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Nail Polish For Men | A Basic How To Guide

Updated on November 13, 2010

Men who wear lingerie often end up experimenting with other elements of so called “women's fashions.” Perhaps out of a desire to further explore their feminine sides, perhaps out of pure curiosity, perhaps because once a man tries the forbidden fruit, he sometimes finds it hard to stop. (Now men know how Eve felt in the garden of Eden.)

Men often aren't 'taught' to use nail polish the way women are. Women are exposed to it by their mothers, older sisters and friends. Men only see the final results, so how they got there can be a bit of a mystery. Fear not though chaps, I am now going to reveal the secrets unto you.

I'll probably write a few articles on this subject, so let us start with the very very basics this time.

If you're a man trying out nail polish for the first time, it is probably best to invest in some clear nail polish. Clear nail polish will be fairly unobtrusive, so you won't catch hell from your buddies down at the bar or in the boardroom, it won't stain your clothing too obviously, and if you mess up, it doesn't look so bad.

In addition to the clear nail polish you will also need some acetone (nail polish remover), some cotton buds and some cotton pads. A cotton bud soaked in acetone should be at the ready when you are putting nail polish on, as unsteady hands can cause tremors which result in the painting of your fingers and the surrounding area. (You should also learn to file and shape your nails, but that is another hub.)

  • Start out the process of polishing your fingernails by dipping the brush into the nail polish and gently pressing it against the side of the nail polish bottle to rid the brush of excess polish. You don't want to be daubing great blobs of the stuff on your fingernails. The brush should be full of polish, but not to the point where it is bulging or dripping.
  • Next, gently smooth the brush over your nail from just above the cuticle to the tip. Do this in one slow stroke, and repeat until your nail is covered.
  • When your nail is covered, move onto the next one. You'll find the first hand relatively easy, but the second hand requires you to undertake the process with your non dominant hand, so get ready to take your time and get some practice under your belt.
  • When the first coat is on, leave it to dry for 5 – 10 minutes, then apply a second coat. This is more important in the case of colored polishes, but it is good practice with clear polish too. ( A hair dryer can help with the drying process.)
  • If you get lumps, globs, or streaks, take a cotton pad with a little acetone soaked into it, wipe the polish off and start again. It is always awkward when you first start wearing nail polish, but soon becomes second nature.

Et voila! Another 10 or so minutes drying time and you are done. Take the cotton bud dipped in acetone and tidy up around your cuticles and the edges of your nails.



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    • profile image

      Doug 7 years ago

      I would love to paint my toenails, but unfortunately, I'm a runner and have problems with my nails bruising and coming off (yuck!). Even in conventional male clothes, I prefer to keep them covered up. Maybe I will see a professional nail tech and see if there is anything they can do. In fact, you guys have talked me into getting my fingernails done too!

    • profile image

      Danielle 8 years ago

      I realize that this subject tends to lean toward guys who are into other feminine things besides nail polish, but I just wanted to tell you that my husband wears his toenails polished on a regular basis. He is about as masculine as he could be, has fathered our three wonderful sons and is a big sports and outdoor recreation enthusiast.

      His interest in this was party begun by my coaxing him to do something to improve his rough-looking feet. So, he got a pedicure, and liked it! We eventually went together and had subsequent pedicures, and one thing led to another and he was encouraged to try polish by a nail tech who had a number of other male clients who wore it.

      Once he tried it, he was hooked. Or I should say, I was hooked! It looked that good on his toes. His feet never looked better, and now I am proud to walk with him anywhere when he wears sandals because people come up to him and actually compliment how it looks. That is a lot different than what it used to be like, and I am very glad that we discovered this apparently lesser-known trend for men. Apparently, quite a few men do wear their toenails polished, but many never wear it openly.

      I say "Why not, guys!".

    • TIMWILLIAMS profile image

      TIMWILLIAMS 8 years ago

      Recently, I went to the manicure shop, one in a Maryland mall. I went there on 11/27/09 and I had a manicure and pedicure. I had clear polish put on my fingernails. When I had my pedicure done, the nail techinian put red nail polish on my toenails and also painted cute flowers on my biggest toe nails. The flowers look cute as well as the red polish. As you may have noticed, that I have put posts on some of your hubs about men weraing womens panties and bras. I also wear girls panties and bras as well.

    • profile image

      Arne 8 years ago

      I have been wearing nail polish on my toenails for a while now. I only recently began wearing it where others could see it. I'm not sure why I waited so long, I guess I just thought others would make fun of me, but what I have discovered instead is that people either don't notice (or they don't comment) or they like it! I am always amazed at how many people (mostly women) will come up to me and compliment me on my painted toes - some even ask what the color is called so they can go get some for themselves.

      I have never had my toes done professionally, but after hearing from many of you about how great an experience it is, I think it's about time I tried it. My wife would enjoy it too, so I think I have a good 'excuse' for a date!

    • profile image

      Mike 8 years ago

      I have been painting my nails for years. Mainly my toes in black, chrome or blues.

      I paint my fingers regularly too around the house, but unfortunately my wife is not keen for me to go out with them painted.

