For a growing number of young men in China, nails are becoming a new canvas for self-expression.

For example, KnowKnow of trap group Higher Brothers has been seen flaunting colorful manicures on social media.

This trend has trickled down to China’s young and fashion-conscious. Kathy Kong, the co-founder of Shanghai-based nail salon Tipsy Tips, estimates that over half of her salon’s clientele are young men.

She says, “You can’t say that men who do their nails are all ‘effeminate’ or being ‘gender ambiguous.’ It is really more about an expression of one’s inner and whole self, regardless of gender.” 

Justin Hsu, a fashion stylist and avid nail art fan, tells us, “I do my nails to express myself, for special occasions, or sometimes just to complete a look.”

“With nail art, a cool guy becomes even cooler!” remarks Tipsy Tips’ Kong. “All the tiny elements and details of his look work together, forming a more complete sense of his style and his personality.”