Pedicure Colors For Women Over 50

Who doesn’t love a classic red pedicure, or manicure if you’re lucky enough to have strong fingernails? It’s timeless, ageless, goes with everything, and is so sophisticated! I’ve been thinking about contrast lately and reassessing pedicure colors for women over 50…and updated this post for any ladies with toes like mine.

I’m stepping further away from my predominantly black wardrobe these days and as I transition into paler, softer colored clothes, red nail polish is looking stark. When a color is a dramatic departure from the other colors around it, the eye is drawn to the contrast. In this case, attention slams to a halt at the toenails.

I don’t know about you, but my toes have taken quite a beating over the years. Scars from bunion surgery top the list but I’ve also broken several toes by stubbing and slamming them into things. Nobody ever “set” those broken toes so they healed by themselves… and did a lousy job of it.

The not-so-funny thing is that the older I get, the more crooked my toes become so wearing bright or dark-colored polish draws attention to their crookedness.

Essie Gel Couture polish collection on table

If brightly colored toe polish brings you joy every time you see it, the options are endless. I bought periwinkle this spring and love it.

White or a nude/beige is my favorite shade these days, but I’m always open to trying new things. What’s your favorite color for pedicures this spring?

Thanks for reading and be sure to wear what makes you feel confident.





  1. I like using neutrals on my nails – my current favorite by OPI is an Infinite Shine nail polish called “It Never Ends” I have fair skin and although I like bright colors, they are not always flattering.

  2. I’ve often said I would love to have the job of naming nail polish colors. So fun! I’ve been attending a Pilates studio recently and all the girls/women have such pretty manicured, polished toes and feet, some with toe rings and/or ankle bracelets – a few with very understated tattoos. It’s like their feet are works of art. I sort of crept out of there the first time, aware that I’d let my feet go – no polish, not a pedicure for months, cracked heels….you get the not so pretty picture. Love the tips and colors here in your post and comments. Waiting to read what your pink color is too – it’s lovely.

    1. The pinks are Violin and Castaway. Good for you going to Pilates!! I need to get back to the gym. I have a girlfriend who wears toe rings and I always wondered why so I asked her. She said it was because she had beautiful feet! Lucky her

  3. I always go for a clear polish or a French manicure for my hands but usually go a bit mad when it comes to a pedicure. Not sure why as I have terrible feet – toes are so crooked that I was actually scheduled for surgery to have them all broken and reset – but I chickened out at the last minute.
    I am thinking of toning it down a wee bit this year, perhaps a soft pink or deep beige – at least that’s what I tell myself – it will probably end up being a bright blue or purple just because they will make me smile.

    1. I love your criteria, “it’s makes you smile”! That’s the best way to choose, don’t you think? I’m not surprised you chickened out in the surgery. I would too!

  4. Love this post! I’m 59 and have my share of broken toes, toenails, bone spurs and size 10 feet to boot. I’ve been using and loving Christian Dior Metal Montaigne later in the summer and fall. I also have Steel Grey. The first comes across as a rich, soft black and the second as a mid to light soft grey; both with some pearl or satin.

    This time of year I want a more spring color but often find the corals too orange and the pinks to young. I’m more of a purple person. Thoughts? Also, what do you ladies think about the various finishes? Opaque vs satins, shimmers, metallics and glitter? I actually do like a touch of glitter around the holidays.

    1. I for one love purples! In the winter I frequently wear a purple that is so dark it looks black. For me, I like glossy rather than a matte finish but that may be old fashioned of me :). Glitter? Why not! It’s fun

  5. I’m a red girl all the way! I always go to the same salon and the owner even teases me about it. I have “summer reds” and “winter reds.” Every time I try something else, I’m not happy and end up going back to my reds! I look at it differently than you…if they’re looking at my pedicure, they’re not focusing on my feet! Might be bad logic…LOL

    1. And your logic could be exactly right, Lori! I’m a big believer in all of us doing and wearing what makes us feel confident. That’s what counts.

  6. I’m baffled by a woman I know who thinks she has pretty feet! She does not!!! Not many people–male or female–do, which makes me wonder, why call attention to them with toenail polish, toe rings or rhinestones? Until 10 years ago, I didn’t paint my toenails. When I started, the first color I chose was a goldish-pewter shade by Chanel. After they discontinued that color, its been challenging to find a shade that doesn’t have too much pink in it, or is too gold. I don’t get the grey, taupe, blue or green polish either, but I know I’m in the minority. xoxox, Brenda

    1. I thought blue was weird when I first saw it too. I e been polishing my toenails myself since I was around 15. Habits are a funny thing. Don’t get me started on men’s feet! I have yet to see nice ones 🙂

  7. I too have terrible bunions. AND I have hammertoes! Poor ugly feet! As I age (I’m now 62), they do get worse. But I always paint my toenails because my nails are also yellowing. I too choose lighter colors. I currently have on a pale mauve.

