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How Do I Choose the Best Nail Polish for Men?

Kay Paddock
Kay Paddock

The only difference typically found between nail polishes for women and men are in the popular colors and the way they are marketed. Nail polish for men is generally the same basic product as polish designed for women. The marketing for the men's polish is chiefly aimed at male consumers, using darker colors and masculine names. There are also types of men's nail polish without color that are designed to protect the nails and promote growth.

When choosing nail polish for men, you only really need to consider the color and whether the polish is designed for use as a base or top coat, or for nail health. Base coats are used to provide a smooth surface on the nail to help the color stick. Most colored polish should typically go on over the base coat. The colors can usually be found in shiny formulas; glittery and metallic finishes; or mattes, which are flat and without shine. You can choose whichever color and finish appeals to you, whether it is in a polish designed specifically for men or not.

Clear nail polish can protect and strengthen fingernails.
Clear nail polish can protect and strengthen fingernails.

The colors generally found in nail polish for men include blacks and dark shades that are often considered masculine. Any type of nail polish can be used by either men or women, however. Some tans or very soft pinks may be more appropriate for an understated male manicure. Bright, eye-catching colors can also be worn by men who want their manicure to be noticed. These types of colors may also be more appropriate for parties, clubs or special events.

Bright-colored nail polish can be worn by men who want their manicure to be noticed by others.
Bright-colored nail polish can be worn by men who want their manicure to be noticed by others.

Colored nail polish for men is considered a trend that is most commonly found in certain social or professional circles. People who dress in dark clothes and consider themselves goths may wear black, blood red or metallic-colored nail polish. Some rock bands and other types of musicians sometimes also paint their fingernails.

Some special polishes called top coats can be painted over the color to help it resist flaking or chipping. Most nail polish for men and women, however, can be used without a base or top coat and look perfectly fine as long as the nails are clean and smooth before it is applied. If you do not want colored polish, then you should be able to find clear polish designed to protect, strengthen, heal or promote nail growth. You may also get more out of any bottle of polish if you choose one that has a metal bead inside it. When you shake the bottle you should be able to hear the bead clicking inside and mixing the enamel to keep it from getting thick and harder to apply.

Women painted their nails in ancient times, with the earliest known manicures dating back to about 5,000 years ago. Ancient Egyptian males and females colored their fingernails to reflect their social status, so men using nail color is really nothing new. Men who wear nail polish today outside the goth or alternative communities may be considered "metrosexual." This term does not usually refer to actual sexuality; it typically means that a man can use products once thought to be just for women because he is more conscious of his appearance than men who do not use those types of grooming or beauty products.

Discussion Comments


Article was great for those of us that wear nail polish. My wife started taking me to get a pedicure and manicure and I go once a month. My toes are always polished with a lot of different colors, fingers occasionally depending on what I'm doing.. I wear flip flops with no hesitation. BTW my ears are double pierced.


I've been wearing it for years, almost always on my toes and often enough on my fingers. Colors I stick to are usually blues, greys, silvers, golds, some other dark colors that look good on men in general. Sometimes I will go with dark maroon or even off-whites etc. Now, after wearing since my teens, now in my 40's (and straight), I am at the point where I just don't care who sees or what anyone else says. I have no issues leaving the house for a week long vacation with bright blue toes and nothing but a pair of flip flops and open toed shoes.

The more of us that do it, the more normal I will become. Just like when guys started wearing long hair and sporting earrings! Let's finally take back some fashion item from the girls. Heck, they steal all our clothes!


I love wearing nail polish and I am a straight guy. I paint my toes and hands, I shave my body under arms and legs. I wear toe rings and an ankle bracelet. I also wear women's panties, women's jeans and women's shorts. I love my shorts because they are really short and show off my legs as well. I am also married and my wife loves my shaved body and painted nails. Dare to be yourself. It feels great. God bless.


I love nail polish. I'm a male and I also like to crossdress. But I wear my polish, earrings and feminine underwear all the time. I usually wear feminine and fancy colors on my toes. For my fingers, I tone it down with clear or nude French without the white tips. I also shape my eye brows and wear perfume. I prefer women's jeans and sometimes tops that look neutral. So while I like to express my feminine side, I am mostly just a plain boring dude. I have some women's shoes which I wear with my drab outfits and they fit and feel great. Every now and then, when I'm totally dressed in women's clothes and even with light lipstick I get compliments from other women. They can see that I'm a male, with an unusual side.

I'm very confident, but not trying to stand out too much. I'm 59 years old, and have been this way since childhood. It has nothing to do with sexuality. So I encourage any man who wants to try polish to go ahead and be bold. Go to a salon and get your toes done right, including a pedicure and some color. It is a rush and good body maintenance, and a simple bit of luxury and refinement. If you like it, you might try the same thing with your hands. I hope your S.O. appreciates and supports it. After all, men can usually use a bit more hygiene and body care. Go ahead and try it. You might not be like me, with all the other feminine aspects, but at least you'll come off a bit more of an individualist.

Mostly, be confident. If a woman compliments you, thank her and offer a return compliment. Be gracious to those who accept you. We all need to feel accepted.


I think it's great. I am in my mid-40's and have been wearing nail polish of all colors on my toes since college and my fingers occasionally. I see nothing wrong with it. It's the same as men wearing earrings in both ears or women getting tattoos.


I don't have anything against men wearing nail polish if that's what they want to do, but I can't see it becoming anything more than a niche market. I might consider applying a clear nail polish if my nails start getting brittle, or maybe a nude tone to even out white spots, but not black or metallic. That's a specific look for a specific age. I think it looks good on musicians and young Goth enthusiasts, but not on middle aged men like me.

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    • Clear nail polish can protect and strengthen fingernails.
      By: Lubos Chlubny
      Clear nail polish can protect and strengthen fingernails.
    • Bright-colored nail polish can be worn by men who want their manicure to be noticed by others.
      By: alenasikora
      Bright-colored nail polish can be worn by men who want their manicure to be noticed by others.