What Is The Red Nail Theory? And Is There Any Truth Behind This Viral Idea?

Have you ever noticed that you sometimes receive more compliments from men when your nails are painted red?

By Meghan Dillon2 min read
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You’re not alone, and that’s where the Red Nail Theory comes into play, but is there any truth behind the viral idea that has blown up on TikTok?

What Is the Red Nail Theory?

The Red Nail Theory first went viral last January when TikTok user Robyn Delmonte posted a video about it.

In her TikTok, she explains how she always receives more compliments from men when her nails are painted red. She theorizes that it has to do with the color being popular in the ‘90s, leading young men to associate it with their mothers. "I always thought red nails was like a grandma nail color," she says. "And then it hit me. In the '90s, when we were growing up, women had red nails a lot, especially, like, our moms – and I weirdly think guys are attracted to red nails because it reminds them of their moms when they were growing up, taking care of them."

What TikTokers Say About It

Since the Red Nail Theory blew up on TikTok, many users have taken to the platform to share their thoughts on the topic. TikTok user Melisse Martineau tested it out, and the results surprised her. She said, “I have never been asked out on so many dates or complimented as much as I have been in the past two to three weeks with these nails. I've been asked on maybe five or six dates, which is not normal, so I don't know what it is, but it's real.”

TikTok user Navya Passi also tried it out. She posted one TikTok saying that she tried it and that it worked, alongside a follow-up TikTok explaining the theory.

After explaining the theory in the second TikTok, she said, “The compliments I got from boys and men, from even women, that entire night was insane. I personally think that they look hot, and I feel super powerful when I have them on, so I’m moving to red nails.”

Is There Any Truth to the Red Nail Theory?

When it comes to the theory behind men loving red nails because their mothers wore them, psychologists believe that the association is possible (similar to how women are attracted to men similar to their fathers) because they find it comfortable. Ciara Helm, LCSW and founder of Hopeful Heart Counseling, says, “I would speculate most ’90s moms wore red because it is historically a ‘sexy’ color and likely made them feel like they were more a woman, rather than primarily a mother.”

There’s no scientific evidence behind the Red Nail Theory, but it’s no secret that many cultures associate the color red with love and desire. Helm says, “Dating as far back as the Greek ages, history has proven that red has always been viewed as a symbol of fertility and love.”

Many women also commented on these viral TikToks suggesting that wearing red nails (and even red lipstick) makes them feel confident and sexy, which will inevitably draw more attention from men. One user commented, “I agree! But I think men love women in red in general! Red dress, red nails, red lipstick – it’s a bold, confident color.”

In short, men seem to associate red nails with romance, desire, and womanhood, proving that many men are *gasp* attracted to traditionally feminine beauty trends and standards.

Closing Thoughts

Though there’s no scientific evidence to back the Red Nail theory, there’s no doubt that men love it and women feel more confident when they paint their nails red. Don’t believe us? Try it out the next time you go out to a bar or on a date. The results might surprise you.

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