With nail salon options galore, picking the perfect nail polish shade can be overwhelming. When it comes to attracting men, one of the most common questions women have is: do guys like white nails?
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: most guys don’t have strong preferences on nail polish colors. Rather, they care more about neat, clean nails on healthy, well-groomed hands.
In this comprehensive article, we’ll explore why some women choose white nails, look at polls and surveys gauging men’s preferences, and provide tips for picking the best shades to complement your skin tone.
The Appeal of White Nails
A Clean, Fresh Look
White nails have an innate clean and fresh aesthetic that is universally flattering. The crisp, blank canvas appearance gives nails a bright and well-groomed look, similar to a freshly painted wall or a crisp linen sheet. This makes white nails ideal for summer, highlighting sun-kissed skin.
The neutral shade also acts as a palate cleanser between bold nail art or daring dark colors.
Elegance and Simplicity
An all-white manicure epitomizes elegance in its simplicity. Devoid of embellishment or loud accents, white nails allow one’s natural nail shape and cuticles to shine through. This gives an effect both polished and understated, perfect for formal events or black-tie affairs.
Celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Middleton have famously donned white nails to red carpet events, elevating their glamorous gowns with a hint of innocent charm.
The versatility of white nails also stems from their lack of adornment. You can easily dress up a white manicure with gold jewelry, bright bags, or colorful shoes without clashing colors or competing designs.
This makes white nails ideal for women with diverse styles and ever-changing accessory collections.
Neutral Palette Versatility
White nails seamlessly match absolutely everything in your closet by acting as a neutral backdrop. Unlike loud neons or cool pastels which can sometimes clash with certain skin tones or outfits, white nails confidently pair with all fabrics, patterns, and colors.
This even applies to nail art – white bases allow rainbow glitter, delicate flowers, abstract shapes and any other designs to truly pop. Celeb manicurist Tom Bachik capitalizes on this with the “baby jelly sandwich“, sandwiching fun accents between layers of clear and white polish.
The possibilities are endless!
White also acts as an ideal substitute for traditional brides who want to play up their engagement rings. By letting the diamond be the main focal point, white nails are a foolproof option for wedding manicures.
Even celebrity brides like Gwen Stefani, Chrissy Teigen, and Hailey Bieber chose white nails to complement their ceremony ensembles.
What the Research Shows About Men’s Preferences
Surveys find men aren’t that picky about nail polish color
Recent surveys have found that most men don’t have strong preferences when it comes to women’s nail polish colors. A poll by nail care brand Essie in 2017 found that 29% of men said they don’t notice nail polish color at all.
When men did have a preference, nude and pink shades were at the top – but not by much. Subtle and classic colors seem to be popular, but bright colors weren’t a big turn-off.
Another survey by the nail polish brand OPI in 2016 asked men what their favorite nail color was on a first date. The top choice was a French manicure, followed by pink, nude, and red shades. Only 2% said they disliked bright colors like blue or green.
So while men seem to slightly prefer soft, neutral tones, surveys show they aren’t too concerned about nail polish color in general. As long as the nails look clean and well-kept, the specific hue doesn’t make much difference.
Some evidence subtle, lighter shades are preferred
While research shows men don’t have strong color preferences, some studies provide clues that lighter, more subtle shades are seen as most attractive.
A study published in the journal Perception in 2012 looked at men’s perceptions of digitally manipulated nail colors. Men tended to rate images of women with nude, pink, and red nails as more attractive than black, blue, or green shades.
Another study in 2017 looked at the nail polish colors worn by women in Maxim’s “Hot 100” list compared to colors worn by women in the general population. Women from Maxim’s list wore lighter pinks, nudes, and reds much more frequently than the average woman.
So while the evidence isn’t definitive, it seems men may see paler pinks and nudes as slightly more attractive than dark, bold shades.
Personality and confidence matter more than color
Research suggests that men don’t judge a woman’s personality or confidence based on her nail polish color alone. While some men may find bright colors slightly less attractive, what really matters is how the woman feels about the shade.
A survey by nail brand Incoco in 2018 found 72% of men said a woman is more attractive when she wears a color that makes her feel confident. It’s about the attitude and personality she radiates, not the exact hue.
Similarly, a study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology in 1990 found that nail polish color had no effect on how men perceived a woman’s personality traits. The shade of her nails didn’t influence how smart, dependable, or confident men found her.
So science tells us that a woman’s charm, confidence, and strength of character matter far more to men than her chosen nail color. As long as she feels good about herself, the polish shade likely won’t make or break a man’s opinion.
Choosing Flattering Nail Colors
Best shades for warm skin tones
Women with warm undertones to their skin often look great in shades like coral, peach, cantaloupe, or ruby reds. These shades complement and enhance warm overtones beautifully. Consider rocking a bright peach or melon shade for summer, or go bold with a rich merlot or brick red for a night out.
