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.
— HuffPost UK Style (@HuffPostUKStyle) June 15, 2017
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.”
— Mashable (@mashable) March 30, 2017
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.