Where does come from?
While officially known as the nail polish emoji, it is sometimes called the nail paint, nail painting, nail care, beauty, or manicure emoji. That said, most users refer to it by its formal Unicode name.
Beyond its literal meaning, the image evokes a sense of regal aloofness. In March 2014, Alexander Abad-Santos and Allie Jones wrote in The Atlantic that the nail polish emoji was “the Beyonce of emojis,” and can mean “anything from shutting haters down to a sense of accomplishment; a swift ‘I don’t care’ to a spa day.”
Adam Sternbergh observed in New York Magazine in November, 2014 that the nail polish emoji had begun to mean “I’m not bothered” or “Haters gonna hate.” In June, 2014, the nail polish emoji even inspired a Twitter account with the handle @sassynailpolish and username “nail polish emoji.” The account tweeted pictures of the emoji on phone cases and t-shirts as well as the emoji itself.
The sassy sense of the nail polish emoji had indeed become so popular that BuzzFeed declared 2014 “the year of the nail care emoji” in a year-end roundup of the “most nail care emoji moments” of the past year.
Who uses ?
On social media, many use the nail polish emoji to highlight an impressive manicure or fancy outfit. Others, drawing on a popular association between manicures and pampering, use the nail polish emoji to signal a relaxing day off, self-care, or feeling beautiful.
Since at least 2014, though, the nail polish emoji has been used as an emotional tone marker to communicate sass, indifference, or poise in text.