Best Nail Polish for Men 2021: Celebrities, Top Shades, How to Wear It - Rolling Stone
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The Best Rock Star-Inspired Nail Polish for Men to Try Right Now

As easy as dyeing your hair and as cool as a pair of shades, see why everyone from rock stars to rappers are reaching for nail polish to express their style and creativity

best nail polish for men

Crete

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Nail polish on men is trending again. In the Seventies, artists like David Bowie and Lou Reed were wearing it. Men’s “subversive” self-expression began to really take off during this time period, although defying norms was not new. By the Nineties, Kurt Cobain and Billie Joe Armstrong were among the men who incorporated nail polish in their rock star personas. Musicians have long led the way for trends and bold style choices. 

Does Nail Polish Look Good on Men?

Gender norms and rules are completely out the door, and in the past few years, we’ve seen an uptick in our favorite musicians, even outside of rock, embracing nail polish. From A$AP Rocky, to Bad Bunny, Harry Styles, and Lil Yachty, nail polish on men may finally stop being a trend and just become another simple style choice. Plus, they’re having fun with nail art, which is making it a lot more interesting than just regular, painted nails.

Need more proof that nail polish for men is a thing? Lil Yachty recently just announced his own nail polish line, Crete, thus cementing that nail polish on men is on its way to becoming the norm. And it’s not just for rock stars. 

If you want to get creative, why not try painting your nails? Whether you want them solid, or designed with nail art brushes, here are some of the best nail polish (in quality and color) for men to shop now.  

1. Revlon Nail Enamel, Clear

Revlon Enamel Clear, best nail polishes for men

Amazon

If you’re new to the nail polish game, start off with a basic clear polish. Revlon’s is chip-resistant and easy to apply. It might make for good practice if you haven’t developed the steady hand yet for painting your own nails. Regular nail polish wearer or not, clear polish also serves as a great base for nail art, like how A$AP Rocky did his with hearts, a smiley face, and more.

Buy: Revlon Nail Enamel at $12.49

2. OPI Nail Polish Mexico City Collection, Nail Lacquer, ‘Don’t Tell a Sol’

OPI Nail Polish Mexico City Collection, Don't Tell a Sol, best nail polish for men

Amazon

For the best nails, apply a clear base and top coat before your color. OPI is one of the most trusted brands out there. Its wide range of high-pigmented colors are available in most nail salons. OPI’s formulas are long-lasting and chip resistant; they normally will last up to seven days. This yellow color, Don’t Tell a Sol, from its Mexico City collection is bold and especially appropriate for the spring and summer. 

Buy: OPI Nail Polish Mexico City Collection at $10.50

3. OPI Nail Lacquer, Red Nail Polish, ‘Red Hot Rio’

OPI Red Nail Polish, best nail polish for men

Amazon

There are so many red shades to choose from, but OPI’s Red Hot Rio is perfect. It’s a deep red that’s not too bright or dark, but is sure to grab people’s attention. For any nail polish, paint twice over for best results. 

Buy: OPI Nail Lacquer, Red Nail Polish at $10.50

4. Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro Nail Polish, ‘What’s Good’

Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro Nail Polish Blue, best nail polish for men

Amazon

Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro Nail Polish is a healthy vegan alternative to many other nail polish brands. Its formula is treatment-enriched with 10 exclusive ingredients that promote strong nail health. The bright blue color, What’s Good, will look great on any nail. It provides ultra shine and cushion like a gel manicure without damaging the nails. 

Buy: Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro Nail… at $20.00

5. Essie Expressie Quick-Dry Vegan Nail Polish, Now Or Never, Black

Essie Expressie, Now or Never Black, best nail polish for men

Amazon

Essie is another beloved nail brand used across countless salons and professionals. This vegan gel formula, Expressie, was designed to dry in just a minute. It also has an angled brush for easy use, whether you’re applying with your left or right hand. This one comes in 30+ shades, but Black is a necessity if you’re going to own nail polish for men –an ode to the rock stars who often donned dark shades and leather jackets to go with their dark nails. 

Buy: Essie Expressie Quick-Dry Vegan Polish at $8.95

6. Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Color, Limestone

Sally Hansen Limestone nail polish, best nail polish for men

Amazon

For something brighter and less goth, Sally Hansen’s Limestone is a nice standout. This formaldehyde-free polish keeps nails healthy with pro-vitamin B5 and green tea ingredients. Embrace color and shine while maintaining strong nails. 

Buy: Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Color at $6.50

7. ILNP Eclipse (H) – Black to Red Holographic Ultra Chrome Nail Polish

ILNP Eclipse Ultra Chrome, best nail polish for men

Amazon

ILNP also offers a vegan, cruelty-free formula with no harmful chemicals, like the “toxic trio” toluene, formaldehyde, or dibutyl Phthalate, and more. The Eclipse Ultra Chrome color looks blackish red with hints of green, orange, and more. It’s a dark but fun color that gives an outer space effect, hence the Eclipse name.

Buy: ILNP Eclipse Black to Red Holographic… at $12.50

8. Duri Nail Polish, 761 Glow Up, Deep Purple Blue Metallic Pearl Shimmer Lacquer

Duri Nail Polish Glow Up, best nail polish for men

Another interesting polish to try is metallic. Duri’s metallic purple, Glow Up, also gives some futuristic vibes. It’s vegan and formulated without seven common toxins, including formaldehyde. If the purple doesn’t speak to you, they offer many other metallic options.

Buy: Duri Nail Polish Shimmer Lacquer at $7.99

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