Why Do Guys Wear Black Nail Polish?

These days it’s not uncommon to see men wearing black nail polish, which has led to some of you asking,” Why do guys wear black nail polish?”. 

The reasons behind this black nail polish trend are as varied as all the men expressing themselves this way, so we have researched this topic and compiled a fun and comprehensive guide to answer this question once and for all. 

Keep reading to discover not only the reasons for the trend of guys wearing black nail polish but also the interesting history of guys and their relationship with nail polish. 

What This Article Covers:

What Does Black Nail Polish On A Man Symbolize?

Firstly, what does black nail polish symbolize? It can mean different things to different people, but generally, this color is said to symbolize strength, confidence, power. These are traditionally seen as “masculine'' traits, so it is not surprising that men choose to wear this color. 

Long seen as exclusively for women, nail polish, as well as other cosmetics, are making their way into men’s grooming sessions. And when it comes to their nails, a growing number of men worldwide are choosing to express themselves with black nail polish. 

what does it mean when guys wear black nail polish

Why Do Some Men Choose To Wear Black Nail Polish?

Okay, so men like to wear black to show strength and confidence, but why on their nails? Do guys like nail polish? Isn’t nail polish a feminine thing? Actually, there’s no reason why men can’t adorn themselves with nail polish and other cosmetics to express themselves. 

It may be seen as something meant for women, but many men throughout the ages up until the present day have chosen to accessorize themselves with cosmetics that women now claim as “theirs”. We’ll get to that in a moment. 

What Does It Mean When A Guy Wears Nail Polish?

do guys wear black nail polish

While many people try to infer something about what your nail polish says about you and wonder about a man’s sexuality or gender identity when they see a guy with black-painted nails, this is not always accurate. 

Some men are making a statement about their gender identity with this trend, but not all men paint their nails for this purpose. It may surprise you to learn that men painting their nails black was, in fact, the ultimate masculine trend in ancient times.

When Did Men First Start Wearing Nail Polish? 

Black nail polish on men is not a new phenomenon. There have been numerous reasons through the ages why men choose to paint their nails black. In fact, men were the first to embrace this style of adornment.

And as if that is not amazing enough, the very first men to paint their nails black were ancient warriors. Yes, you read that right. Warriors painted their nails. 

So let’s take a look at the reasons why men wore black nail polish in the past, and why they do it today. Some of these may surprise you. 

What Were The Reasons That Men Painted Their Nails Black In The Past?

They Were Rockstars. (or Punks or Emos)

During the late ‘70s and most of the ‘80s, many men in the music industry sported this look. And not just heavy metal rock stars, but also members of the punk and later the “goth” or emo sub-cultural groups kept this look alive.

They Were Rebels

The reason behind the trend of those years was to express individuality and nonconformity. It was the sign of rebellion.

They Were Snobs

Ancient Babylonian men in 3500 BC applied kohl to their fingernails. Kohl was one of the earliest cosmetics and was available in a variety of colors. These guys displayed their social status in this way, and black nails were seen as a sign of higher status. 

Egyptian women and men were also coloring their nails in 3000 B.C. Like the Babylonians, the colors they chose signified their social status.

They Were Warriors

The first “manicures” were for military men. This form of war paint was used to intimidate rivals, as Babylonian soldiers painted their nails black or green before going into battle. 

Ancient Inca warriors also adorned themselves in this way before going into battle and even incorporated the first known examples of nail art. 

Why Are Men Wearing Black Nail Polish Today?

Okay, but why are guys painting their nails black today? Besides being an expression of artistic and creative tendencies, or channeling their inner Babylonian warrior, a guy may wear black nail polish for one of the following reasons.

He’s A Rock Star 

Many popular male singers, musicians, artists, and other celebrities wear nail polish, and black is the most common color chosen. 

He’s Into Fashion

Nail polish is now seen as a gender-neutral trend, especially among guys from Gen Z.

 why guys are wearing black nail polish

He’s Making a Statement About Gender Identity

This could mean two things. The guy in question may be showing his support for the LGBTQ community and supporting gender-neutral initiatives, or he could be proudly stating his own gender neutrality.

Many people wrongly assume that this is the only reason why guys would wear nail polish, but in fact, it is only one of several possible reasons.

He’s Bored or Curious

During the pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns, many men found themselves sitting at home with nothing to do. Seeing their wives and girlfriends paint their nails, they might have been persuaded to try it because no one else could see them.

He’s Remembered His Past Life As A Warrior

Some guys discovered that they liked this look, and once they could venture outside again, they kept doing it. Of course, these guys may have remembered their past lives as Babylonian or Inca warriors. We can’t rule that out. Anything’s possible. 

He’s a Modern Day Warrior (Fighting For Children's Rights)

Why Do Guys Paint Their Nails Black

The Polished Man Campaign positively uses the conflict between our expectation of gender norms and the reality of gender identity, to raise people’s awareness about child abuse and child mortality around the world. 

Men and boys worldwide have shown their solidarity with this cause by wearing black nail polish on one finger. This is their way to open up the conversation about the fight against the abuse of children. And we salute these modern-day heroes.

How Do Girls Feel About Guys Wearing Nail Polish?

Do Girls Like It When Men Wear Black Nail Polish?

With many girls painting their guys' nails for fun, it seems they have no problem with this trend. We should note, though, that this is more common among younger people. It can even be seen as a bonding experience, and that makes it all the more awesome. 

What Other Nail Polish Colors Do Men Like To Wear?

Now that we’ve established that guys can and do wear nail polish and that they favor black, the next question is: “Besides black, what nail polish color do guys like?” 

Black is the most popular choice amongst guys, but they also favor gray, silver, and other metallic colors, as well as more neutral shades of darker blue or even green. But more artistic types may go for bolder color choices, depending on their fashion sense and work environment.

why guys wear black nail polish

In Conclusion

So, there you have it. There are many reasons why guys wear black nail polish. And for some guys, there may be more than one of these reasons why they choose to paint their nails black.

Whether it’s an expression of a creative personality, an occupational fashion choice, a worthy cause, or just for fun; we think it’s a great trend and we’re totally in support of it.

So ladies, and guys, be bold in Orly’s range of black nail polish. We’ll help you make that statement. In style.

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