• What do David Bowie, Marc Jacobs and Harry Styles have in common? These three celebrities in their time, displayed varnish on their nails and participated in redefining the codes of masculinity.
  • Cheryl Gava, founder of natural nail polish brand Orijinal, deciphers the reasons that motivate men to put on nail polish.
  • Lucas, Wesley, Arthur and Peter, men between the ages of 25 and 36, regularly apply color to their nails. They look back on this choice and what inspires them.

Beauty has no gender. Long reserved for women, manicure is invited into the daily life of men. In recent years, more and more celebrities have appeared on the red carpet, nails varnished. If in the 1980s, David Bowie began to normalize the concept of manicure for men, it was in 2016, when the American designer Marc Jacobs published a photo of him with colored nails, that the craze really started. On social networks, the hashtag #malepolish has been much talked about, especially thanks to male influencers. In addition, as standards evolve, inclusive make-up has become democratized. "The varnish becomes a real means of self-expression, the notion of beauty is redefined," explains Cheryl Gava, founder of the natural varnish brand Orijinal.

In 2023, Hollywood stars continue to free themselves from the codes of masculinity: Brad Pitt when he appears in a skirt at the premiere of the film Bullet Train in Berlin or Harry Styles, who plays with fashion and beauty with each new appearance. Inspired by the former One Direction member or not, how did the varnish conquer men in 2023?

A way to deconstruct codes

"Varnish is a possibility, just like hair color or jewelry," says Arthur, 28. For him, it's a way to explore his style, "it dresses the hands, like rings or tattoos would." From then on, it is no longer just a question of modifying its appearance, but of appropriating it to complete its outfit and enhance its look. "Nail art is infinitely customizable. It allows you to differentiate yourself at an affordable price and without a definitive nature unlike the tattoo.

This "ephemeral jewel" allows you to display, like women, your personality to the tips of your nails! ", testifies the network of the beauty of hands and feet L'Onglerie®. By rethinking this essential of feminine aesthetics and appropriating it, men review their relationship to beauty, gender and themselves. "For me, clothing style should not be categorized in relation to genders. I'm a man, I put on varnish because I think it's pretty and I go to the gym," says Peter, 36. Far from the codes, this action, which finally seems harmless for some, is also a form of claim for the man, "I question the stereotypes of society, one nail at a time," he adds.

Varnish to take care of yourself

If the veneer in men invites us to reinvent the rules of masculinity, it is also a way to take care of ourselves and feel good. The rise of barbers in many cities proves it: men also want to be pampered. If this largely involves taking care of your face and beard, nails are not left out. "Nail and hand care is a real male routine that we have been observing for a very long time. The "cosmetic" part, that is to say the application of varnish and nail art is more sporadic, but has the wind in its sails. ", develops the representative of L'Onglerie®.

Beauty salons and nail polish brands are now imagining formulas and mixed products, which will meet the desires of both women and men. "Manicure is a form of self-esteem, it's a way to take care of your hands," says Cheryl Gava. This is the case of content creator Wesley Krid, 25, who dresses his fingers to perceive his hands differently. "I don't find them very beautiful, so by putting on varnish, which I often match with my outfits, I find them more elegant," he says.

On the style side, if some men fall for nail art, a majority will bet on sobriety. "Dark colors are the most bought by men," says Cheryl. At the L'Onglerie® institutes, "the nails art we perform are quite sober: geometric, minimalist, discreet most of the time. On the color side, it goes from raven to pale gray, with a matte or chrome finish for the most daring. Few in our network are the touches of color for men, but it seems possible to us that precisely, this is the next step. ». Arthur opts for purple inspired by Akatsuki members in Naruto Shippuden, Wesley just like Lucas, puts for pop and bright colors. As for women, there are as many choices and desires, as people who apply varnish.

A trend that has only just (re)started?

The gaze of others could be the main obstacle, preventing men from passing the course or not. Performances in film, music industry and television allow Millennials to identify and try nail polish. Wesley says, "I started putting varnish on myself in 2018, after high school with my friend Sparkdise." Arthur discovered this in Berlin, "I lived there for five years and it was very widespread". Lucas put varnish on for the first time only a few months ago, "I felt a certain jealousy or injustice when I saw my friends applying it and not me." The outside look is less and less present.

Peter rarely notices eyes lingering on his nails at the gym, "but it happens a few times on the subway, so I smile, I show my hands. It can more easily shock people in their 50s and 60s on the street," he continues. "My mom wonders why I'm doing this, but it's a generational problem," Lucas reveals. Cheryl confirms this, Generation X is often more disapproving of this upheaval of codes and is not yet inclined to understand this. "We are still struggling to convince men between 40 and 60 years old. For them, there is no question of putting on colored varnish, "she reveals.

Yet, manicure for men is actually nothing new. "In the year 3,000 BC, the men and women of ancient Egypt were already varnishing their nails with henna," says Cheryl. Cyclical in time, this is simply the return of manicure in men. However, as the founder of Orijinal adds, "this trend is being renewed and asserted in today's more inclusive, tolerant and open-minded society. A society that has evolved and today fights gender stereotypes while celebrating the individuality of everyone. ». Wearing nail polish, in a woman as in a man, is no longer a mark of identification with a gender, but a pleasure, like making a color at the hairdresser or getting a tattoo. Because no matter the gender, everyone deserves to feel good, right down to the end of their nails.

  • Style
  • Tempo
  • Beauty trend
  • Care
  • Man
  • Brad Pitt
  • Makeup
  • David bowie
  • Marc jacobs