in order to get the really rad sample set for free. Probably not the best reasons ever, but I digress.

One teeny tiny note about the packaging before we go forth into the world of lacquer; I consider myself to be a bit of a minimalist, but this packaging is a little too minimalist. It has some weight to it, but aesthetically it looks cheaper than cheap. Not a fan. The brush is fine, I don't fumble with the lid, everything is perfectly functioning, but I just look at the bottle and I want to doze off.

Naturally I went with the darkest creme finish from the line, a.k.a Black Honey, because those are pretty hard to screw up and my beloved Essie Carry On needed to be retired due to old age. By my understanding, the shade Black Honey is kind of a legend when it comes to the Clinique line since I've had a few friends rave about it (hello, Molls), and it's a shade found in various forms in the makeup line. I'm kinda seeing why this blackened berry is so popular! Three coats of this beauty creates a suuuper deep shade that is more interesting than straight up black, but more demure than an obvious dark berry.

Besides being that certain shade of irresistible vampiness that seems to linger on my nails FAR after the cold weather has left, does this nail polish actually stack up to it's $12.50 price tag? Find out after the jump:

Clinique claims that this polish, along with pretty much every freaking thing they produce, is for sensitive skin. After further investigation, the "for sensitive skin" claim is basically about how it's easy on the eyes... as in if you somehow get this stuff in or around your little ocular balls, it won't make them itch, sting, or water. Oooooookay. I make a pretty big point of not using my polish as eye drops, but I appreciate the concern here, Clinique.

As for the quality of the formula, I would say that it's not anything super duper remarkable. It's pretty standard to be completely honest, but it does have a few perks. It's a bit sheer and streaky with the first application, smooths out a bit with the second, and is fully opaque with a third. Normally, I'm used to my dark cremes being fully opaque after two coats, but I'm willing to overlook the extra effort because the drying time on this sucker is above anything else I have in my arsenal at the moment. It's not Seche Vite status, but I was able to adjust my pants a few minutes after 3 somewhat thick coats with no smudging. Niiiice! One little negative point is that the longer the brush is exposed to air, the thicker the product gets, so this is one of those lacquers that requires frequent re-dipping. Another problem that comes from this being a darker shade is that it will end up staining the cuticles and fingers if you're not some polish applying magician. You can reference the swatch picture above to see this since it's pretty evident on my rather trashed cuticles. And yup, I did clean up my mani... twice. Thankfully the skin staining goes away after a good long shower or a very ambitious hand scrubbing. Surprisingly, this doesn't stain nails!

The wear test for this kinda blew my mind. Unfortunately it's probably a little skewed since I was on autopilot when I was doing my nails and used a top coat (d'oh!), but no base coat was used. Let me just start out by saying that I'm pretty hard on my nails. I'm a bit of a neat freak when it comes to my abode and I spend about 6 hours a week cleaning my own tiny apartment. I also spend, on average, 4.5 hours a day either with my hands in non-breathable nitrile gloves (hellooooo prune fingers) or handling chemicals since my job requires it. Normally nail polish can make it a good 2 days WITH a top coat and base coat before completely deteriorating. This little dude managed to make it from Saturday morning until Tuesday evening with absolutely no damage... then I went to work and got a 3 tiny chips on my left ring, middle, and pointer fingers. Somehow my dominant hand managed to get away unscathed.

Color me impressed! Also, don't mind the cuticles. Like I said; 4.5 hours in hot, sweaty gloves and doused in chemicals a DAY.

TL;DR Section:

Price: $12.50

Size: 0.3 fl. oz./9 mL

Availability:, Clinique counters, Sephora, and

  • Gorgeous "goes with anything" shade
  • Pretty fantastic drying period
  • Lovely glossy finish
  • Even appearance, both in texture and in color, after application
  • Excellent wear time 
  • Able to withstand pretty substantial nail abuse
  • Doesn't stain nails
  • Takes a few coats for full opacity/uniformity
  • Gets goopy if the brush is not frequently returned to the bottle
  • Stains cuticles and skin, even after clean up

Cruelty Free: No. 

I do really like this shade. It's actually become my essential Fall shade for this year! While I'm impressed with the wear time and several other aspects, I'm a little turned off due to it's higher price, skin-staining tendencies, and multiple coat requirement. Unless I run out of Black Honey, or if there is a shade that I absolutely 110% need, I probably won't pick anything else up from the line. It's good, but I'm too cheap to drop $12.50 on a nail polish on the regular.

Overall Rating: 8/10


  1. THE COLOR THO. bootaful. I probably won't buy this polish, but I've always wanted the Black Honey Almost Lipstick and Creme Liner.

    1. If you ever need to treat yo self, I'd definitely recommend. :)

  2. I basically just want this because its part of the whole Black Honey line, but its good to know that it doesn't suck!

    1. I was pleasantly surprised! Like... really surprised. The only major wear that started was after handling wall detergent used to strip grease off of industrial kitchens with out gloves.

  3. It's really pretty, but I agree the packaging is kind of blah. But...cliniques packaging is blah to me anyways. BUT YOUR NAILS LOOK GORGEOUS : )

  4. According to my dermatologist, nail polish can cause an eye allergy that causes red itchy and swollen eyes. This has nothing to do with the product touching the eyes or getting in the eyes. I have not been able to wear nail polish for years because of this allergy, but I CAN wear this new Clinique polish.


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