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Brief Published: 17 Sep 2020

Male Manicures Go Mainstream

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Harry Styles

Thanks to influential celebrities like UK singer Harry Styles, US rapper A$AP Rocky and US comedian Pete Davidson, the male manicure is a growing grooming trend that’s crossing over into the mainstream.

As explored in 10 Nail Trends to Watch, nail care sales boomed during lockdown – Amazon US posted a 218% rise in April (McKinsey, 2020) – and DIY nail art is flourishing. Evil eye and smiley face motifs are a popular unisex look, with the creator of Harry Styles’ much-copied smiley manicure – UK artist Jenny Longworth – recently posting an online tutorial. Additionally, nail polish-wearing TikTok stars such as US-based Noen Eubanks and Italy’s Lapresa Twins are fuelling a rise in hashtags like #malenails.

But it’s not all about Gen Z Insta-nails. New York nail studio Sundays began hosting Menicure Mondays in 2019. “Our clients are all different ages and professions,” founder Amy Lin told UK news site The Guardian. “From a dad with a five-year-old daughter, to a business consultant, to men who work in a creative agency.” French luxury brand Chanel recently added black and white matte nail polish to its Boy de Chanel male make-up range, while Japanese brand Orbis launched a tinted nail protector under its Mr. line in April.

It’s all part of a general uptake in male make-up and stigma-breaking brands, (see The Male Beauty Moment), with the Covid-19 quarantine spurring even more men to become more adventurous with beauty styling: US internet searches for “male make-up looks” rose by 80% this April since last year (Moz, 2020).

For more on beauty creativity, see Instagangs: Beauty’s Creative Corona-Chameleons, Keeping Up With Gen Z Beauty and Covid-19: Creativity in Quarantine.

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