Men's Nail Polish Joins the Cosmetics Market

Two companies are trying to create a market for nail polish for men
Alpha Nail and EvolutionMan are hoping guys will watch football while the polish sets Photograph by Francesco Nazardo for Bloomberg Businessweek

A few years ago, Josh Espley, a former marketing exec for a sex toy company called Fleshlight, noticed that his kickboxing friends were wearing polish to cover their banged-up nails. The practice was becoming popular, he noted, with the mixed martial arts crowd: Former Ultimate Fighting Championship star Chuck Liddell famously sported dainty pink fingernail polish in fights. Espley occasionally reads Us Weekly—to help him chat up women, he says—and saw polish on male celebrities such as Zac Efron, Jared Leto, Dave Navarro, and Johnny Depp. So in 2009, as a way to supplement his income, he created Blakk Cosmetics. Its first product was Alpha Nail paint, which the company sold in $12 pens in colors like “cocaine” (creamy white), “burnin’ rubber” (dark navy), and “gasoline” (charcoal gray).

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