Tik Tok’s Viral Red Nail Theory
BY MAHI KUMAR
Red nail theory says if you wear red nail polish, you receive more attention. Is it true?
4 April 2024
TIk Tok seems to be the place for all the major theories these days…
Like many Tik Tok theories (the boyfriend air theory, and lucky girl syndrome (which I’ve unpacked recently!)), it’s time to unpack the red nail theory. To make sure I was really committing to this, I painted my nails red for a week which is out of my comfort zone. I usually go for pastels, dark greys or blues when painting my nails.
To put it shortly, the red nail theory suggests that if you wear red nail polish, you’re more likely to get attention or have nice things happen to you. Tik Tok has been filled with people anecdotally saying that men constantly compliment their nails, they ask to help them out with menial tasks like bringing their groceries in, and they are in general more pleasant.
Users have even tried to unpack the psychology of this saying that red is a colour that symbolises confidence and represents love and being sexy. Men are basic creatures so tend to be drawn in by the boldness of the colour. Think of Pamela Anderson on Baywatch; red is used as a symbol.
Some users have gone even further to say red nails were very prominent in the 90’s which means that to some men in my age demographic it reminds them of their mothers… I’d like to hope that one is not true but Oedipus would have a field day with this one!
So now, it’s February 2023 and the hashtag #rednailtheory has over 165 million views and videos under it. Users claim that there’s truth to the theory and that whenever they wear red nails they get asked out, complimented and just noticed. It even has nail artists chiming in saying they’ve seen a marked increase in the amount of people coming in requesting red nails (and repeat red nails because of the success they’ve experienced).
So, is this theory real? Well, according to psychologists and colour experts, red nails do tend to be a magnet to attract male attention as it is associated with a powerful, bold and confident energy. Studies of men were conducted in relation to colour theory, and men between 20 to 30 found that the women wearing red in some form were more attractive. The main psychology behind this is that men associate red with romance, passion, and power as noted above. Psychologists bog it down to the fact that red is a physical stimulant.
Where do I stand on this theory? I’m a pretty lucky and positive person in general. Nice things tend to happen to and for me for the most part. I received a dozen roses from my boyfriend on Valentines Day - would that have happened despite me wearing red nails? Probably. I received free drinks on a night out ALL night from a boy who followed me on instagram. Would that have happened despite me wearing red nails? Probably. I do believe that red is a sexy, passionate and invigorating colour for the reasons espoused above. My go to spicy fit when wanting to turn heads is . I wore my favourite red set by Arcina Ori, with my red nails out. Did I get lots of compliments? Yes. But do I think that the red nail theory is almost a self-fulfilling prophecy? Yes. My take is that you feel more confident, and you may act in a more confident and alluring way so you’re now making an impression. Perhaps you’re now making flirty eyes at someone so they feel confident to come up to you and ask you out. If I’m wearing an outfit that I feel average about, I’m far less likely to act like I’m the main character. So to me there’s a big element of this theory that I feel falls under that category.
Overall though, any theory that is hyping the girlies up is one that I am here for. So let us know your red nail experiences if they’re juicy!