The only difference typically found between nail polishes for women and men are in the popular colors and the way they are marketed. Nail polish for men is generally the same basic product as polish designed for women. The marketing for the men's polish is chiefly aimed at male consumers, using darker colors and masculine names. There are also types of men's nail polish without color that are designed to protect the nails and promote growth.
When choosing nail polish for men, you only really need to consider the color and whether the polish is designed for use as a base or top coat, or for nail health. Base coats are used to provide a smooth surface on the nail to help the color stick. Most colored polish should typically go on over the base coat. The colors can usually be found in shiny formulas; glittery and metallic finishes; or mattes, which are flat and without shine. You can choose whichever color and finish appeals to you, whether it is in a polish designed specifically for men or not.
The colors generally found in nail polish for men include blacks and dark shades that are often considered masculine. Any type of nail polish can be used by either men or women, however. Some tans or very soft pinks may be more appropriate for an understated male manicure. Bright, eye-catching colors can also be worn by men who want their manicure to be noticed. These types of colors may also be more appropriate for parties, clubs or special events.
Colored nail polish for men is considered a trend that is most commonly found in certain social or professional circles. People who dress in dark clothes and consider themselves goths may wear black, blood red or metallic-colored nail polish. Some rock bands and other types of musicians sometimes also paint their fingernails.
Some special polishes called top coats can be painted over the color to help it resist flaking or chipping. Most nail polish for men and women, however, can be used without a base or top coat and look perfectly fine as long as the nails are clean and smooth before it is applied. If you do not want colored polish, then you should be able to find clear polish designed to protect, strengthen, heal or promote nail growth. You may also get more out of any bottle of polish if you choose one that has a metal bead inside it. When you shake the bottle you should be able to hear the bead clicking inside and mixing the enamel to keep it from getting thick and harder to apply.
Women painted their nails in ancient times, with the earliest known manicures dating back to about 5,000 years ago. Ancient Egyptian males and females colored their fingernails to reflect their social status, so men using nail color is really nothing new. Men who wear nail polish today outside the goth or alternative communities may be considered "metrosexual." This term does not usually refer to actual sexuality; it typically means that a man can use products once thought to be just for women because he is more conscious of his appearance than men who do not use those types of grooming or beauty products.