Neutral nudish pinks also tend to be safe, pretty choices year-round.
Best shades for cool skin tones
Do blueish undertones or pinkish fair skin define your complexion? You’ll look lovely in cool-toned shades like pastel pink, dusty lavender, slate gray, or even a vibrant sapphire blue. Mint and seafoam green are also unexpectedly flattering. Sheer, icy pinks are ideal for the winter months.
Stay away from warmer brick reds and golden browns, which may clash and look somewhat jarring against your skin.
Considering your style and occasion
While skin tone should guide your overall nail polish shade selection, also think about your personal style and the occasion when choosing a color. For a professional office setting or formal event, go for a sheer, neutral hue.
Trying an edgy black on short nails makes a style statement for a night out. Got an athletic body? Bright citrus colors pop nicely on toned arms and legs in the summer. And glittery holiday shades spread cheer during the festive seasons.
Nail Care Tips
Keep nails trimmed and filed
Keeping your nails neatly trimmed and filed is key for a put-together look (and it also helps prevent snags and breaks). Experts recommend using a high-quality nail file and gently filing nails every 2-3 days to keep the edges smooth. Clip nails straight across to avoid painful ingrown nails.
Consider carrying a small nail file or nail clippers in your bag for quick touch ups.
Use cuticle oil for healthy cuticles
Applying a nourishing cuticle oil daily keeps the delicate skin around the nails flexible and conditioned. Massaging in a few drops promotes strong, healthy nail growth. Look for cuticle formulas with vitamins and botanical oils like jojoba, coconut and olive oil for extra moisturizing power.
Consistently using cuticle oil can make pushing back cuticles easier.
Consider nail strengtheners and biotin
If your nails seem weak or brittle, try an over-the-counter strengthening treatment that uses ingredients like calcium, proteins and vitamins to reinforce nails over time. Taking a daily biotin supplement can also help—some research shows that getting adequate biotin helps produce stronger, quicker-growing nails.
|2,500 mcg per day
|Helps improve brittle nails in ~5 months
|5,000 mcg per day
|Helps thicken nails and increase growth rate
Just be patient, as it can take several months to see results from biotin.
Moisturize hands and push back cuticles
Dry, rough hands don’t complement a neat manicure very well. Apply hand cream daily focusing on the nail area, and avoid harsh soaps that strip away natural moisture. Use a tool like a cuticle pusher to gently nudge back cuticles after showering or bathing when the skin is soaked—never cut or rip them, as this can lead to infection.
White Nails vs. Other Popular Shades
Comparing white to nudes and pinks
White nails have become a huge trend in recent years, with many considering the clean and crisp white look to be very chic and elegant. But how does white compare to other classic and popular nail polish shades like nudes and pinks? Let’s take a look!
Nude nail polishes are designed to mimic the natural tone of your bare nails, providing a polished yet neutral look. Pink nail polishes come in shades from soft and subtle to bright and vibrant. While nudes and pinks are pretty and feminine classics, white has a more striking and modern effect.
White nails really pop against the skin and stand out on the nails. The high contrast of crisp white against your skin tone makes it a bold yet versatile choice. Nudes and pale pinks tend to blend in more with the natural nail.
So if you’re looking to make more of a style statement, white nails is the way to go.
Some key differences between white and pinks/nudes:
- White appears brighter and bolder
- Pinks and nudes are softer and more subtle
- White looks more modern and edgy
- Pinks and nudes have a more classic, feminine vibe
While white nails definitely make more of a splash, the daintier look of pinks and nudes shouldn’t be overlooked. But for a striking contemporary manicure, white nails are a top choice.
White vs. classic reds
Red nail polish is a classic look that will never go out of style. But how does it compare to the trendy white nails look?
Red nails make a bold and glamorous statement. They instantly grab attention and give off a sense of power and confidence. While classy reds like crimson and cherry are timeless, white nails offer a fresher, more modern effect.
Some key differences between white and classic reds:
- Red is bolder, hotter, more vampy
- White is cooler, crisper, more subtle statement
- Red has an old Hollywood, retro vibe
- White looks more edgy, futuristic, and new
So while red nails are always a knockout, don’t underestimate the impact of a pristine white manicure. White has a minimalist appeal that feels very fresh and current. For an unexpected alternative to the dramatic red look, give white nails a try.
Pros and cons of white nails
As with any nail polish shade, white has its pluses and minuses. The eye-catching effect of clean white nails is a major plus. But the color can be high maintenance and tough to pull off for some. Overall, white nails are definitely worth considering if you want a modern, edgy manicure that makes a unique statement.
While white nails have a clean, simple appeal, men tend to care more about neat, healthy-looking nails than the actual color. Focus on proper nail and hand care, flatter your skin tone, and pick shades that make you feel confident and beautiful.