•    0

    Your cart is currently empty.

How OPI is Breaking Social Norms


Posted on November 01 2020


Last year, OPI launched a campaign called "Will You Mani Up?," which aimed to break through social norms and gender stereotypes. For the longest time, the nail industry has primarily targeted women. However, men have recently started their own trend, "male polish".

Until recently, makeup and nail polish were basically taboos connected to men. However, with influencers like Manny Gutierrez and James Charles getting makeup endorsement deals, beauty brands are becoming more inclusive. So what does this mean for the nail industry? Men wearing nail's not something you see very often, unless he's a rockstar or high profile musician. 

Although we have a long way to go in terms of "normalizing" men and nail polish, brands like OPI are taking steps in the right direction. We decided to try this with some of the guys on the Beyond Polish team and get their thoughts and reactions. This is what they had to say.

Kevin (Web Developer)

Kevin is wearing ORLY "Into The Deep" From The Dreamscape Collection.

Q: Was this your first time having your nails painted?

Kevin: Yes.

Q: What was the experience like for you?

Kevin: It was a new experience. I didn't know what to expect or how to act. I had a lot of fun. I really enjoyed getting pampered and having my nails taken care of. I understand why girls love it so much.

Q: What do you think about men who get their nails painted?

Kevin: More power to them. If it doesn't hurt anyone and it makes you feel good, then you should do it. It's all about having fun.

Q: What (if anything) did you take away from this experience?

Kevin: When my nail tech finished my nails, initially, I was scared of what other people thought of me. Then I realized I was giving too much credence to other people's opinions. I was letting people determine how I felt. Thus, my journey to self-confidence began.

Steve (Fulfillment Lead)

Steve is wearing ORLY "Air Of Mystique" from the Dreamscape Collection.

Q: Was this the first time having your nails painted?

Steve: Yes, it was my first time. I was honestly a little anxious at first because no one's ever really handled my hands like that in general, much less painted them so it was quite a novel experience. Once I actually sat down and started getting my manicure, I felt much more comfortable, especially with the laughs we were having and the kind words from everyone.

Q: Describe your experience being in public with painted nails. How did you feel? Did people treat you any differently?

Steve: No one has actually said anything to me yet so I can't say anyone has treated me differently. Most of the people I've shown (coworkers, friends, family) have been generally surprised but have kind of liked it. I assume it's mostly the color through. Lots of people staring at me for sure. I get double takes even when I'm driving on the road.

Q: Speaking of being in public, you recently went on a trip to Cabo and decided to leave your nails painted. Why did you decide to do that and describe your experience. Did people there treat you any differently? How did you feel?

Steve: Being in a large group helped, to be completely honest. I don't know if I would have left my nails painted if I was going to Cabo alone. Having supportive family and friends is a huge factor in choosing to keep it. I was surprised by the lack of reaction I got. I was sort of expecting to get called a name or two, or get some kind of reaction from at least one person, but it was mostly just people staring. 


Q: What are your thoughts about men wearing nail polish?

Steve: Hey man, if it looks good on you, go for it! I think it's really great that guys can start to explore some things that are traditionally feminine. My dad straight up said, "Man, if you did that a couple of years ago, you would get called all sorts of names." So it makes me happy that people are opening their minds.

Q: Why did you take part in this experience?

Steve: I'm always into trying new things that might expand my sense of style of fashion. Kind of to make a statement as well. I personally detest the idea of traditional "toxic" masculinity so it's always good to break the norms a little.

Q: Why did you take part in this experience?

Steve: I did it at first to kind of mess around. I thought it was a funny idea, but once the paint was actually on, I was like, "Hey, this doesn't look half bad!" And luckily my girlfriend is super supportive of me not being a traditional dude and kind of playing around with stuff like this so I actually got surprisingly positive responses from both her and my parents (my parents' reaction was a BIG surprise).

So what is the takeaway from all of this? Wearing nail polish does not have a gender attached to it. Ryan Morgan, co-founder of the hair dye brand Arctic Fox told Allure, "It is what it is. You're definitely no less masculine or feminine with nail polish and makeup on. That comes from within and who you are and how you are in the world more than what you put on."

More Posts

Tags: Nail Trends , OPI ,


  • Aaron Buser: November 25, 2019

    I’m tattooed, pierced and have been wearing nail polish to work, the gym and campus proudly since i was 19( i’m 23 by the way). it was scary at first, my brothers were embarrassed to be seen with me and i didn’t care at all. I like wearing nail polish and intend to do as long as i choose to, its empowering to know that there are other guys like me who wear it proudly.

