When I went to write an article on men’s nail polish, I was initially going to bash it.  All I could think of was the opening of the very first episode of Jersey Shore (big fan here) with the Situation going to get manicures and being all Situation-y about it.  Then I read up on it and found out that Seal and Zac Efron wear actual factual colored nail polish.  So does Johnny Depp!  And Adam Lambert!  Okay that one is not surprising at all.  But still.  Zac Efron?

There is a company out there called Alpha Nail that is pushing men’s nail polish, and they actually have a pretty smart way of marketing their products.  They reference the peacock.  If you didn’t know, the male peacock flashes his beautiful tail feathers to a female when he wants to mate.  Chris Aubrey Marcus, the creator of Alpha Nail, calls using nails to get women “peacocking.”  He also gives the clever idea of painting each hand a different color and using the painted nails as a conversation opener.  “Ask a girl which she likes better… you’re in the game,” says Marcus.

Then I thought for a minute.  If I wasn’t attached, and a guy came up to me with nail polish on and asked me which hand I liked better… well.  I probably wouldn’t think there was any possibility that he was hitting on me.  I’ll just put it that way.

People like Zac Efron and Seal and Johnny Depp might paint their nails, but they are Zac Efron and Seal and Johnny Depp!  They can do whatever they want!  It’s different and interesting when celebrities do strange things like wear meat dresses or change their hair color every five minutes, but it’s not like I am going to wear a meat dress to the mall or get my head shaved.  I still don’t think it’s acceptable in normal suburban (or even urban) society for men to use nail polish.  Men can get manicures, sure, that’s perfectly normal.  But painting their nails wacky colors?  I don’t know about that.

What do you guys think?

12 comments

  1. I am a straight 32 year old guy who has been painting my toes since I was about 12. I like blues, greys, and purples the most, and wear it openly when the weather is nice. My girlfriend and I are both nail polish fanatics and share our colors with each other. I couldn’t care less if anyone thinks its acceptable or unacceptable or gay or straight or whatever. I know the truth, which is that I wear it because I like the way it looks (and apparently, so does everyone who’s ever commented on it). Seal and Johnny Depp don’t just get a pass because they’re eccentric, sexy rock star types, they’re eccentric, sexy rock star types because they’re not afraid to be themselves and disregard conformity. Women that think they get to lay claim to certain fashion items need to do a little historical research and can forget about wearing pants, because pants are only for guys. I can’t tolerate polish on my fingernails, so I only do my toes. On my fingers, its annoying and seems too flashy. But my toes feel naked without polish!

    1. I’m a polish fanatic, too. I think men that care for their nails (hands or feet or both) are sexy and creative. I’m glad to hear about men who paint their toenails.

  2. Sure guys should get manicures – why not? Their nails get rough and need some care now and then to keep them healthy and attractive. And color? Some guys can certainly pull it off and it can look really decent when done tastefully.
    Now, what about guys getting pedicures with color? Absolutely! Guys feet typically look pretty bad (most women would agree) so keeping them in good shape is not only healthy and more attractive but helps prevent other issues like ingrown nails and fungus, etc.
    A guy can wear polish on feet too and it’s easier than on his hands because he can use discretion when he may want to wear it public ally and it lasts longer than on hands. Plus, there are more colors that seem to work for guys feet than hands.
    Also consider the men’s lines of polish from BB Couture, Man Glaze and Alpha Man too! It’s a style who’s time has come.

    Jake

  3. I’ve been married to a beautiful woman for 21 years, have two teenage sons, and don’t have a gay bone in my body (insert joke here). I’ve been going to the nail salon with my wife for about 3 years for manicures and started getting pedicures about 2 years ago at the suggestion of the husband of a client that is a construction worker. My wife loves that I take care of my hands and feet, and that I’m a bit eclectic. I’m a musician and photographer and have recently started doing product photography and hand modeling for the men’s line of nail polish from BB Couture for Men, who was the first to come out with a line of men’s nail polish. I wear polish 100% of the time. Most of the time it’s clear, sheer or a matte. I started wearing color on my hands this year, and what I have found is that most people either don’t notice, or say nothing. If they do say something it is either a positive comment or they are just inquisitive. I’ve seen blogs where other guys are getting bolder with colors. I still prefer the more masculine colors like blacks, dark grays and dark blues. Times are changing for the better. Just like long hair and earrings were once only a female thing, and tattoos, pants, voting and driving was a male thing, fashion options are becoming more readily available for guys–as it should be. I wear polish because it protects my nails and I like the way it looks.

    There are four companies I’m aware of that are marketing nail polish for guys: BB Couture, ManGlaze, Evolution Man and Alpha Nail. There are currently 313 million people in the United States with the split being about 50/50 male/female. The cosmetics industry is leaving a lot of money on the table by not trying to sell nail products to over 150 million males. It is a huge untapped market with only social stereotypes keeping them from increasing their revenue. As ManGlaze says, “We guarantee, it won’t make you grow tits”, and someone has posted many times on other blogs, “It’s NOT magic gay sauce”. Hang on…checking…YUP…still NOT gay.

  4. “Times are changing for the better.” So why are there still so few laws protecting against women getting raped and date-raped and why do women still get paid less than men even though there are supposedly laws against it? This is laughable. And I bet I’m an obnoxious feminist for posting this too, right? Ha.

    The fact that you guys think you are being discriminated against for wearing nail polish. You are men. You aren’t being discriminated against for anything (in terms of your sex). Also, this article mentioned things about women shaving their heads not being attractive either. It wasn’t singling out nail polish. Men are so entitled, and so funny! Literally, I laughed at these comments.

