Home Psychology Why Do People Paint Their Nails Black

Why Do People Paint Their Nails Black

by Lyndon Langley
Why Do People Paint Their Nails Black

Why Do People Paint Their Nails Black

When I was a kid, my mom had an amazing ability to make me feel like the most beautiful girl in the world — no matter what size I happened to be at any given time. While she certainly wasn’t perfect, she always believed in treating her children as princesses, and that’s exactly how I felt whenever I wore anything pink or sparkly.
So when it came to my nails, I never really thought twice about painting them whatever color they wanted. My favorite shade of red was called “Shoes,” but for some reason I also loved doing white-on-white polka dots on my nails (no idea why). When I got older, though, I started noticing that other girls were wearing more colorful nails than me; maybe because so many celebrities sported bold colors these days? Or maybe it just made me feel left out. Regardless, I decided to start experimenting with different shades on my own nails.
My first attempt involved a dark blue base coat followed by three coats of bright yellow paint. The result looked okay — not too bad, but not quite right either. It took me a while to figure out that I needed to wear two layers of black overtop of each other before applying the colored topcoat. Nowadays, if someone asks me what I’m wearing on my nails, I can confidently tell them that I’ve chosen something from the darkest section of this article’s chart, which is all the way to the right in the photo below.
It’s been years since I last tried a manicure. But after seeing the popularity of black nails recently, I decided to give it another go. On Instagram, I saw lots of people sporting black nails in their feeds, and I noticed that many of them used a similar technique to mine. They’d apply one layer of black paint, wait for it to dry, then apply another layer of black paint, again waiting for it to dry. After repeating this process several times, they would end up with a nice, uniform black finish. And although I didn’t follow along with everyone else, I did decide to try it myself.
Black nail polish isn’t new technology, nor is it particularly innovative. In fact, we’ve been using it for centuries. During the Middle Ages, women in Europe usually painted their fingernails a single color, typically red. But during the Renaissance period, men began to develop their own fashion trends, and they started choosing darker colors such as purple, green, brown and even blue. By the 17th century, European men were often seen wearing black nail varnishes, and by the 18th century, they’d transitioned away from natural pigments altogether and opted instead to use coal and iron dust mixed together to create artificial versions of various hues.
Fast forward to today, and nail polish manufacturers are still trying to innovate ways to keep their products looking fresh. For example, Sally Hansen created a formula that allows users to customize their nails to match their outfits, and OPI has developed a line of polishes that change hue based on your skin tone. So why do people choose to paint their nails black? There are actually multiple reasons behind this practice. Some claim that it helps them achieve a polished appearance without having to worry about smudging or getting streaks under certain conditions, while others say that black nails represent being comfortable with themselves. Let’s take a closer look at both sides of the debate.
Getting Ready for Success
We tend to think of black hair as representing death, mourning and sadness, but the same concept can be applied to our nails. Like their counterparts, our bodies slowly fall apart over time, and eventually we reach a point where we need to let go of everything that makes us who we are. If we’re lucky enough to have strong relationships with family members, friends and colleagues, those connections will help us get through the tough times. But if we isolate ourselves and keep to ourselves, we’ll only experience pain alone.
For people who want to embrace life and live it to its fullest extent, black nails might seem like a risky choice. However, some believe that it gives them a sense of security and self-confidence, knowing that there won’t be any surprises lurking underneath their digits. Sure, it may not be appropriate for every occasion, but sometimes it’s good to put aside your inhibitions and allow yourself to express your true personality.
“I love black nails. They are a very classy look and show off your outfit perfectly,” says artist/writer Ashley Poulton via email. “They are simple yet sophisticated, and I personally find that wearing black nails makes me feel confident and powerful.”
Some experts agree that black nails offer a form of protection against the elements. Because they absorb light, black nails block out ultraviolet rays, reducing the effects of sunburns and wrinkles. Other benefits include protecting against bacteria and fungus, which cause breakouts.
But some people aren’t convinced that black nails work as well as regular colored ones. According to Dr. David Karpf, a dermatologist in Chicago, Illinois, black nails are fine for day-to-day use, but they’re not recommended for frequent swimming or exposure to extreme heat. He suggests that patients avoid wearing black nails in places where sweat or oil buildup could collect, such as around their wrists or elbows. Also, if you’re worried about attracting bugs, you should consider taking extra precautions by wearing gloves.
Another theory posits that black nails symbolize strength and power. Since the ancient Egyptians and Greeks relied heavily upon henna for body art, they likely incorporated its reddish coloring into their nails. As time passed, people gradually stopped using henna due to its harsh side effects, including nausea, vomiting, headaches and dizziness. Instead, they turned to ochre, a type of earth pigment that produces deep rust-colored nails. Eventually, people switched to lead acetate, which led to the creation of modern nail polish. Lead acetate remains popular today because it creates long-lasting results, provides good coverage and doesn’t irritate the skin underneath.
Allowing Yourself to Shine
If you’ve ever worn a pair of jeans that faded after multiple washings, you know that dirt and grime can easily accumulate beneath your fingernails. This problem is especially prevalent among teenagers, whose hands are constantly covered in grease from cooking or playing video games. To prevent oily buildup from ruining their manicures, some people opt to paint their nails with a clear topcoat, allowing them to shine through. Others prefer to conceal their dirty digits with black nail polish.
While some people argue that black nails reflect a person’s true character, others contend that hiding unsightly stains makes people appear dishonest and deceitful. One woman told Cosmopolitan magazine that she wears black polish because it hides the fact that her nails are dirty and cracked. Another man said that he paints his nails black because he feels like a phony if he tries to pass himself off as a clean-cut business professional with brightly colored nails.
People who enjoy working outdoors might also benefit from black nails. A former employee of mine worked in a warehouse filled with boxes, pallets and stacks of paper goods, and her fingers would become coated in ink and glue residue throughout the day. She decided to add a thin layer of black nail polish to protect her cuticles and soften up the texture of her fingertips. Her boss appreciated the subtlety of her approach, saying that she didn’t draw attention to herself by adding big chunks of color to her nails.
Whether you choose to conceal imperfections or simply enhance your overall visual appeal, it’s important to remember that black nail polish comes in all sorts of tones and textures. You can purchase lighter shades of black, medium ones and dark ones, depending on your personal preferences.
Although the trend seems to die down every few months, many people continue to turn to black nail polish for a variety of reasons. According to the Wall Street Journal, sales increased by 21 percent in 2017 compared to 2016, making black the second best selling color next to neon orange.

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