Everything You Need To Know About TikTok's "Red Nail Theory"

It’s ignited a debate.

Originally Published: 
We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

If you’re a mainstay on BeautyTok’s endless feed of wild beauty hacks, helpful reviews, and glam breakdowns, you’ve likely come across “the red nail theory,” which first emerged earlier this year. And ICYWW what it actually means, here’s a breakdown of the nostalgia-driven manicure trend taking over the viral platform.

Marketing wiz and creator known as GirlBossTown initially brought the red nail theory to light, making a connection between wearing red nail polish and noticing a bit more male attention than normal.

In a candid video, she sums up the theory by saying: “Every time I have red nails, a guy comments on it ... and then it hit me. In the ’90s when we were growing up, women had red nails a lot — especially our moms. And I weirdly think guys are attracted to red nails because it reminds them of their moms.”

And with that, perhaps the classic hue is somehow associated with timelessness, caregiving, and unconditional love in the minds of some men? I mean, I buy it.

Yet another way to look at it, however, is that red is associated with passion, confidence, and love, and is arguably one of the most attention-grabbing colors. People may not notice an understated light pink mani — but colorful red tips are sure to get a few eyes from all genders.

While some TikTok creators have taken the theory to heart, painting their nails red and documenting the results — many others commented with a reminder that our beauty routines and manicure appointments aren’t for men at all, and are for us.

Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
1 / 2

And whether or not you are into the theoretical ’90s mom connection, it’s safe to say that some serious icons throughout the years were also a fan of the lacquer shade. Some total babes of note? Jennifer Aniston, Pamela Anderson, Rihanna, Gwen Stefani, Marilyn Monroe, and countless other baddies were fans of red manis.

Across categories, red has most definitely been trending this season — with bold scarlet pouts, red velvet hair, and even unexpected red eyeliner, having a serious moment.

And whether or not the red nail theory is actually a way for single Millennials to find love connections, it can’t hurt to paint your tips the powerful hue and see what might happen ...

We at Bustle only include products that have been independently selected by our editors. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

This article was originally published on