Back in March, Marc Jacobs uploaded a photo of himself to Instagram enjoying a cigarette break while simultaneously showing off a set of dark purple nails. And the fashion designer's accompanying hashtag #malepolish has since turned into the hottest new men's beauty trend.
Jacobs, who has long been a pioneer of eye-catching style statements, has been single-handedly reclaiming the 'man' in 'manicure' via regular social media posts documenting his penchant for colorful nails. He favours dark, moody shades such as purples, blacks and burgundies, adding a touch of grunge-glam to his everyday look.
Social media users everywhere have since been embracing the #malepolish trend with renewed enthusiasm, with Instagram displaying over 1,200 images tagged with the caption.
Anyone who knows me knows I've been obsessed with finding the perfect #oxblood nailpolish for a man. This is the closest I've gotten. Two coats of black with one coat of #opimidnightinmoscow and #jinsoontopgloss. What do you think? @opi_products @jinsoon @themarcjacobs @marcjacobs #malepolish #macmakeupstudio @maccosmetics #maccosmetics #malegrooming #skinisin #macmatchmastercompact #macstudiofix powder #macmattebronze bronzer #nycmua #makeup #makeupartist #inspiredbymarcjacobs #myartistcommunity #nycmetromakeup @nycmetromakeup
However, there is some debate that the #malepolish hashtag begun three years ago by a trans woman from Edmonton named Aria Ehren. She took to Reddit last week to share a post expressing her feelings regarding a recent article published by Buzzfeed that cited Marc Jacobs as the founder of the trend.
... because Marc Jacobs made that term popular, not a trans woman named litui 3 years ago on /r/malepolish right? https://t.co/7gPuZhhnik
— Aria Ehren (@litui) August 17, 2016
However, in a post on the Reddit thread /r/malepolish, Ehren does note that neither she, nor anyone else, "owns" the word or concept of #malepolish — it's simply a term that describes a person choice of self-expression.
And it's clear many men are indulging in this form expressive art. Although stars such as Marilyn Manson, Jared Leto and Jacobs himself are known for championing the gothic look with somber shades, the Internet shows a glitzier side to the trend. From creamy pastels to glittering metallics, guys, it seems, are getting bold with their manicure choices. Many have adopted an artistic approach, with NYC graphic designer Samsonntag documenting a spray-painted aesthetic, while others, such as dancer and nail artist-in-training Ben Thomas, have channelled a love of all things scientific into intricate, prism-like designs.
Whatever the color, the rising popularity of the #malepolish movement is symbolic of a wider trend — that of the increasing interest in male beauty in general.
In January, new figures predicted that the growth in the male grooming sector would drive a steady increase in the global haircare market over the next three years, with growing numbers of fashion-conscious consumers cited as the main reason for the boost. Male grooming has undergone a revival across the beauty industry over the last few years, boosted by the launch of high-profile products such as Clinique's Sonic System Deep Cleansing Brush, brewery Carlsberg's shampoo, conditioner and body lotion trio, and must-have products such as beard oils and scented moisturizers.
#Malepolish is proof of just how much the face of mainstream men's beauty is changing.
With files from Monika Markovinovic.