Have you ever wondered why you pick a certain nail colour? Is it only because you like the colour or because its the trend? We might not be aware of it, but what we pick says a lot about us, our personality – or so the pop psychologists would have us believe. Let’s briefly explore the issue.
The topic of what’s hot and sexy in nail shape and colour is a staple of women’s and teen girls’ mags. Given that sex sells, no surprise there. So we are told that red is sexy, passsionate; lavender is soft and feminine; purple is creative and individualistic.
Here is a typical article. Of course, it’s not in the interests of the beauty industry and the media to say that X colour or no colour is a sign of a dull, insipid personality. Not only does sex sell, the surveys telling us which colours are sexy are paid for by the nail polish industry, not the psychology faculty at U of T. So here is one recent survey “This Nail Polish Color Says You’re Horny, Supposedly”. Conducted in the US and paid for a spray-on polished company, it revealed that 31% of respondents (2,000 men and women over the age of 18) thought that a woman wearing red nail polish is more “passionate” and wants more sex. Phooey, we say. Is a guy in a speedo more of a stallion than one in knee-length trunks?
Remember that class/wealth is as much an issue as anything else. Women who go to spas/salons tend to have more money than those who don’t. There’s a generalization that will probably get me into trouble! Certainly up to the 1950s, the wearing of nail polish was an indicator of rank and privilege. Although nail polish originated in China around 3000 BC, it made its way to Egypt where nail polish was even used to signify class rankings. The lower class often wore nude and light colors, while high society women painted their nails red. In ancient Babylonia, it was the males that wore polish, black worn by the higher classes and green by the lower classes. In ancient Egypt, it was also class based, with the lower classes wearing pale colors and the upper classes wearing shades of red. Cleopatra, wore hers blood red. Was that a ploy of sexuality or one of power? Maybe both. For more on the history of nails, read here
Pop psychogists will always speculate about this. From our own personal observation at Coco, we have come to know our regular clients and can guess what their preferences are going to be when it comes to choosing nail colour. After getting to know our clients and their likes, we know what to offer and what not to offer when it comes to nail colour. People are usually creatures of habit and very rarely will they move away from their comfort zone. This doesn’t mean to say that women always stick with the same colour. Some are prepared to experiment, based on the season or if there is a special event going on. Others like to try a nail design on one or more fingers, but generally it is something that complements the basic colour they are already comfortable with.
And naturally, as individual estheticians and as a Spa owner, we have our own preferences. In our last blog post, “Coco’s predictions for 2017”, we wrote “When it comes to colour, everything (almost) is permissible. Here at Coco, we love all shades of red, black, and of course chrome is the big trend for 2017! Get the mirrored, hologram look! Another look for 2017 is the Ombre look where, similar to Ombre lashes, a light colour on the top part of the nail gradually blends into a darker colour toward the tip.”