OPI Black Shatter Review & Swatches

OPI Black Shatter SwatchesI listen to a wide variety of music. Scroll through the songs of my iPod and you’ll find everything from T.I. to Emm Gryner and The Raveonettes to The Kills. And, yes, Katy Perry’s also in the mix.

When I first heard about the OPI Katy Perry Collection, I had an internal freak out. I neeeeeeded it, but especially OPI Black Shatter, because I missed out years ago on CoverGirl’s crackle polish.

Redemption was at hand. Or so I thought. On the day of its release, it sold out everywhere. And fast!

Had it not been for my co-worker, Karen, this review wouldn’t have been possible. She performed the miracle of miracles and located a store that still carried all the colors in the Katy Perry OPI collection! (Many thanks to her for feeding my addiction!)

Is OPI Black Shatter polish worth all the hype? How easy is it to apply? There’s only one way to find out!

OPI Black Shatter Pictures

OPI Black Shatter Polish

OPI Black Shatter Pictures

OPI Black Shatter Cap

OPI Black Shatter Bottle

OPI Black Shatter Ingredients

OPI Black Shatter Swatches

Unless stated otherwise, all swatches have:

OPI Black Shatter Swatches


OPI Black Shatter Swatch


OPI Black Shatter Swatch


OPI Black Shatter Swatch


OPI Black Shatter Swatches

Artificial Light

OPI Black Shatter Nail Polish Swatches

Flash & Without Top Coat

OPI Black Shatter Over China Glaze Blue Sparrow Swatches


OPI Black Shatter Swatch


OPI Black Shatter Swatches

Artificial Light

OPI Black Shatter Nail Polish No Top Coat

Flash & Without Top Coat


√ Deep, asphalt black

√ Creates a shattered texture

Key Notes

  • Name: OPI Black Shatter
  • Collection: OPI Katy Perry Collection 2011
  • Colors in OPI Katy Perry Collection: Black Shatter, Teenage Dream, Last Friday Night, The One That Got Away & Not Like the Movies
  • OPI Shatter Polishes Available: Black Shatter, Silver Shatter, Red Shatter, White Shatter, Turquoise Shatter, Blue Shatter & Navy Shatter
  • Amount: 15 mL
  • What I Paid: $9.95 CAD
  • Where to Buy: Trade Secrets & various salons & beauty-supply stores

OPI Black Shatter Review


This truly is an asphalt black. Totally reminds me of the pavement because it dries matte and textured.

(You’ll definitely need to slick on a coat of shiny top coat to protect it from flaking off or chipping and to smooth it out so it’s not as lumpy…unless you want to keep the texture. But I think the crackle effect looks exponentially better when it’s shiny – adds definition!)


OPI Black Shatter is very thick and doesn’t apply smoothly. But that’s okay because creating the crackle effect doesn’t require perfect nail coverage as I discovered while experimenting.

It dries extremely fast, so don’t go over the same polished area more than once. I made that mistake on my middle finger, and the crackle pattern changed.


Before applying the OPI Black Shatter top coat, you must wait for your base color to dry completely. (For these swatches, I used China Glaze Blue Sparrow, which I previously reviewed.)

Work quickly with the top coat. You may think that it goes on really thick and uneven (it does), but just go with it. You don’t have to cover your entire nail perfectly like you would with regular polish. Remember, the polish is going to shrink and crackle so you see some of the base color.

Within seconds, you can see the crackling take place. It’s pretty fun to watch. And I love how each nail doesn’t have a symmetrical crackle design – every manicure you do with this will be utterly unique!

Depending on the direction you apply Black Shatter by OPI, you can achieve different effects:

  • Vertical Crackle (as shown in my swatches): Apply from cuticle to tip
  • Horizontal Crackle: Apply left to right
  • Slanted Crackle: Apply in a zig-zag
  • Random Crackle: Dot it in sections instead of swiping

You can also vary the size of your crackling:

  • Wide Crackle: Apply a thick layer (good if you want to see less of your base color)
  • Narrow Crackle: Apply a thin layer (good if you want to see more of your base color)

Base Color Suggestions

I used a vibrant blue jelly polish with blue glitter so it would contrast against OPI Black Shatter. While I do like how it turned out, in dim light, you can’t see the design as well.

So if you’re looking for a bam-in-your-face contrast, I suggest using a neon, pastel, or holo polish underneath. And if, like me, you dig the contrast between glitter and non-glitter, go for it! There are so many fun combinations. Can’t wait to try it out more. And when I do, I’ll keep adding swatches to this post.