    • TIMWILLIAMS profile image

      TIMWILLIAMS 8 years ago

      Hi Hope: How are you, I had wrote on a couple of your hubs mentioning that I wear women's panties everyday and want to have a bra fitting since I am intersted in the bras, so much for that. I am a guy that wears nail polish. I wear clear nail polish on my fingernails and I like to wear colored, usually red and black nail polish on my toenails. My favorite brands of nail polish are OPI and Sally Hanson. I recently went to a nail manicure shop in one of the malls in Maryland where I live and had a manicure done. The manicurest was a nice lady. She did the typical manicure of trimming, buffing and filing nails and she also put clear nail polish on my nails too per my request. Soon I want to go back and get a pedicure done by them . Do any guys out there get pedicures done at these shops and request colored polish such as red or black on his toenails. I like to know. Thank's, Good day!!

    • Hope Alexander profile image

      Hope Alexander 8 years ago

      That is great David, thank you for sharing!

    • profile image

      David 8 years ago

      Hey, I really enjoy wearing my toenails painted, but I am not the type who is into dressing up as a girl at all. I am actually happily married and have three kids (all boys) - your typical straight guy, but I just happen to like my toenails polished.

      This actually was started by my wife! She was apparently feeling funky one eveneing as she was painting her nails and decided that I should have my toes painted too. I did not put up much of a fight because it did not bother me, so she proceeded to paint them a deep maroon color that I actually found to be rather decent looking on my toes. She liked it too and so I ended up keeping it on until it began to wear off several week later.

      She noticed the color was beginning to flake off and she offered to 'refresh' them for me with the deep blue color that she was also painting her toenails with. I liked the color so I accepted her offer.

      It started out as a sort-of game for us, but now it has become commonplace for me to wear my toenails polished because we both like the way it looks. I don't think I'd ever go back to plain toenails anymore because they'd look so bare and discusting to me. Funny how our perceptions change. Even one my sons wear theirs polished now. Their girlfriends are nuts about about it too!

    • Nail Technician profile image

      Nail Technician 8 years ago

      Great tips in this hub, Hope.

      Nanciboy mentioned, but i think everyone should go get a manicure from a professional nail tech for their first time, so that they can see how it is done properly and enjoy the process of being pampered :)

      If you soak your fingertips in warm water for a bit before you start, you can also treat your cuticles with a little oil (olive oil actually works if you don't have cuticle oil) and an orange wood stick wrapped in a cotton swab. if you gently gently push the cuticles back, it will make the manicure look even better.

      Then if you want to get really fancy with your beautiful nails, check out some of the nail art in the pics here:

      Have a great day! :)

    • profile image

      Johnny Mo 8 years ago

      I love having my toenails painted. It goes great with my pink shirts, and I'm making lots of new friends.

      None of my wife's clothes fit, so this is a cheap way for me to feel sexy.

    • profile image

      Jake 8 years ago

      I regularly wear my toenails painted. My feet just look so much better that way.

      And I agree that it's best to get them done professionally at first, so you can learn how to do it right from the pros. Wearing messy polish on your toenails looks sloppy and bad - no matter who you are (male or female).

      I have had enough practice with this that my wfie even has me paint hers, since I do a neater job than she does. Besdies, it's a nice treat for her, and she enjoys the attention.

    • profile image

      supersteve 9 years ago

      i love painting my nails it makes me feel fantastic once you start painting your nails you will not be able to stop the best nail polish is opi

    • SatinJenni profile image

      SatinJenni 9 years ago from Burlington Ontario Canada

      I have painted my finger nails in the past but its my toes that I have a real fetish for. Bright red looking up at you in the shower or through your sandals as you walk. Definitely a painted toe kind of guy.

    • profile image

      Nanciboy 9 years ago

      I take the easy way out and just have mine done professionally.

      You missed a couple of steps if you want to do a full professional job. First, start off with a clear base coat. Through experimentation, I have found that Nailtec2 (sp) works best for me. I had more problems with early failure with other base coats, even the one provided by my polish manufacturer. Then two (or three) color coats and finally a clear shine top coat. Even though my nails are pretty long and shaped and I type a lot during the day, they still look quite presentable at the end of the week.

      My manicure is done in one of Orly's sheer French Manicure colors. I alternate among four that I own and take to the salon for my regular Saturday afternoon appointment. Pedicures are done with the salon's polish. Most often one of OPI's rich colors. And their names are such great puns too. :)

    • profile image

      Stormy 9 years ago

      Keep this hub going Hope. Nail care is just as important for males as it is for females. I dont know if it is true, but I have heard there is absolutely no diference between a male's nails and a female's nails (not true for male skin and female skin). The female has better looking nails because as you say, she has been taught from early girlhood how to take care of them. We males are just thrown out to the wolves when it comes to nail care. The same is generally true about skin care - females are taught to take care of it, bathe once a day, use moisturizers and SPF, etc. If anything is taught to most males it seems to be along the lines of "Take a bath once a week, whether you need to or not."

    • profile image

      Cyndie_D 9 years ago

      OPI has a wonderful polish for beginners that I use all the time. It is called Nail Envy and is available in a matte finish. It is calsified as a "nail strengthener" so if someone ask you can say "it's not realyy polish"

      Thanks Hope


    • profile image

      ILoveLingerie 9 years ago

      Thank you for sharing that with us, Hope, you're the best!


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