[MetroActive Arts]

[ Arts Index | SF Metropolitan | MetroActive Central | Archives ]

Nail Polish Goes Straight

[whitespace] nail polish
The Polished Look: More straight guys are getting into colored nail polish, such as the metallic glossy lacquer of Urban Decay's Mildew.

Courtesy of Urban Decay

Males do nails

By Diana Rupp

It used to be that the closest thing to beauty products for men was Old Spice and soap-on-a-rope. But now that men are starting to break the makeup taboo, the cosmetics industry--not to mention the bumper crop of men's magazines that includes P.O.V., ICON, MAXUM, Esquire and Details--is finding creative ways to cultivate male vanity. And after all, it's only natural: Most males in the animal kingdom have more vibrant plumage than their dowdy female counterparts.

"I was curious about wearing polish because it's not something guys usually do," confides Tim Foster, 28. "A girlfriend put it on me the first time. In fact, she encouraged me to wear it."

Almost half of the clients at Pretty Nails are men, estimates esthetician Jenny Bui. But while men receive exactly the same soak, massage, cuticle trim and nail filing as women, they often skip the raison d'être: polish. "Very few men do color," Bui says. "They just like to keep their hands and nails clean." As an alternative to polish, Pretty Nails offers buffing: A specially formulated creme is applied to the nails and then rubbed with a soft padded file, giving nails a finished, pristine look without the telltale shine of lacquers.

But what about men who like the glossy look of paint? "I wear [color polish] for aesthetic reasons," says Adrian Gerald, 24. "Unlike clothes, which are functional, painting your nails is superfluous ... purely decorative."

Clients at Pretty Nails ready to go all the way almost unanimously favor attention-grabbing primary shades, such as Urban Decay's Pigeon (dark metallic teal), Uzi (gun metal) and Oil Slick (black with a rainbow sheen)--all of which are refreshingly gender-neutral.

Bui, for one, doesn't buy into a his-and-hers polish mentality. As she democratically sees it, "Any polish is for men."

Pretty Nails, 242 Sanchez, 415/553-8019.

Urban Decay is sold at major department stores, including Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Macy's. Retail price: $11.

[ San Francisco | MetroActive Central | Archives ]

From the March 1998 issue of the Metropolitan.

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Maintained by Boulevards New Media.