  • Michael Rand: December 08, 2019

    I am so happy to see these testimonials about men wearing nail polish. Up until recently a man wearing nail polish would have been chastised or ridiculed but with the emergence of our younger men seeking their own way and sometimes blending the traditional roles of masculine and feminine, many older social mores are falling by the wayside. And frankly, it’s about time! I am a 73 yr old male who has worn nail polish on my toes for about two years. Since my favorite color is red, I don’t wear sandals primarily to please my wife who has gradually gotten used to the idea of my painted nails. She had difficulty in understanding why I’d want to wear nail polish. With me, there’s no deep seated psychological reason other than I think painted nails are pretty and I enjoy wearing the multitude of colors that are available.

  • Al : January 10, 2020

    Love polish, toes only and clear matte on the fingers i’ve been polishing for about five years now and my collection has gotten quite extensive I was quite nervous at first what people would think but as time went on I cared less and less it’s also wonderful to hear the compliments but I still get the stares.

  • Mark : January 17, 2020

    I started painting my toes 9 years ago, I’m 64 now, after the big flap re: Jenna Lyons from J. Crew having fun with her son painting his toes. The comments were absurd. So I wanted to see what all the commotion was about. I thought it looked great, and it was a bit of fun. I actually find it relaxing to focus and do a good job of it when I change the color, which I do about every two weeks. I’ve always said, do whatever you want if it doesn’t hurt yourself or anyone else. Some family members are very judgemental, but that merely shows their own rather narrow mindedness, which carries over into other areas of their lives besides this. But even my then 78 year old father, when I showed him back then said, it’s only paint. It comes off when you want it to. It’s just a bit of body decoration that’s easy and inexpensive to do.

  • Bruno Belanger: January 17, 2020

    I thought I would revisit this section. I see a few more comment which is nice to see. When I’m home for a few days I try different colours. sometimes combinations of colours. And sometimes I wear cheap fake nails you just glue on and I show them off to my neighbour. She thinks I’m practicing for a new career. I assure you I’m not. But this time they came out really great. Maybe one day I’ll have the nerve to go to a real salon and get pampered. All work in progress. By the way team, maybe you should have a way for us who leaves posts to leave a picture of our work in progress. Just a thought. I’m pretty proud of these this time.

  • Mark: January 18, 2020

    BTW. I forgot to mention this in my previous comment. I want to thank you for this article.

    Your goal is to sell more polish. To that end, it would be in everybody’s interest, both you and the other brands, to get out well placed ads, articles, etc into the general public so more men can be aware that it’s OK to paint your nails if you want to. Even just a clear polish really improves the look of the hands or feet of a person.

    I’m diabetic, so my doctor thought it great that I paint my toes because that means I’m keeping a closer eye on the condition of my feet. So there is that health benefit too.

  • Chris: February 12, 2020

    I go to a nail salon and have for four years. I have a pale pink polish applied with my nails about 2 millimetres longer than my fingers. I really don’t think anyone really notices as they are inconspicuous. Ladies at the salon often comment on how good they look.

  • Dave: February 19, 2020

    I have been having shellac manicures every two weeks for the last three or four years now. Pedicures every four weeks as tends to last longer on the toes. My favourite is nail art and loving all the different designs.

  • John Blaque: April 02, 2020

    This is an amazing piece. I love seeing all the dude sharing their love for nail polish. I want to get a full gel manicure in NEON now and just own it.

  • Jim: April 27, 2020

    Cool article. I’ve been getting a monthly pedicure at the salon for thirteen years. Always get bold bright colors and wear my sandals everywhere except to church. Twice a year I treat myself to a manicure too. Marching color. Never had any negative comments, but lots of compliments. I’m now 77 and love my OPI polish. Originally encouraged by my wife, toenails came first.

  • Marcel Fleury: June 19, 2020

    J’ai 68 ans et marié depuis bientôt 48 ans. Cela fait maintenant 10 ans que j’ai les ongles vernis (mains et pieds) toute l’année sans exception. Le regard des gens ne me pose aucun problème et leurs commentaires encore moins. D’avril à octobre je suis en short, on voit donc bien les ongles de mes pieds. Je suis heureux comme je suis et je n’ai nulle intention de changer. Ma femme s’y est faite et nos filles aussi. A cela s’ajoute des bas de contention que je suis contraint de mettre en permanence même s’il fait très chaud ce qui d’ailleurs ne me gêne pas. D’ailleurs, dès qu’il fait un peu frais je mets des collants par-dessus. Vous savez, je suis plus près de la fin que du début alors ce que pensent les gens je m’en fiche éperdumment.

