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There’s nothing I love more than a fresh fall mani. And on TikTok, there’s no shortage of fun manicure hacks, nail art inspo, and other cute claw content. The newest manicure trend ATM? None other than “the red nail theory.” Trust me, it might actually be a thing.

In a sea of fun manicures and funky nail art, painting your nails to be a solid red color can seem… boring. However, there’s a method to this muted madness. Popularized by the TikTok icon GirlBossTown (you know, the PR genius of Gen Z), the red nail theory makes a connection between men and red nail polish that actually makes sense.

Back in Jan. 20, the creator posted a TikTok detailing the red nail theory. Basically, the idea is, men are more attracted to red nails because of childhood ties… and their moms. I know, kind of weird — but I buy it.


Reply to @meganandliz @tinx @serenakerrigan care to comment on this

♬ original sound – GirlBossTown

Since then, GirlBossTown has been sporting red nails in a majority of her videos. And TikTok seems to be doing the same: the #rednailtheory has over 34 million views, and is full of videos of creators testing the theory and painting their nails red, too.

With the holidays drawing closer — and the colors getting more festive — now seems like the perfect time to wear a colorful manicure. According to color theory, the color red is tied to sexuality, warmth, passion, and confidence. Additionally, many iconic ’90s celebs have rocked a set of fire-red claws — think Pamela Anderson, Marilyn Monroe, and Rihanna. Even Hailey Bieber has been known to rock a red set — when she’s not wearing her glazed donut nails, of course.

Not to mention, red is one of the most eye-catching and popular colors — so don’t be alarmed if your boo loves the color red, it’s probably not a “mommy” thing.

Just a reminder, however, that you don’t have to paint your nails red to attract other people. Having a pair of sick claws, whether they’re red or not, should be for you and you only. Our extensive skin-care routines, makeup looks, and manicures are meant for ourselves, not men.

So, is red nail theory backed by science? Not really. There have been studies on color theory and psychology, but nothing specifically connecting men to red manicures. So, feel free to paint your nails whatever color you choose — even if they’re red. Because, red nail theory or not, rocking a red mani is some real baddie sh*t.

julianna (she/her) is an associate editor at her campus where she oversees the wellness vertical and all things sex and relationships, wellness, mental health, astrology, and gen-z. during her undergraduate career at chapman university, julianna's work appeared in as if magazine and taylor magazine. additionally, her work as a screenwriter has been recognized and awarded at film festivals worldwide. when she's not writing burning hot takes and spilling way too much about her personal life online, you can find julianna anywhere books, beers, and bands are.