    1. Pale Mauve is so pretty! I was looking st some last week. I think I’ll get one next time I’m in the beauty supply store. Yes, mine are discoloring with age too. So fun.

  8. I like and usually get a peachy-pink polish with my pedicure. This last time however, I chose what looked like a deep rose pink in the bottle. It turned out to look like a dark red on my toes, though. I will definitely go back to a peachy-pink next time. It seems to blend better with my skin tone. I always just get a clear finish on my fingernails bc they are short. I have a very difficult time growing my nails despite taking various supplements.

  9. Jennifer, can you talk about your bunion surgery….. do you feet look better…can you wear more shoes….was it painful… was it worth it…. thank, I’m thinking about it

    1. Mine recovery was brutally painful and I had to have the same bunion operated on 2 years later by a better Dr! The first one was a hack. Yes, that foot is much more comfy now. I suggest waiting until your bunions are so painful, the surgery will be a welcome relief. I do need to have the one on my left food done but am putting it off because I can control the discomfort with the type of shoes I wear. Good luck. Interview many Dr’s and ask for other women’s suggestion on who to use. You can meet them in shoe departments!! That’s what I did to find my good Dr.

      1. Please research a product called “Correct Toes” and read the shoe recommendations of the Podiatrist that designed the device. I’ve found such relief from bunions on both feet by utilizing these and Soft Star Shoes.

        And I wear a clear red polish in the winter and a pearl white in the Summer. I’m in Texas and we only have two seasons.

      2. Thanks so much for sharing this Donnella. I will check it out! Comfy shoes are critical!

    2. Regarding bunion surgery, I had it when I was 19 years old and the recovery was very long and painful. It hurt to stand or walk, and I could not wear regular shoes for months afterwards. It was hard to sleep at night because the weight of the covers hurt tremendously and it was years before I got the feeling back in the skin on the outside of my big toes. My surgery involved breaking and resetting the big toes.

      I learned later, on going to massage school, that massage can fix bunions by releasing the muscles on the inside of the big toe that are pulling the toe to the opposite side. Bunions are more of a muscle issue caused by wearing tight shoes that are too small in the toe box. The muscles on the inside of the big toes shorten to allow the toe to move over in shoes, and over time, they stay shortened. I recommend getting some flat shoes with a wide enough toe box for your toes to spread out, and getting some massage from a sports massage therapist to release the muscles in your toes. I usually wear Born Julianne flats and I get them in a full size larger with a wide width from Zappos online. Local retailers in my area don’t carry wide widths.

      I used to also have hammer toes, where the toes stayed bent at the joints. Just since changing the type of shoes I wear, I no longer have hammer toes, but massage can also speed up the healing process for them, too. That is a muscle tension problem as well with the muscles on the tops and bottoms of the toes staying shortened.

      Sometimes the body forms calcium deposits on the outside of bunions to protect the bone. Massage will not correct that, but once the muscles are released and your big toes can go back into their normal alignment, you may not need to be concerned about any calcium deposits. Mine were surgically removed when I had the bunion surgery, but there may be better ways now— maybe ultrasound treatments or something else.

  10. I rarely polish finger or toe nails – it just doesn’t fit my lifestyle. But on the rare occasions that I do, it’s always a “Ballet Pink” shade – second in from the left in your Essie polish bottles picture. For me, that color can’t be beat for understated elegance. Glad to hear I’m not the only one who has broken multiple toes over the years.

    1. It’s interesting to learn how many of us have done the same thing to our toes. I thought I was the only one 🙂 Ballet Pink is so very pretty, I love it too, Julie.

  11. I’ve been thinking of a fresh color also. I really like the way the white looks on you. I think thats what I’ll try next. I always wear red my fav is Geranium red by Essie. But next I’ll go white. I break wrists not many toes.

  12. Our one splurge is a spa pedicure every other month. My husband has neuropathy so it feels so good to him.

    Always with red toes…..

    But last time I did something I wasn’t expecting such a huge bang for the buck, I had my eyebrows dyed after they waxed them…brilliant! It made such a difference.

  13. On impulse I bought a new color yesterday. I would call it terra cotta but maybe more brown than red. But the name was “Vacation Time”. I’m counting days so maybe in the meantime I can just look at my toes and smile!

  14. I, too, love Essie polish – I’m currently wearing Lounge Lover (from last year’s collection), and it looks great. You’re absolutely right about not wanting to draw attention to the crooked toes, bumps, bunions, etc. that come with 60+ year old feet – hence, the pretty coral-pink I’m loving now. I’ve also worn an Essie blue – Turquoise & Caicos – and loved it. I keep my fingernails very understated, now, too. Short (acrylic) nails with OPI Bubble Bath is what works best for me.

    1. Bubble Bath is my absolute favorite pale beige! My fingernails are short and fragile so any other color is a waist of time.