  • Jake: July 29, 2020

    It’s really great to see this style for men come to the forefront! I’ve been enjoying pedicures and wearing nail polish for over ten years now and it’s been a very satisfying experience. Any color is good, I like being creative. I wear my nails polished for the same reason women do – because I like how it looks and feels!

  • Steve W: August 21, 2020

    Just started wearing nail polish on my toes this summer! A light frosty pink and at some angles/light, hardly noticeable. Mid-60s and I have cute feet and toes. It was a bit of an eye opener for my wife – “why are you doing that?!?” To which I replied “I have cute toes and I wanted to see some color down there.” Because of the light pink I think I go unnoticed a lot as I wear sandals all summer. No comment or reaction that I know of when my masseuse worked on my feet. She is younger and could likely care less. I do love it and plan to try some bolder colors. Not a red person, maybe grey or white. I also shave my legs and have been doing so for the past 15 years. Love it!

  • Bob : September 20, 2020

    I’m a 58 years old guy, and just recently have I begun wearing nail polish. As a young man I was ahead of the curve; I often wore subtle makeup, but due to an eye disease I’ve been legally blind for 29 years, making makeup too difficult to apply. Then one day I thought about trying nail polish to add a bit of color to my life. It’s been difficult learning how to paint my nails, but I’m getting better all the time…besides I really enjoy giving myself an entire manicure. I’m quite happy to see that other men, both gay and straight are indulging in painting their nails. It is worth noting that historically men in both ancient Egypt and China painted their nails. Indeed, men wore eye makeup, wigs, and even high heels in many cultures long before women did.

  • Stevie : October 15, 2020

    I think its great
    I ve always loved nail polish on my toes but but was afraid
    Now i wear all the time (55 yo) but keep it hidden
    I think mens feet need more pedicure than women, it makes ur feet look better. The colors really look good

    So rock on my friends

  • Stevie : October 15, 2020

    I think its great
    I ve always loved nail polish on my toes but but was afraid
    Now i wear all the time (55 yo) but keep it hidden
    I think mens feet need more pedicure than women, it makes ur feet look better. The colors really look good

    So rock on my friends

  • Arne: November 05, 2020

    61 yrs old , Ive painted my toes with my wifes blessing for on & off the last 15 yrs & her idea to begin with , I get mostly compliments from gals , some frowns but who cares, & have had my toes painted 24/7 last 4+ yrs . I go with my wife monthly & get them professionally done my manicurist loves doing it & thinks its cool. I buy my polish from BB Couture made for guys ….

  • Al: November 06, 2020

    I am an over 65 straight male and have been painting my toes for just a few short weeks. Actually, my manicurist has been painting them. It started when my wife suggested several months ago that I get a pedicure. I had several pedis about 5 weeks apart. All without any polish. Then one time my she suggested we paint a pinky purple. I said ok. The next time we did a blue pinky, then 2 blue pinkies and then I actually bought some nail polish and we did both pinkies and both big toes in blue. When I got home I painted all six middle toes myself. I thought it looked cool. Now i am getting them painted at the salon and wearing the blue color all the time. I do not wear it in public so only my wife, my manicurist and I see them. My wife was apprehensive at first but she is ok with it now. I still think it looks cool. It is not a big deal.

  • brett hov: February 08, 2021

    just saw this article on a web search as have wanted to wear nail polish for some but never gotten the nerve up to do it. this gave me the confidence to try it out! I’ll check out this website for more tips and to buy polish and tools as this is so new, so clueless about where to start.

  • Kristopher Wright: October 11, 2021

    I love this Mani Up campaign. This video is very encouraging, that Guys can wear Nail Polish too. I myself wearing Nail Polish even. I am a Straight Guy who loves wearing Nail Polish. I love the different Colors and Shades of Nail Polish. I love the feel of the Brush.

Leave a comment

Related Articles

CND Across The Mani-verse Spring 2024

Read More

ella+mila Ballet Collection

Read More

China Glaze Meadow Dreams Spring 2024

Read More

9 Best St. Patrick's Day Nails Colors and Nail Art

Read More

Search our store