I Tried Dozens of Red Nail Polishes to Test TikTok’s Red Nail Theory Trend, and These 3 Are My Favorites

They’re perfect for Valentine’s Day, too.

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Red Nail Theory Polishes

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There’s nothing more classic than a striking red color. Some people say red lips are only for the evening, yet I wear the bold shade anytime, anywhere; same goes for a red cocktail dress — I slip one on to feel confident. And don’t even get me started on a red manicure. It’s the ultimate power move everyone will notice — and TikTok is going crazy over it.    

With almost 160 million views, the viral #rednailtheory trend is garnering the likes of beauty lovers everywhere. @girlsosstown on TikTok started the surge in interest, explaining that “guys are attracted to red nails.” @navyapassi then explained  the beauty hack attracts compliments by using a color we’ve seen our moms, grandmothers, and teachers wear while growing up, thus making it more noticeable and familiar. “The [number of] compliments I got from boys, and men, and even women that entire night was insane,” she said.   

I’ve been wearing red nails for as long as I can remember, but I tried it out the other night through the lens of this TikTok trend. Let’s just say people definitely noticed — even my mom via a FaceTime call from 3,000-miles away. But despite the compliments, the real reason I’m all about red nails is because of how they make me feel: powerful and unstoppable. So, try out the trend for yourself by checking out my top three red nail polishes below. PS: They’re perfect for Valentine’s Day. 

My first red nail pick is Chanel’s Le Vernis Longwear Nail Colour in “Super Lune.” It’s sold out on the Chanel website (a testament to the popularity of this trend), though you can still snag it at Macy’s. Chanel still offers a plethora of other gorgeous shades that are nearly identical to my favorite: The “Pirate” shade is closest to “Super Lune,” as it features the same dark red hue. “Emblématique'' has a blue undertone, while “Rouge Burn” is the darkest of all the shades. Every single color includes bioceramics and ceramides to boost your nail health. And from a longevity perspective, I wash my hands like crazy and these polishes always stay put.

LE VERNIS Longwear Nail Colour


Shop now: $30; macys.com

Emilie Heathe has another standout polish called “The Perfect Red.” The name is well-deserved, as nothing beats this shade: a deep red with orange undertones. Free of harmful ingredients, vitamin E, zinc, biotin, and coconut oil are included in the formula of this clean polish, making your nails stronger with each use. Best of all, this nontoxic choice lasts, keeping my manicure looking good for at least one full week. Needless to say, this is almost always my first choice when it comes to red nails. 

Emile Heathe Nail Artist 10-Free Longwear Nail Polish

Neiman Marcus

Shop now: $30; nordstrom.com

A more affordable option is Essie’s glossy polish in “Spice It Up.” Not only is it on sale for just $7, but it has almost 2,300 five-star ratings. The bold shade is warm and bright, making it the perfect option for a head-turning manicure. I like to seal in my Essie polish using the brand’s Gel Couture Top Coat for a gel-like finish without a nail lamp or salon visit.   

essie nail polish spice it up


Shop now: $7 (Originally $9); amazon.com

Remember, the red nail theory trend is just a viral social media moment, but the feeling you get when rocking a red mani is incomparable. If you feel bold and fearless, you’re doing it right. 

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