Why Do Guys Wear Black Nail Polish?

These days, manicure has expanded its popularity beyond a female habit and has become a form of expression for everyone. Therefore, it is no longer uncommon to see men wearing nail polish. 

However, it can be rather confusing to see how some people decide to paint their nails black. So, why do guys wear black nail polish? And is it normal? Find out the answer in the article below! 

What Does Black Nail Polish Mean?

Black a common choice of color when it comes to nail polish
Black a common choice of color when it comes to nail polish

Now, you may wonder,

what does black nail polish mean, and why does it stand out compared to other colors? 

For centuries, black nail polish has been closely linked to the goth subculture, death, and several negative connotations. It stands for rebellion and the desire to break the norms, as well as to assert dominance and authority.

That said, in recent years, black nail polish has taken on a new meaning. Men and women alike turn to black nails for their aesthetic purposes and gendered interpretations. 

It is a common belief that black represents masculinity and manliness, which explains why some men are head over heels with this color option. Others pay more attention to how black fits easily with male outfits, creating a visually stunning appearance.

Whatever the case is, black nail polish has a nuanced meaning and can be explained in various ways to accommodate the wearer.

What Does It Mean When Guys Paint Their Nails Black

Now that we have briefly touched upon the meaning of black nail polish, let’s proceed to explore a more detailed aspect regarding the motivations of male wearers. 

A lot of people – regardless of their sexual orientations – have decided to go full black with their nails. Here are some possible explanations as to why.

Claiming their favorite color

In some cases, the answer is more than obvious. Some men enjoy the color black purely for its aesthetic purposes. 

Therefore, they decide to embrace the color through various means. Painting their nails in black polish happens to be one of them.

Expressing their opinion

Despite the rising notion that men can paint their nails, the social stigma surrounding this topic is still prevalent. Hence, certain people wish to defy social norms and declare their opinions on what men should and should not do. 

Wearing black nails – a rather risky move – is certainly an excellent way to assert a man’s feelings.

Expressing their gender

Of all the colors associated with masculinity and manhood, nothing beats the good old black. Black is all about traditional displays of power and manliness. It also signifies aggressiveness, influence, and control over other matters. 

As these attributes are traditionally a male thing, it is no wonder why men wish to embrace their black nails.

Standing behind the Polished Man movement

Some people paint their nails black in solidarity with the Polished Man movement
Some people paint their nails black in solidarity with the Polished Man movement

Another reason why straight guys paint their nails black is that they want to advocate for the Polished Man movement. 

Originally founded in the UK and quickly spread to America, the Polished Man movement seeks support from society and encourages men to vocalize their objections to child violence. 

To join the movement, men are required to paint at least one fingernail. This also provides an account to

why guys paint their nails black on one hand only. 

Supporting a social cause

The Polished Man movement is not the only thing that persuades a man into wearing black nail polish. Other social causes are worth mentioning as well since they can be a powerful incentive. 

For example, during the #BlackLivesMatter campaign, men wearing black nail polish as a symbol against racism is quite popular. 

Such a bold color for nails can also be a tacit agreement of men about a particular boiling social issue, depending on the contextual differences.

Following a fashion trend

There are times when goth subculture becomes all the rage, and everyone wants to look cool and edgy. This is when black nail polish reaches the height of its popularity.

As it quickly becomes a fashion trend, some men are more than willing to follow it.

Reclaiming their sexuality

Historically speaking, painting their nails used to be a homosexual thing. In the past, a man wearing nail polish was always assumed to be either transgender or gay.

Given the injustice and abuse that the LGBTQ+ community has to go through, wearing black nail polish proudly is a way for non-straight men to reclaim their power. 

It shows everyone that they are proud of their sexual orientation and do not intend to hide that part of themselves.

Exerting their status

Men wearing black nail polish can be seen as a sign of authority
Men wearing black nail polish can be seen as a sign of authority

In some cultures, black indicates power and authority. It speaks volumes of a man’s status and where he stands compared to others. Other groups – such as music bands or biker gangs – also have an unwritten rule regarding their color theme and attire. 

As a result, men wearing black nail polish in these contexts are a reminder of the position they hold.

