Men who paint their nails are nothing new, and in recent years, more and more frequently it has become the norm to see a man with a manicure. According to Spate, in the United States, the term “men” is searched on Google alongside “manicurists” on average 11.5,000 times per month, with growth of 24.4% since last year. Online retailer LookFantastic also reported a recent 457% increase in searches for “men’s manicures,” as well as a 3,329% increase in searches for “easy male nail art.” mainstream, or just a fad?

Originating in 3000 BC. By the 1800s, manicures had become predominantly feminine, worn to signify cleanliness. A few years later, bottled nail polish surfaced. Inspired by automobile painting, clear nail polish was introduced in 1916, with Revlon being the first to introduce colored versions in 1932. When socialites and actresses began painting their nails frequently, manicures were considered a priority. affordable luxury for all, eventually spreading for any class to access, although still predominantly female.

At the end of the 20th century, many women painted their nails and added delicate patterns. However, the more daring men painted their nails as much as the women, usually worn to show that one was involved in a particular subculture. From goths and glam rockers to skateboarders and punks, figures like David Bowie, Prince, Kurt Cobain and Freddie Mercury regularly sported male manicures. Yet the look was still considered reserved for subversive men due to the female association of manicurists. These men steered society towards greater freedom of expression, showing that there are many ways to express masculinity outside of societal norms.

Then came the metrosexual, typically a straight man who liked to spend his money on himself, go shopping, and pay close attention to his appearance. Hailing from the early 2000s, the metosexual man enjoyed a moment of buff nails with no color or pattern – nails that were simply smooth, clear and neat. This new beauty movement has grown year after year, and in 2013 the first nail salon specializing in men’s manicures, Hammer and Nail, opened in Los Angeles. In 2015, Hammer and Nail licensed unique hand and foot care stores in over 40 states.

Move on to 2017, when the male manicurist developed a new character when Denma Gvasalia, chief designer at Balenciaga, hired the Mei Kawajiri manicurist for the Balenciaga fall / winter 2017 runway show. Kawajiri was famous for the intricate portraits she created on tiny keratin webs, shared with her cult Instagram followers. She decorated each model’s nails with shiny Balenciaga logos for the runway. Over the following months, as a result of the show, Kawajiri developed a long list of prestigious clients including A $ AP Ferg and Marc Jacobs, with 80% of clients being fashionable young men. According to men’s nail influencer Jose Portes, “a manicure is one of the tools that make you look cool, like tattoos, body piercings, or makeup.”

Following the growing trend, several companies have adapted to the idea of ​​male manicures as personal care and freedom of expression. In 2019, Umar ElBably and Fenton Jadgeo founded Faculty, a men’s beauty brand selling vegan nail polish with the aim of encouraging consumers to define masculinity on their own. The brand worked with TikTok star Lil Huddy and opened the market for Gen Z, raising $ 3 million in seed funding, led by The Estée Lauder Companies.

A Miraval group in partnership with Study Logic LLC found that more than half of men between the ages of 18 and 64 now engaged in self-care acts such as spa and salon trips and mindfulness, once considered mostly female. Today in New York City, Amy Ling Lin Sundays nail salon offers Menicure Mondays, a service where men get 20% off treatments on Mondays to entice them to become frequent customers. Ling Lin, who believes personal care should become more inclusive, says that since Menicure Mondays started, she has seen a 15% increase in the number of male clients.

Described as no longer a trend for the rebellious man, but rather a “gateway drug to beauty experimentation and self-expression” by Claire Vega, beauty manager at WGSN, it seems that the male manicurist does not. not intend to go back into the shadows, but instead become more normalized. As the genderless nail scene continues to grow, the global nail polish market is expected to grow into an $ 18 billion opportunity by 2027. To keep you in the present, here are the latest brands of men’s manicure:


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