    1. Dear Autum:
      You are not an obnoxious feminist, at least not to me. I think that It is good that the comments made you laugh, because laughter is at least a second of happiness, and I noticed a little bit of anger in your comments. Discrimination comes in all forms…. gender, race, etc. Deep inside, we are all one, and we are all the same. We should all start by controlling our thoughts and anger. analyze less and feel more. You see, the problem lyes when some unconscious person makes some hurtful comment or observation on purpose to stir things up and another person grabs the hook and starts defending his or her point of view. Lets be constructive not destructive, we are all entitled to ones opinion, but lets do it with love not anger. I agree with you that we as men are not being discriminated. We just act out of FEAR. It is our own FEAR that limits us. If you think women are not getting payed equally, do something about it, and not only rave about it. Be constructive, creative and positive. If we as human beings were more conscious of our intentions, we would not need any laws. So we can all start by looking at the mirror. PEACE.

  5. as a guy who also likes his toes polished, for me it is about all people being able to do anything they want, without judgment, as long as it hurts nobody else in doing it. in today’s culture we wouldn’t dream of saying a woman couldn’t do something because she’s a girl, but men aren’t afforded that courtesy. the strong stereotyping of what men are supposed to be and do is so ingrained, yet by itself is not questioned as to whether it has any validity or not. there are of course stereotypes for women too, but because there is a deeper ingrained belief that women are frivolous anyway they get a more free pass on behavior. I don’t agree with that of course but I’m just reflecting on what I see.

    in any event, I like color and shine too, and I see no reason that merely because I’m a guy means I can not express what I like. makes no sense to me. I’m not asking for anyone to like it or not, all I’m asking for is that it’s merely accepted that this individual likes it, without a story of another meaning(s) as to why.

  6. I am a runner. And for those of you who may also run a lot, you know that you can often have issues with your toenails becoming discolored from the constant slap-slap-slap of your feet on the pavement. Well, my wife thought my toenails looked unattractive so she offered to paint them with a neutral color of nail polish that she had. The polish did a nice job of covering up the discoloration and thus I began wearing my toenails painted.

    And, running is also hard on my feet so I have had a few professional pedicures to help reduce the callouses and keep my feet looking and feeling good. Pedicures are great – if you are a guy and have never tried them before you are really missing out. I have even had a gray colored polish applied with a pedicure too for the same reason as stated above.

    So yeah, guys can wear nail polish. In my case, it helps make my feet look better and it just makes sense for me.

  7. I will add my vote “for” men wearing nail polish as well. I like the way my toenails look when polished they’re neat and clean looking and a little color really brightens them up too.
    What I really enjoy are the pedicures – wow, these are fantastic for relaxing and getting rid of rough, dry callouses and skin around your toes and heels. After I enjoy a pedicure, I feel like I am walking on about 2″ of foam rubber, my feet feel lighter and renewed.
    In case you are wondering, my wife convinced me to have my first pedicure over four years ago and though I didn’t try any polish for quite a while, it was inevitably suggested and I thought ‘what the heck?’. I’m glad I did too because it’s pretty cool.

  8. Just started painting my toenails, black, blue and green. Looks great, stay away from pinks and red, they look too feminine.

    blue and black alternate on each toe also looks good.

    don-t be afraid, do it, if you don’t like it, you can alway acetone it. Off.

  9. I read a reason why so many women turn up their noses at guys wearing polish is that because of the early 20th century marketing of how to be the ideal beauty for a woman. Prior to that the natural woman standard of beauty was the prevailing view. That was because while makeup certainly was around, only women of ill repute-the painted ladies wore it, certainly not respectable women. The marketers turned to all forms of makeup to greater that beauty that all women could achieve. Nail polish and lipstick being just a couple of them. It then became a women’s province to be seen as the ideal woman. So nailpolish was one of the tools to show that. It became so ingrained in that concept of an ideal woman that if men took on any of those tools women were highly incensed because to them it was a way of denigrating that goal and was a challenge to their power.

    Same thing with body shaving. Never done before the early 20th century and marketed by the blade companies especially to women because beards for men were so in fashion their sales had fallen off. So they created a new market. It appears that women were much more susceptible to claims by marketers but just for different reasons of course.

    I think there is merit to that, knowing how powerful marketing is in shaping our views. That also explains a lot about other products and differentiation by gender, even when it really is the same thing. And it also explains why there is no real logical answer to why a guy can’t or shouldn’t wear polish, or for that matter any normally used by women product. The answer is usually because only women do that and when you ask why there is no further explanation. But that’s because it was so ingrained for a particular reason that while the reason is lost it has just become accepted as the norm and reality. While in fact it is entirely made up and one can find easily the source of it if one chooses to look. I find this fascinating.

    So let’s be really honest here. There is so much more important in the world and nailpolish on guys is hardly in that category. Just a bit of color on an otherwise drab canvas. Has no connotation as shown above with sexuality. Really.

  10. Your question date back to 2012 so you need to update this site. Yes I do wear nail polish on my feet, have been done that for a few year and I have dark blue as color. During “Pride” week I saw several guys with nail polish and during the “Fringe” festival also a guy with nail polish on his feet. Those were the few exceptions. Beside nail polish I also wear a skirt but that is a long story.
    WE need to see more commercials with guys wearing skirts, nail polish and open up the so called dark side that is wrong for me to wear skirts or nail polish we have to remove that stigma.

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