Will red nails help you attract a partner? Here's what experts think (2024)

If you’re stuck in a romantic rut, you may want to try painting your nails red.

At least that is what some TikTok users are attempting in an effort to enhance their love lives.

The “red nail theory,” a term coined by TikTok creator Robyn Delmonte, aka @GirlBossTown, has become a viral sensation. The idea is simple: If you wear red nail polish, you're more likely to receive attention from potential suitors.

In her video, Delmonte said that every time she has red nails, a guy comments on the color. She was confused at first — until it hit her.

“In the ’90s when we were growing up, women had red nails a lot, especially like our moms,” she said in the video. “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.”

As a result, the hashtag, #rednailtheory, has amassed over 164 million views on TikTok with the majority of users claiming there's truth to the theory.

Take TikTok user @melissevmartineau, for example. In a TikTok video, she said she has been asked out on five or six because of her red nails.

"I have never been asked out on so many dates or complimented as much as I have been in the past two or three weeks with these nails," she said.

Since the trend has gone viral, Trenna Seney, a celebrity nail artist who goes by @lovetrenna on TikTok, has seen an increase in clients requesting red nails — and she says they often return with success stories.

“I have clients that have come back after two or three weeks and tell me ‘Oh my god, I got so much attention’ or ‘People would come up to me and just start talking to me,’ or ‘I was at the bar and this guy started talking to me,’” she tells TODAY.com. “So I was just like, it’s real.”

So, will red nails actually lead to love? TODAY.com went straight to the experts to see how Delmonte's theory holds up.

Meet the experts

Is the 'red nail theory' real?

Yes, according to psychologists, color experts and, well, science.

Red nails can be a magnet to attract male attention, but not necessarily for the reason the theory espouses.

When it comes to men associating red nails with female figures from their past, it is really dependent on previous individual experiences, Adam Pazda, assistant professor of psychology at the University of South Carolina, tells TODAY.com.

“Certainly you could see red nails or any color in any context and if you had experience with that it could remind you of that,” he says. “But I don’t know if that’s something that a lot of people share.”

The idea that red nails conjure up memories of their mother also sounds reasonable to Carla Marie Manly, clinical psychologist and author of "Date Smart: Transform Your Relationships and Love Fearlessly."

“If a male has a matriarchal figure where there was a great deal of power, and the woman did tend to wear red, it can absolutely be associated with a mother’s energy or a grandmother’s energy,” she tells TODAY.com.

But she also points out that many people associate mothers with pure colors like shades of white, pinks or blues, not red.

Experts do, however, universally agree that red has a powerful effect on men. A 2008 study of 27 men with a median age of 20 found that men consider women wearing red more attractive and sexually desirable. The same study found men are more willing to ask women out on a date and pay more during that date when they wear red.

This likely stems from our deep roots in associating red with romance, sexuality and passion.

“I think it’s something that is invigorating. It’s exciting to us. It speeds up our heartbeat. It captures our attention and it grabs it.

Amy Wax

“When we go back historically and look at the significance of the color red, go way back in time you see that red was often seen as a color of passion, of course it’s the color of blood, so it evokes that sense of ‘I will give anything for you. I will do anything to prove myself whether it is to a country or to a woman,'" Manly says.

Significance aside, it's still a hue with a hook, according to Amy Wax, color consultant and creator of the Color911 app.

“I see it as a physical stimulant," she tells TODAY.com. "I think it’s something that is invigorating. It’s exciting to us. It speeds up our heartbeat. It captures our attention and it grabs it."

And this phenomenon is not just limited to male attention. Wax clarifies that red is an attractor for all people, no matter how they identify.

"I think it has more to do with if you’re looking at a crowded social environment or a bar or whatever and there’s one guy who’s wearing this really beautiful, deep, rich, elegant red sweater, it’s going to grab your attention a little bit," she says. "You’re going to say ‘that’s a person that’s confident, that’s a person that knows himself, knows his emotions, has a sense of power to him.’”

Is the allure of red nails a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Turns out scoring dates may not be the only reason to get a fiery manicure.

“People choose to make their fingernails red when they are trying to make this certain impression,” Sally Augustin, environmental design psychologist, tells TODAY.com. “And then they start to act in a different way and it becomes like a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Choosing red is a bold statement — in more ways than one. “You’re in a space where you’re looking to be noticed, to stand out a little bit in the crowd, so you’re not the same as everybody else," Wax says.

Generally speaking, Manly adds that women also tend to feel more confident when they take the time to invest in their self-care and appearance.

“I think if you’re wearing red and you feel confident and powerful in red, you will definitely emanate a more attractive and maybe even provocative energy,” Manly says.

