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Finger Paint: Celebs Are Betting Big on Nail Art

Unlike a category like liquor, where just anyone can own a label even if they’re sober, the five musicians behind these brands really wear the stuff.

painted nails with basketball
Faculty

Men wearing nail polish is no new phenomenon. In fact, queer men — especially queer men of color — have worn it for decades despite the inherent, and unjust, risks that come with overt self-expression. (Think: societal or career exile, even violence.) But times are a-changin’. Even though nail polish has always been a gender-neutral product, brands targeted toward, let alone started by, men didn’t really exist until the mid-2010s.

It has to be said, though, that these new brands aren’t formulaically all that different from the classics you’ll find in the beauty aisles at big box stores. Instead of reinventing the paint itself, these debutantes are betting on cooler colors and backing from big-name celebrities. But unlike a category like liquor, where just about anyone can own or back a label even if they’re sober, the guys behind these products really use the stuff. They’re out every day in it, whether on tour or courtside for a Lakers-Clippers game.

High Profile Paint

Here are a few budding brands started by some familiar faces.

Pleasing

Founder: Harry Styles

Former One Direction frontman Harry Styles sells skincare and nail care products under the brand name Pleasing. Pearls are a theme, but the products change with the seasons.

hands with pleasing nail polish
Pleasing
pleasing nail polish
Pleasing

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Crete

Founder: Lil Yachty

Crete, initially backed by rapper Lil Yachty (he left late last year), ditches the traditional bottle and dipper brush for a marker. They’re easier to use, especially if you have little to no experience with the old types.

fingers with crete nail polish
Crete
crete nail polish
Crete

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Golf le Fleur A Nail Polish

Founder: Tyler, the Creator

Golf le Fleur is Tyler, the Creator’s pastel-colored creative outlet. He uses it to sell France-inspired fragrances, fine leather luggage and a few blue and white nail polishes.

fingers with golf le fleur nail polish
Golf le Fleur
golf le fleur nail polish
Golf le Fleur

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UN/DN LAQR

Founder: Machine Gun Kelly

With names like Mary Jane and Twenty Five to Life, rapper turned punk rocker Machine Gun Kelly’s nail brand, UN/DN LAQR, feels the least personal. But… it’s definitely on brand.

nails with undn laqr nail polish
UN/DN LAQR
undn laqr nail polish
UN/DN LAQR

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No Name, All Game

These two upstart options come without the celebrity surcharge.

Faculty

Faculty wants men to embrace masculinity’s ever-changing nature — and that starts with being comfortable wearing nail polish.

nails with faculty nail polish on boombox
Faculty
faculty nail polish
Faculty

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To Be Frank

To Be Frank focuses on being gender-free, but also modern colors. Think: olive green, muted gray, pastel yellow and pink.

hands with to be frank nail polish
To Be Frank
to be frank nail polish
To Be Frank

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gear patrol issue 18
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