London's first men-only nail salon is challenging the definition of masculinity

Mimi Launder
Wednesday 13 June 2018 13:15
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Picture:(iStock / MrKornFlakes)

What's the definition of masculinity? Pink paintings, eye-catching dresses and happy, cared-for nails to match. Keep up.

It's a tired old stigma that men should not be using beauty products - but, thankfully, it's a stigma that's fading, and with it comes great, healthy nails.

Jay Jay Revlon, a DJ and dancer, has started London's first men's manicure crew, Guys That Nail It. The new pop-up salon offers a range of treatments, from cuticle work to hand massages, manicures to pedicures. You don't have to be a woman for that to sound dreamy.

He told the BBC that nail bars would too often turn him away for being a man:

There's always this sense of like, awkwardness. 

I remember when I went to get my nails done for Halloween, some women in there were like 'why are you on my turf?' kind of thing. 

Like 'it's our space'. 

No longer wanting to feel like an outsider, and knowing how many men struggle with the same stigma, he opened a safe space for himself and other men who just want to get their nails looking good.

It seems to be going pretty damn well.

The smiling faces above are far from alone. Fifty six per cent of men say the definition of masculinity needs to change and 65 per cent believe that male stereotypes are damaging, found The Book Of Man, a support network for modern men

Not that men wearing nail polish is anything new.

Enter Johnny Depp, Jared Leto, Brad Pitt, Zac Efron, Darren Criss, Harry Styles and Jayden Smith, who have all been seen in the past nailing it.

If celebrity counterculture, hardly the go-to definition of mainstream masculinity, is not good enough for you, take a history lesson.

In 3,200BC, it appears plenty of men were into nail polish: an excavation of royal tombs at Ur of the Chaldees in southern Babylonia, it was reportedly discovered that most men of the era wore nail polish, with warriors even taking hours to perfect their polish before battle. This colour-loving streak even stretched to China in 3,000BC and ancient Egypt.

MANicure, male polish, whatever your preferred pun, we can agree that men being allowed to take care of themselves is good news, but shouldn't be news at all.

More: The 10 assumptions society has about men that are completely wrong

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