Men wearing nail polish
In this article, I will describe the fears that men might have when wearing nail polish for the first time. Then discuss some mechanisms to feel comfortable wearing nail polish in public and which jobs may allow you to wear nail polish.
My personal experience in wearing nail polish as a man?
I have been wearing gel nail polish for more than 3 years since I started to learn how to be a nail technician. I do cycle a lot and I noticed my toe nails getting damaged from friction caused by my boots. I found out that gel polish pedicure helped in protecting the toe nails. This was my initial reason for wearing it. Since I was wearing it also on my finger nails, I was getting compliments by women who were open minded about men wearing nail polish; I only recall one negative comment by a Greek student at the beginning saying that it looked too femenine (ok I had a bright teal at the time) although she didn't say it to me personally. This is due IMHO, to cultures and groups of people where males are seen as a symbol of manliness and dominance (gender stereotype), hence, adopting nail polish could be viewed as being femenine or perhaps, weakness. In my view, those who decide to adopt this type of thinking IMO is rather narrow minded as times move on (but each to their own - live and let live, bla bla bla). In today's society, a man needs to be bold enough to wear nail polish and I wouldn't view it necessarily as neither weak nor femenine (ofcourse, this depends on colour, length and choice of shape).
How did I first start?
To gain confidence, you must get rid of the belief that you will be ridiculed. Let me tell you, there are men who do want to wear it, but don't for many reasons; either because of work, an unsupportive family or just that they lack the confidence.
Start by wearing a clear polish or a nude colour for a few days in public. This will get you used to nail polish and wearing it outside. In a few weeks, your confidence will grow. Don't make silly excuses why you are wearing it. If someone asks, say that you like it. If they don't like it, they can express their opinion as this is a free world, but not for you to take heed.
When you have grown in self confidence, take the next step in choosing a nail polish that will suit you. You can either consult a colour wheel and study colour theory, or you can visit a qualified nail technician who can advice you in colour choices. They won't discriminate you or negate a service if you are a man. Furthermore, a nail tech will do a better job in the beginning as polishing one's nails and doing a manicure or pedicure requires skill and practice. There is nothing worse as showing off a bad manicure; it is better to have a professionally done manicure or pedicure than having a bad one.
Deciding on which colour nail polish
Each person has a preferred colour, this is determined by the skin undertones. For example, green veins would denote a warm colour choice palette whereas blue or purple veins would denote colder colours. Skin tone also dictates which colour would suit you. If you have a white skin tone, then pastels may be better whereas darker colours will suit darker skin tones. My preference has always been blue and green during the winter as my skin is neutral; it's a light tan in winter but I get a dark tan in summer which is when I opt for brighter colours.
Which jobs allow nail polish?
It is understandable that in some professions, nail polish is forbidden for specific reasons. For example, in nursing, there are guidelines for nurses not to have nail polish depending on where they work due to hygiene reasons.
Others like the I.T sector, some offices and research and development areas may be relaxed and this would be a good opportunity for you to polish your nails. Just remember, if there is a uniform policy, follow it.
Personally, I did get an interview for a job and I did get asked "why the nails". I did explain that it wasn't just for cosmetic reasons. I did get an offer in the end, but I refused it.
Making a statement
Some people decide to polish their nails to make a statement. This makes people around them ask questions like, "why did you polish your nails?". Some might say, "I decided to because I like it", or "I don't follow norms". In the BBC, there is an article here that describes why police officers opted to paint their nails in order to provoke conversation ablout modern day slavery. Slavery can happen anywhere, but the point is to talk about slavery in nail bars around the UK were people are being brought from other countries and forced to work in sub-standard conditions in nail bars. In the end, those who suffer are the employees and the clients who receive sub-standard nail treatment usually at a fraction of the price that other nail salons charge.
Places in the world where men have their nails done
There is an article video by the BBC and article here about men doing their nails in Colombia and explains why they do it. Enjoy.
The fears of men wearing nail polish?
The main problem with men wearing nail polish is that of public perception; men should not wear nail polish because they are sold for women only. This is absolute nonsense for a few reasons.
Nail polish can change your style
Adding colour to your nails can enhance your style of clothing either wearing complimentary colours or nail art to make a statement.
Nail polish can be therapeutic
If one is tired of looking always the same, a simple addition of nude colour (or any colour) can enhance one's self confidence when showing a fresh manicure in the public.
It's made for women
Not really, it is true that women are the major consumers, but as soon as men become a major consumer, nail polish manufacturers will be hard pressed to redesign their lines of polishes with masculine names and finishes. There are already companies that opt for a neutral approach which is even better IMHO. Look at it this way, it is a chemical base with coloured pigments - the same as what you get in a tattoo. The good thing is you can take it off whereas a tattoo is permanent. There are lots of nail polish colours and finishes that men can choose from glossy to matte finishes.
You will be laughed at
Not in your face unless they have the guts to be rude. There will be a few giggles, (people will giggle for almost anything you wear nowadays) so don't let them dictate what you wear.