The majority of male clients whom I have worked on do request a clear coat of polish. After their manicure, I always give them the option of buffing their nails to a shine or adding a clear top coat at the end. Most of the time they choose a clear coat. I do encourage this if they are someone who likes to keep their nails looking nice because the clear coat always lasts longer than a buffed shine. It is definitely more accepted now than it used to be and I think that’s great! Everyone, male or female, should take pride in their appearance, and nails tell a lot about you!
Amy Rigsby, Polished by Amy, Summerville, Ga.

I encourage my male clients to try buff shine for a polished look. I don’t think pigmented nail polish is widely accepted yet. Men trying to get a laugh are quick to ask for polish. Creative types seem to be interested in experimenting with masculine shades of lacquer. It still takes a certain personality to pull it off.
Crystal Clark, Nail Yeah!, Raleigh, N.C

Male nail art has absolutely become fashionable. In the past where a men’s manicure has ended with buffing to a shine, or using a matte top coat, there are now whole lines of nail polish directed toward male clients. They are usually (but not always) muted, earthy tones with a matte finish. You also see it on celebrities: Johnny Depp adds to his flair with black nails, Seal has a famous shot of his beautiful skin with canary yellow fingernails, and Brad Pitt got a lot of exposure last year for sporting a few painted nails. I have a male coworker who likes clear polish with some type of symbol on his big toe. Last time we did a Native American symbol, and the time before that an “ohm.” He uses it to focus on during yoga. I appreciate that some men are willing to do what makes them happy regardless of stereotypes and gender roles. Life is too short, and it’s important to have a little fun — and never have boring nails!
Alayna Josz, Salon Salon, New London, N.H.

I have male clients who wear sheer/nude-toned manicures as well as nail coatings and clear gel manicures. They also rock dark-toned pedicures. I encourage my male clientele to wear polish/nail coatings whether it’s to cover imperfections or to simply provide a different occasional or seasonal look. These days, men are opting for different colored manicures and pedicures more than ever. Men in general are becoming more comfortable with choices. I always receive a shout out on social media regarding all of the compliments they receive on their mani/pedis. It’s great because I know I helped them step out of their norm and into self-expression. There’s no turning back. It’s here to stay!
Karla Rochelle, Pampered Hands and Feet, Chicago

Encourage, yes. Push, no. Of my four male clients, only my husband wears it (gel polish). It is my hope that more men see regular nail maintenance as a normal thing, regardless if they choose to wear color or not.
Dana Kurtz, Artistry of the Nail, Portland, Oregon

We have many male clients at FlyGirls Nail Art, and normally they do not wear nail polish. However, I do have a few men that do, and they really go for the nail art and mirrored finish colors, etc. I don't ever try to persuade the male client, but rather listen to them, and they let me know if they're open to polish. Many of them have stepped outside of their comfort zone to come in with their girlfriends, so I try to make them feel as comfortable as possible. Even though it is more socially acceptable than it has been in years past, some men are still very old-school about getting a pedi, especially in conservative Orange County, California!
Holly Kalil, FlyGirls Nail Art, Costa Mesa, Calif.

As nails are becoming more of a trend, not only for beauty but also for pampering, I've noticed more men are getting nail services. Even younger men now! I see older men wearing a clear coat of polish for that added shine, but some don't care and let you choose whether or not to apply it. Younger male clients, though, seem to be more self-conscious about it and even chuckle when I ask if they'd like a clear coat. Personally, I'd rather buff to bring out the shine.
Yanin Moreno, La isla Bonita nail salon, Sarasota, Fla.

Next question:
What did you do before becoming a nail tech? Why are you glad (or not glad) to have changed careers? [Answers will be printed in the February 2016 issue.] Share your opinion on the topic by e-mailing your response by November 15 to Please include your name, salon, city and state, and a high-resolution headshot with your response.

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