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How OPI is Breaking Social Norms


Posted on August 21 2019

OPI recently launched their "Will You Mani Up?" campaign, which aims 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 polish...it'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."

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Tags: Nail Trends , OPI ,


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  • 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!

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  • 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.

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