Protecting their nails

It is a common belief that nail polish is for aesthetic purposes only. But this cannot be further from the truth. Nail polish offers a layer of protection against external factors, thus strengthening your nail, and making sure it does not get damaged. 

Moreover, nail polish helps to cover minor injuries, chips and cuts, so your nails can recover quickly.

Is It Weird For Men To Wear Black Nail Polish?

Not really. Admittedly, in the past, seeing men wearing black nail polish – or any other colors for that matter – was a scandalous experience. But as our society progresses and everyone becomes more open towards the freedom of choices, manicures for men should be normalized. 

There is nothing weird or unacceptable about men painting their nails. If such action helps them with self-expression and confidence, there is no reason why men wearing nail polish are frowned upon.

How To Wear Black Nail Polish For Men

At this point, we have established the importance of black nail polish to some men. But do you know how to wear black nail polish properly? Let’s find out together!

What you need to prepare

Having flawlessly looking black nails is no small feat
Having flawlessly looking black nails is no small feat

Painting your nails black sounds easy enough, right? But do not be fooled. Without proper tools, the final effect might not be as expected. If you want a flawlessly looking set of nails, make sure to have the following items.

  • A file head. 
  • A bottle of base coat. 
  • A bottle of black nail polish.
  • Several cotton pads.
  • A bottle of nail polish remover. 
  • A bottle of top coat. 

Step-by-step guidelines

Once you have assembled your manicure toolkit, let’s get to work!

Step 1: Cut and sharpen the shapes of your nail using the file head. Make sure all the edges are round and soft, so the polish does not get smudgy. 

Step 2: Apply a layer of base coat to all of your nails. Do it carefully so that the coat stays adhesive. This is to ensure that your nail polish does not tamper with the color and structure of your nails underneath. 

Even when you remove the polish, your nails still stay fresh and healthy.

Step 3: Wait a few minutes until the base coat completely dries. Then, gradually apply a thin layer of black nail polish. Remember the keyword thin! 

The thicker your layer is, the more chances that you end up with a pigmented nail. Even worse, you may experience chipping, especially when the nail polish starts to fall off. 

Therefore, it is wiser to stick with light strokes, with a break of at least 60 seconds between each round. After three strokes, you will start to see how the color manifests itself on your nails beautifully.

Using the right techniques is vital in painting your nails with black polish
Using the right techniques is vital in painting your nails with black polish

Step 4: At this point, all of your nails have been painted in black nail polish. But what if you want to fix certain nails or get rid of smudges stuck at the sides and the cuticle? The cotton pads will be of use here. 

Simply pour a bit of your nail polish remover onto the pad, then soak it where you want the polish to go away. This also applies to your nails, your skin, and even the table you are working on should you spill the polish.

Step 5: Wait for your nails to dry completely. Apply a final layer of top coat for protective measures in case you want your nails to last for a long time. 

This top coat is designed to minimize chipping and scratches on your nail, which means it will be several months until you have to repaint the whole thing.


Can straight guys paint their nails black?

Yes. As explained above, wearing black nail polish is not strictly confined to gay men or women. Straight men are more than welcome to paint their nails black if this resonates with their beliefs, fashion tastes, or personal choices. 

There is no reason why sexual orientation gets to dictate what a person can and cannot do with their bodies.

Can guys wear nail polish in other colors as well?

Yes. While black is among the most common colors when it comes to nail polish for men, you will still find people wearing modest tones such as brown or gray to more outrageous shades like blue, green, or red. 

Men working in the fashion industry tend to be laxer regarding their nail polish colors, and they experiment with different hues and patterns rather frequently. 

Do guys wear clear nail polish?

Wearing clear nail polish is a good way to protect one’s nails
Wearing clear nail polish is a good way to protect one’s nails

Yes. Clear nail polish is a foolproof way for men to protect their nails without worrying about the social stigma of having them painted in bold colors. 

Clear nail polish gives off a healthy, shiny vibe that indicates how men take care of finer details on their bodies. It is also relatively cheap and easy to paint, hence its popularity.


We have learned today that black nail polish can be many things for different people, from a political statement to an accessory.

Regardless of why men wear black nail polish, it is not unusual and should be treated as such in all societies.


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