New research suggests that nail care, whether done at a salon or at home, can boost positive emotions and relaxation among women. The depth of personal sharing during manicure appointments also influenced these psychological effects. The study has been published in Frontiers in Psychology.
People have long sought ways to enhance their appearance, and the beauty industry has capitalized on this desire. Makeup has been a staple in this quest for beauty, with numerous studies showing how it can enhance physical attractiveness. But what about nail care? While makeup’s effects on attractiveness and psychological well-being have been extensively studied, nail care has received far less attention.
The motivation behind this study stemmed from the growing popularity of nail care and the limited scientific exploration of its psychological effects. The researchers wanted to understand how this beauty ritual impacted individuals’ emotions, relaxation, and overall well-being.
“I became interested in this topic due to the growing body of research on the intersection of self-care practices and their impact on mental well-being,” said study author Atsushi Kawakubo, an associate professor at Saitama Gakuen University. “The idea that something as seemingly simple as salon nail care, combined with self-disclosure, could have a meaningful psychological effect intrigued me. I wanted to explore the potential of this understudied area.”
“Today, an increasing number of individuals are paying attention to nail care in addition to makeup. This is partly due to the fact that, while numerous studies have explored the psychological effects of makeup, there have been relatively few studies on nail care”
To delve into the psychological effects of nail care, the researchers conducted an online survey involving Japanese women from various age groups and regions. A total of 500 Japanese women participated in the study, with ages ranging from the early 20s to late 30s. All participants lived in metropolitan areas and completed the survey using smartphones or computers.
The survey collected information on participants’ demographics, such as age, residence, marital status, household income, and monthly expenses on cosmetics. Additionally, participants were asked about their nail care habits, including whether they frequented nail salons, self-applied nail care, or did neither.
To assess the psychological effects of nail care, the researchers developed a set of questions based on the items used to measure the psychological effects of makeup in previous studies. Participants were asked to rate the extent to which they experienced various emotions and attitudes during a typical nail care session. The items were measured on a four-point scale, ranging from “not at all” to “a great deal.”
The study also explored the depth of self-disclosure in nail salons, which is a unique feature of nail care compared to makeup. Using a scale developed by previous researchers, participants who received nail care from salon manicurists were asked to indicate the extent to which they discussed topics related to hobbies, daily life, difficult experiences, disadvantages, weaknesses, and negative personality traits with the manicurist. These questions were scored on a seven-point scale.
Similar to makeup, nail care was found to have positive psychological effects on individuals. Participants reported experiencing increased positive emotions, relaxation, and vitalization during nail care sessions. This suggests that nail care can contribute to enhanced emotional well-being and relaxation, akin to the effects of makeup.
The research revealed that individuals who received nail care services from salon manicurists reported more significant positive emotions and greater relaxation compared to those who self-applied their nail care. This finding underscores the potential benefits of visiting a salon for nail care, as the experience seems to have a more substantial impact on an individual’s mood and relaxation.
The depth of self-disclosure during nail care appointments was found to influence the psychological effects. Superficial self-disclosure, including discussions about hobbies and daily life, was positively associated with increased positive emotions, relaxation, and vitalization. However, deeper self-disclosure, particularly regarding negative personality traits and difficulties, had a negative impact on certain psychological outcomes. This suggests that the effectiveness of self-disclosure during nail care depends on its depth and content.
“Our research suggests that engaging in salon nail care, coupled with light self-disclosure, can provide a positive boost to one’s psychological state,” Kawakubo told PsyPost. “This practice offers a tangible way for individuals to promote their mental well-being, emphasizing the importance of self-care and the potential benefits of sharing personal thoughts in a comfortable setting.”
But the study, like all research, has some limitations. It did not include a control group, making it challenging to make direct comparisons. Additionally, the study relied on self-reported data, and causality cannot be established from the findings.
The study focused on a specific demographic group of Japanese women in metropolitan areas, and the results may not generalize to other populations or cultures. Future research could explore the impact of nail care on different demographics and consider experimental designs to establish causality.
“While our study provides valuable insights, it’s essential to remember that individual responses to salon nail care and self-disclosure can vary,” Kawakubo noted. “Further research should explore the long-term effects and the specific mechanisms through which these activities affect mental health.”
“We also need to consider potential confounding variables and differences among diverse populations. Given that this study exclusively involved Japanese subjects, it’s important to acknowledge that there could be variations in the results when applied to other cultural contexts.”
“In contemporary times, an increasing number of both male and female show a growing interest in beauty, with a rising number of individuals engaging in nail art practices,” Kawakubo added. “While this study exclusively focused on women, we intend to conduct future research that includes men as well.”
Despite these limitations, the findings provide evidence that beauty rituals such as nail care can positively impact our psychological well-being.
“I would like to emphasize the importance of self-care practices in our fast-paced world,” Kawakubo said. “Engaging in activities that allow individuals to relax, reflect, and self-disclose can be a valuable component of maintaining good mental health. It’s also crucial to consider the cultural and individual factors that may influence the effectiveness of these practices.”
The study, “Salon nail care with superficial self-disclosure vitalizes psychological state“, was authored by Atsushi Kawakubo Takashi Oguchi.