Top Coat Suggestions

I used 2 coats of Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat to try to smooth out the texture. As you can see from my swatches, it’s still a bit bumpy. My base color (China Glaze Blue Sparrow) dries matte and gritty, and OPI Black Shatter dries matte and lumpy.

Both of these polishes soak up top coat like it’s thirsty for more. I’ve read on other blogs that the best thing to do is to use a regular clear top coat and then a fast-drying one over that. Plus some people have polish-shrinkage problems if they use more than 1 coat of Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat. (I never do, but this is something that varies from person to person.)


Thought that the handle had the crackle graphic painted on, but when I saw it in person, it’s actually just a sheath over the regular OPI handle. I was a little disappointed, but that’s a minor complaint.


  • Creates a unique shattered effect
  • Can be paired over many colors for lots of different looks
  • Can be applied horizontally, vertically, in a zig-zag, etc. to achieve a different crackle effect
  • Dries quickly
  • No DBP, toluene, formaldehyde, or formaldehyde resin

  • Dries matte (requires a shiny top coat to seal it & to avoid peeling/chipping)
  • Hard to find (temporarily sold out almost everywhere)

Final Verdict: 9/10

While the formula is harder to work with than I’m used to, it isn’t impossible. But to achieve this cool crackled effect in seconds makes the extra effort worth it.

Highly recommend you try OPI Black Shatter if you want to bring an edgy look to your nails and if you want to sport a unique manicure.

What do you think about the crackle nail-polish trend? Love it or shove it?

And have you tried any of China Glazes Crackle Collection that features crackle polishes in colors other than black? (I ordered it, so it should get here any day!)

Check out my other swatches of the OPI Katy Perry Collection:

Check out other crackle polishes I’ve swatched & reviewed:


8 thoughts on “OPI Black Shatter Review & Swatches

  1. O

    This was very helpful. I bought all of the China glaze crackle polishes & I’m not sure that I like em. I think I’m gonna take most of them back & just keep the black asphalt one for fun. But, I’m not sure I like the cracked trend.

    1. Mary Post author

      You’re very welcome. 🙂 Black Shatter is fun to play around with – can’t wait to try them over different colors.

      Yeah, I’ve noticed that a lot of people either love or hate the crackle trend. There’s no in-between. I like it because it’s a little messy and edgy.

      I bought all of the China Glaze Crackle polishes, too. Haven’t received them yet in the mail though. I’m really excited about trying different-color crackle polishes. It’s probably because I missed out on the CoverGirl crackle polish from way back, and I’m overcompensating…hehe.

  2. feli

    i might say that my black shatter is too thick. i want to add polish thinner to black shatter. but i’m afraid to ruin the whole crackle feature 🙁

    1. Mary Post author

      My bottle is thick, too, but I think crackle polishes are supposed to be goopy like this for it to work. It’s a bit tricky to apply, but what I do like about it is that even if you put it on all messy, you can’t really tell that you did a rush job since all the cracks are random.

      (If anyone’s reading this and has one that has a thin formula, please let us know.)

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Reena!

      Yes, I’ve still seen it around, but it’s realllly hard to track down now in stores because everyone seems to snatch bottles of it up when they see it. Of course, eBay has them with the prices jacked up, but maybe someone’s selling it for a reasonable price.

      And don’t worry about being ‘late’ with this trend. Sally Hansen is going to come out with a bunch of crackle polishes, and China Glaze has metallic-crackle ones lined up. Plus Barry M has some, and I’m sure many other brands will put out their own version of it. Even if you can’t find OPI Black Shatter, I’m sure you’ll be able to find a good substitute. 🙂

      Yes, neon pink and the black will look hot! Do you think you’ll be getting any of the colorful crackle polishes or just the black one?

  3. Maureen Marquez

    I am completely disappointed with this product. I’ve had it for about 2 months and the first few applications were perfectly fine. As time went on and the longer and longer this nail polish sat in my collection it turned EXTREMELY CLUMPY AND DRY. Right now it is at the consistency of dried play dough. I am so disappointed in this product considering i paid almost 9 dollars for this bottle of nail polish! This was my first OPI purchase, and this experience makes me not want to purchase any OPI products in the future.

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Maureen!

      Oh, I’m sorry to hear that your bottle dried up so fast – 2 months is definitely not acceptable! But don’t let it put you off buying other OPIs – Shatters tend to be thicker than regular OPI nail polishes. I doubt you’d experience that thickening effect with the regular polishes.

      You can salvage your Shatter. Have you tried putting a few drops of nail-polish thinner in it? You can bring it back to life and make it useable again.

      And I’m thinking that maybe there’s something with the handle and it doesn’t tighten enough. As long as you tightly close the bottle after each use, I don’t think any polish should end up like dried Play Doh.


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