But if you're not the type to normally get your nails done or typically opt for a more subtle shade, Manly encourages you to be your genuine self.

“As long as you feel at ease in your skin and you’re projecting the message that you really want to give and it makes you feel good about who you are, then sky's the limit."

More ways to bring love into your life

  • How to manifest love into your life, according to the pros
  • Does the ‘whisper method’ really work? The viral manifestation technique, explained

Ryan Hudgins

Ryan Hudgins is an editorial intern atTODAY.com. She is currently pursuing a major in Journalism at the University of Richmond. In her free time, Ryan enjoys reading, running, hiking and surfing.

Will red nails help you attract a partner? Here's what experts think (2024)

FAQs

Will red nails help you attract a partner? Here's what experts think? ›

The running theory that men like women with red nails, because they remind them of their mothers, isn't incredibly unbelievable—but it does seem like a stretch. Experts say that red nail polish's attraction actually comes from emotions that the color evokes.

Do red nails attract love? ›

A man may associate the color red with the time in his life when there was a woman who took care of him, tended to his every need and loved him unconditionally. For this reason, a man might be more drawn to a woman if he sees she has red fingernails.

Does the red nail theory really work? ›

“I think that the red nail theory is a real thing because psychologically, we associate red with passion, love, and power,” says Hanna. “While it's not necessarily scientifically proven that red nails are attractive, it often makes you appear more confident and alluring.”

What nail color do guys find most attractive? ›

Nail design: Men like these colors

In a representative survey, the German Paint Institute found that men generally likeblue , but also likegray , black and brown . Both sexes like green about equally, while women are more likely to like red ,yellow ,beige and orange .

What does red nail polish mean in a relationship? ›

“Men remember women who have red nails, which is good if you are hoping to make a lasting impression. Red is associated with strong emotions, strength, power, courage, and danger. Red nails are a clear signal a woman is ready to attract a partner.”

Is it true that red nails attract men? ›

Is the 'red nail theory' real? Yes, according to psychologists, color experts and, well, science. Red nails can be a magnet to attract male attention, but not necessarily for the reason the theory espouses.

Does wearing red attract guys? ›

This flushed complexion seems to give males the signal that it's time to make their move. The same could be true for humans, Pazda says. In a previous study, scientists showed that men seem to be more attracted to women clothed in red rather than in a blah color such as white.

Why are red nails more attractive? ›

I think most men look at other parts of a woman's body before nails, starting with the face and lips, but the emotional associations of the color red with boldness and confidence are probably just as appealing for many,” the historian says.

What is the red nail stereotype? ›

Stereotypes and Prejudices: Society often attaches stereotypes and prejudices to certain colors or styles. Red nail polish may be associated with negative stereotypes, such as promiscuity or a lack of sophistication. These stereotypes can influence the perception of red nail polish as being trashy [3].

What do red nails indicate? ›

Red nails could mean possible heart disease or kidney issues. Red nails are also connected to conditions like psoriasis and lupus. Blue looking nails are signs of poor oxygen circulation, heart or lung issues. A vertical black stripe from the cuticle to the tip can be the most serious of all.

Do guys get attracted to nails? ›

Yes, in general. But not always! Since nail polish is a mark of femininity, most men will find women more attractive if they wear nail polish. However, most men are turned off by: fake nails, paste-on nails, extreme nail art, extremely long nails, sharp nails, or even square nails.

What nail color is best for a date? ›

With that said, pink, raspberry, and red are some great selections. Not only are these colors inherently romantic, but they also offer an air of femininity that your date will adore. During an interview, you don't want your nails to be too loud.

Do guys notice nails? ›

Most of the time, we associate nail art with fashion choices that are more meant to impress ourselves or other women. But guys do notice if your nail game is on point.

Are red nails seductive? ›

Experts do, however, universally agree that red has a powerful effect on men. A 2008 study of 27 men with a median age of 20 found that men consider women wearing red more attractive and sexually desirable.

What nail color means love? ›

Red and Warm Colors are some of the most popular shades of nail polish that people use for their manicures. The nail polish color meanings that people associate with red and pink include energy, empathy, passion, care, and love.

What does red mean in dating? ›

In dating, a red flag is an early indicator of an unhealthy relationship or a problematic partner; a green flag is a behaviour or personal trait that suggests the person you are seeing is likely to be healthy, mature and generally attractive in the future.

What color is love attraction? ›

It is what most people say it is — 'red in its most vibrant shade. ' The maddening brightness of red roses, the sea of flowering poppies, the luscious red lips of my beloved — the shade does have a claim to fame as 'the colour of love. ' Many would say pink represents love in its truest form.

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