Here’s Why TikTok Is Manifesting Using Nail Polish Colors (and What Each Color Means) (2024)

From scripting journals to daily affirmations, “manifesting” is one of the trendiest buzzwords of the year. But while we’ve seen many manifestation techniques come up over the last few years, TikTok’s latest hashtag has to be the strangest one yet. Dubbed the “manifestation manicure,” it has followers convinced that their nail polish colors are manifesting positive outcomes in their everyday lives.

To dissect the mentality behind this new beauty-psychology hybrid, we spoke with color psychologists and color experts to find out more about color theory—and how nail polish colors may actually be able to help you manifest your desires.

What is manifestation?

Amy Wax, color expert and consultant, defines manifesting as “making a conscious decision to shift all of our positive energy to believe something will happen, essentially wishing it to be until it actually comes true.”

For example, if you visualize where you want to go to school, what your dream home looks like, or where you’ll be in 10 years, you’ll have a clearer idea of what you’re wanting, which will essentially push out into your 3D reality.

How does nail polish color correlate to manifestation?

Ultimately, it all winds down to color psychology. “If you apply colors to your nail polish, you are wishing the spiritual identity of those colors to become a part of your life,” says Wax. “For example, orange reflects creativity, excitement, a positive attitude, and upbeat spirits. If you paint your nails with orange nail polish, you might feel more upbeat—it will affect your mood and inspire your creativity. Therefore, you manifested the effects of the orange to become a part of your life.”

What is the“Red Nail Theory?”

Knowing that information, it makes sense why TikTok’s “Red Nail Theory” has blown up. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a leading example of using nail polish to manifest relationships, particularly romantic ones. TikTok user @GirlBossTown, brought this idea to the forefront when she posted a video about her experience wearing red nail polish and claimed that it helped her garner more male attention than usual. But while it may sound a bit woo-woo, experts say there are actually grounds to support this based on color psychology and theory.

“In color psychology, red is the color that most catches the eye. Red is physically stimulating, and this is why it’s often used when visual impact is important,” says Caroline Shaw, personal stylist and color psychologist. “Men remember women who have red nails, which is good if you are hoping to make a lasting impression. Red is associated with strong emotions, strength, power, courage, and danger. Red nails are a clear signal a woman is ready to attract a partner.”

What does each color mean?

As demonstrated by the “Red Nail Theory,” different colors provoke different reactions and feelings, hence affecting your exuded “energy”. “I love that we can choose to apply the colors we want, manifesting ourselves to be more powerful, honest, cheerful, and sexy,” says Wax.

Not a fan of red nails? Shaw and Wax helped us break down the association behind each nail polish color—if you’re indecisive and can never decide what manicure color to get next, use this guide to help you manifest how you want to feel and what energy you put out into the world.

Red: It’s vibrant, stimulating, and exciting with a strong link to sexuality and increased appetites.

Orange: Conveys a warm, fun, confident person. It’s a highly stimulating color which gives off a spontaneous vibe.

Yellow : Signifies positivity and fun. It gives off a high-energy vibe or someone going through a positive life change.

Green: Associated with relaxation, nature and money. It stimulates harmony and balance in our brains. It symbolizes nature so it implies an eco-friendly personality.

Blue: Signifies stable sentiments such as trust, tranquility, security, and wisdom. It implies a calm and trustworthy personality.

Indigo: Signifies spiritual awareness, intuition, wisdom and mystery. It implies a personality drawn to inward thinking.

Violet: Signifies creativity, luxury, mystery, and royalty. It implies an empathetic and individual personality.

Brown: A conservative color with a low profile. It’s warm and inviting, forthcoming, and reliable.

Black: As chic as the day is long, black is all about luxury and elegance. Going formal with a sense of mystery and power.

White: Traditionally a color that means purity and innocence. It’s simple and clean, with a sense of goodness and purity.

Here’s Why TikTok Is Manifesting Using Nail Polish Colors (and What Each Color Means) (2024)
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