Can You Wear Nail Polish To Work? (Explained & Solved)

If your job requires you to report to the workplace, then you probably have to follow a certain dress code depending on your work industry. In typical offices, you wear blazers, pantsuits, trousers, and skirts. In some workplaces, there are uniforms.

In workplaces with strict dress codes, there are specific rules that tell you what clothes to wear, what shoes to wear, how to wear your hair, and whether you can wear nail polish or not.

Depending on where you work, you may be allowed to wear nail polish or not.

Here Are Jobs Where you Can Generally Wear Nail Polish to Work:

Many jobs do not have a strict dress code, so you can wear nail polish to work. Most office jobs don’t mind nail polish, and women and men can wear it to work. However, jobs in the food or medical professions don’t allow nail polish, as it could be a safety risk.

Do Most Workplaces Allow Nail Polish?

Workplaces generally allow their employees to wear nail polish as long as it does not interfere with their ability to perform their duties.

Here is a list of workplaces that generally allow their employees to wear nail polish:

  • Banks
  • Technology Companies
  • Advertising Agencies
  • Law Firms
  • Schools and Universities
  • Hair Salons

The workplaces listed above generally allow nail polish, as long as it looks professional. However, some of these workplaces have dress codes, so they may allow their employees to wear nail polish in certain colors.

Bank employees are generally allowed to wear nail polish because it does not interfere with their performance. The same goes for those who work in a typical office set-up, like employees at tech or IT companies and advertising agencies.

If your job requires you to only be at a desk, then you are most likely allowed to wear nail polish to work.

Lawyers and law firm staff are also allowed to wear nail polish as long as it is done well and looks professional. This means no bright colors, glitter, or elaborate nail art.

School teachers and university professors are also allowed to wear nail polish. There may be specific rules, depending on where they teach.

Some workplaces may or may not allow employees to wear nail polish, depending on the company.

Here are some examples:

Fashion Stores:

Retail fashion stores like H&M, Forever 21, Zara, Everlane, and Tommy Hilfiger allow employees to wear nail polish.

In contrast, luxury and designer stores like Gucci and Prada do not allow employees to wear nail polish.

Grocery and Department Stores:

Walmart, Target, Walgreens, Lowe’s, and Best Buy usually allow their employees to wear nail polish, but it can still depend on the position.

Some grocery stores do not let employees wear nail polish if they handle food.


Some restaurants do not allow their kitchen staff to wear nail polish, while some do since they wear gloves.

Depending on the restaurant policy, the wait staff and manager may or may not wear nail polish.

It is up to your employer if wearing nail polish is allowed or not.

Is it Considered Unprofessional to Wear Nail Polish?

People, mostly women, wear nail polish as an expression of their style and a way to show off their personality. Some people wear nail polish occasionally, while others love wearing them all the time just for fun.

It is not unprofessional to wear nail polish if you stick to plain and simple colors like nude, light pink, red, white, gray, or anything subtle. 

However, some people consider it unprofessional if you wear nail polish in neon colors to work because it can be too distracting. The same goes if you wear nail art to work.

If you have a customer-facing or client-facing job, your customers and clients may find you unprofessional if you wear nail polish in loud colors and overwhelming designs.

While most nail polish does not affect one’s ability to perform their duties at work, it can affect how they present themselves and their impression on others.

So if your workplace does allow you to wear nail polish, remember to keep it simple.

Which Workplaces Don’t Allow Nail Polish?

Even though many workplaces have lenient policies on nail polish, some workplaces don’t allow nail polish.

Workplaces where people handle food and chemical products or operate heavy machinery do not allow nail polish.

In workplaces where the employees handle food products or those with chemical substances, wearing nail polish is not allowed. The same goes for places where employees have to operate machinery.

Here is a list of places where wearing nail polish is not allowed for employees:

  • Food and Beverage Manufacturers
  • Factories
  • Hospitals
  • Healthcare Facilities
  • Research Laboratories
  • Cleaning Companies

Nail polish tends to chip or crack, and if it does, it can get into the food if you work in the food industry. If you work at a factory or laboratory, the nail polish may have a chemical reaction with other substances.

In hospitals, employees, including doctors, nurses, and other health care staff, are not allowed to wear nail polish because if it chips, it can be a conduit for the transmission of different diseases.

In these places, workplaces that do not allow nail polish impose such policies for the safety of the employees and other people.

Can Guys Wear Nail Polish at Work?

Generally, guys are not allowed to wear nail polish at work. 

Many people deem it inappropriate for guys to wear nail polish at work. It looks unprofessional, and it can be a visual distraction.

Even in places that allow women to wear nail polish, guys are still not allowed to.

Can You Wear Any Color of Nail Polish at Work?

If workplaces allow nail polish, you can wear any color of nail polish as long as it is a plain and solid color that is not visually distracting.

Where no rule specifically implies it, most workplaces would find neon colors inappropriate for work because they can be distracting. Most employers would also not approve of nail art for the same reasons.

Here are the colors of nail polish that are recommended to be worn at work:

  • Red – This color is classic and can go well with anything. It also does not look out of place at work, so you can wear it on typical workdays, to office meetings to work events.
  • Nude Shades – This is another color that goes well with anything. Be it brown, beige, or light pink, and you can never go wrong with wearing nude nail polish color at work.
  • Burgundy – This color boosts confidence and is considered a classic red.
  • Gray – This color is always work-appropriate, whether in a dark or light shade.
  • White – This color is perfect for any occasion, including work days. White nail polish always looks clean, simple, elegant, and professional.
  • Pastel Colors – Any nail polish in a pastel color would look appropriate for office wear.
  • Pink – This is another nail polish color that you can never go wrong with. Pink looks good on any skin tone and is subtle and appropriate for wearing to work.
  • French Manicure – Many people think this is just for weddings, but French Manicures are great for work too.

Companies have different policies and dress codes, even in the same industry. So before wearing nail polish to work, you must know what the policies are in your workplace.

If your workplace does not allow nail polish, then the best thing to do is follow it and forgo the nail polish.


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