If you frequently check BeautyTok’s never-ending stream of innovative beauty tips, insightful reviews, and glam breakdowns, you’ve probably heard of “the red nail theory,” which first surfaced this year. Here is a breakdown of the nostalgia-driven manicure trend that is dominating the viral platform, and ICYWW what it actually means.
The red nail theory was first popularized by marketing whiz and creator GirlBossTown, who made a connection between sporting red nail polish and noticing a little bit more male attention than usual.
She summarizes the theory in a candid video by saying, “Every time I have red nails, a guy comments on it… Then it dawned on me that many women, especially our mothers, had red nails during the 1990s, when we were growing up. And I strangely believe that men are drawn to red nails because they make them think of their mothers.
And with that, could it be that some men somehow relate the traditional shade to enduring qualities like caring and unwavering love? I mean, I agree.
Another way to look at it, though, is that red is arguably one of the most attention-grabbing colors and is connected to feelings of passion, assurance, and love. An understated light pink manicure might go unnoticed, but vibrant red tips are sure to catch people’s attention from both sexes.
Many TikTok creators commented to remind us that our beauty routines and manicure appointments aren’t for men at all, but rather for us. Some TikTok creators have taken the theory to heart by painting their nails red and documenting the results.
It’s also safe to say that some major icons over the years, regardless of whether you buy into the supposed “’90s mom” connection, were also fans of the lacquer shade. Some notable total babes? Red manis were beloved by Jennifer Aniston, Pamela Anderson, Rihanna, Gwen Stefani, Marilyn Monroe, and a plethora of other villains.
Red has most definitely been in this season, regardless of the category. Bold scarlet lips, red velvet hair, and even unexpected red eyeliner are all having serious moments.
It can’t hurt to paint your fingertip tips the vibrant color and see what might happen, regardless of whether the red nail theory actually helps single Millennials find romantic connections.