Behind the "Black-Nail Theory" All Over TikTok
There's nothing like a fresh manicure to make you feel put-together. Whether you're a fan of more intricate designs like the Vivienne Westwood nail trend or you prefer to keep things minimal and chic, a fresh set is like an added accessory that can complete any outfit. Nails can also act as a signifier about the type of energy you're trying to give off, or so some people on TikTok believe.
After the "red-nail theory" went viral on the app, which speculated that guys were attracted to red nails because their mothers wore the shade as they grew up, thoughts around what wearing black nail polish signifies have also begun to circulate. "You seem bold and daring, with a hint of mysteriousness," TikToker Rasha Robinson said of the look.
So, is there any truth to the "black-nail theory"? It depends on who you ask. "The black-nail theory does have some merit, as the color can make you appear more confident and powerful," Mazz Hanna, CEO of Nailing Hollywood, tells POPSUGAR. "It follows the line of thinking from the red version where people claimed that the color made them more attractive."
You may have started seeing an uptick in black nails recently, but Hanna says that is likely due to an "anti-beauty"-fueled pendulum swing that is occurring after a summer saturated with all things pink. "Black nails have always been popular, since they are a timeless staple that looks great for any occasion and pairs well with any outfit," Hanna says. "They are getting pretty popular again, but I think that people want a change from the Barbie that took over the spring and summer."
In the '60s and '70s, black nails were often associated with gothic imagery, witches, or even dark magic, and that reputation persists in certain looks. "There's nothing wrong with a witchy aesthetic, and black nails can still give off that vibe depending on what your personal style is," Hanna says. "But they can also look regal and elegant depending on the rest of your look. It's all about what makes you feel the most confident."
While the black-nail theory is likely explained by a placebo effect — meaning it's more likely that you would perceive black nails to exude confidence and therefore act accordingly — the look does have its place. "Black nails are particularly eye-catching, especially with a longer nail length," Hanna says. Whether you prefer extra-long claws that Vanessa Hudgens herself would approve of or something a bit more understated, it's a classic look that you can't go wrong with.