  15. I’ve just started wearing my skin tone — it keeps my toes pretty without drawing undo attention to them.

  16. In the colder months, I wear red/wine. But, once the warmer months or a hot clime are in the picture, I like corals or pinks. OPI is my favourite brand for lasting power.

    1. I must compare my OPI to the Essie. I do my own pedicures and they usually last 2 weeks, but now you’ve got me curious to compare. Thanks for the tip!

      1. Jennifer, are you still a fan of the Essie “Couture” line of polish? I got that tip from you, that the Coutur line was much longer lasting: AND: It is! Couture Essie has a swirled bottle with sharp edges, costs about $3 more than regular Essie, and is the only true, long wearing polish I have ever found. Sometimes the palate of colors of the Essie Couture line is more limited, but a few of the shades are great! I am not a fan of turquoise or black or white, but would recommend ‘Touch Up’ (#130) to anyone who would like a ‘mocha pink’…Always, always get compliments on this color and the ‘Couture’ line truly lasts 7-10 days of wear (!)

  17. I enjoy your blog and was inspired by today’s posting to schedule a pedicure to hopefully encourage some spring weather. I would love to see a posting on self tanners. Thanks.

  18. I’m with you Jennifer…. i too am klutzy and have broken toes! Yes, softer toe nail colors for me. I will camouflage my feet anyway I can. For the first time in ages I’m moving away from black. I think following your blog has changed my outlook. I don’t have the same coloring as you, so I have to be careful on what pastels to select, but I’m loving the softer colors and fabrics.

    1. Clear strong pale colors may look best on you, Linda. If they wash you out it’s not flattering. The funny thing is I put black on this morning but it felt too somber so I switched it out. That’s never happened to me before!

  19. Hi Jennifer,
    My 63 year old toes & toenails are doing all kinds of crazy things. Last summer I wore pale blues, pinks or corals on my toes & kept my fingernails very pale- just a hint of pink. I enjoyed it & felt very ‘chic’! I enjoy your blog so very much- especially your candid comments.

    By the way, I loved your outfit yesterday with the flowery top & white sweater & pants. You looked stunning! You certainly achieved your goal of amping it up! No one would give your mouth issue a thought in that outfit! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you Judy! It’s funny how our toes seem to take on life of their own. I felt very confident in that outfit too 🙂

      1. I had bunectomy surgery 8 weeks ago…I had my first pedicure today and I have turquoise toes…I love them…I usually wear mauves but occasionally I like a wow.

  20. Great post! I love treating myself to a pedicure, they do the polish so much better than I can. My toes are straight but my feet and ankles have a lot of veins so I try to find sandals that cover the top of my foot and let my toes peek out. 🙂

    YAY for summer!

  21. I have a pedi scheduled for this Friday and I always use my classic red, year round. I don’t wear pastels in my clothing so my red seems to compliment every thing I wear. I too have had extensive right foot surgery and have a small bunion on the left. At almost 73, they don’t look too bad and besides, what the heck – go bold!

  22. I have long tried to find pedicure colors that are attractive but don’t call a lot of attention to my feet. As you say, over the years my feet have endured a lot and aren’t my best feature. But I love wearing sandals and open toed shoes, so I do keep them polished most of the time. One of my favorite colors is an OPI called Apricotcha Cheating but of course it’s no longer available as colors update. So I need some new options. I love that pink…can you share the name? Spring is calling for some new options. 🙂

  23. When I actaully take the time to polish my toenails, it’s always classic red. I just can’t get into the newer shades of polish that are popular right now, but that’s just me. You make a great point about using shades that don’t draw attention to feet and toes that aren’t as pretty as we’d like, but I’ve probably taken better care of my feet over the years than my face! So, they haven’t changed much in my 60 years. Thanks for the reminder that I need to polish mine today!


    1. Lucky you! I’m fairly klutzy, or was… to break those toes. A fresh manicure feels so pretty. Enjoy!

  24. Getting a pedicure is a treat I regularly give myself. In fact, my best girlfriends love to go as a group for a fun day out! Two bunion surgeries and a shattered heel later, I am the bionic woman with 8 screws and a titanium plate in one foot. That is even more reason to keep my feet well groomed. Yesterday I had OPI Dutch Tulips put on because I am leaving for France on Friday!!!! My favorite winter red is still the classic OPI I’m Not Really A Waitress Red.

    1. How wonderful, have fun! I love that Red. Opi has the best names. Dutch Tulips sounds gorgeous. I’ll have a look for it. Bon voyage!

    2. Jennifer, my feet have gone from really great-looking to not-so-great (being decades older than you) with the recent additions of bunions & two broken big toes (one broke when I tried on a pair of very high heels just for fun…stood up and heard a crack the whole store heard).

      Ok, that’s a long sentence, but today is tax day & I’m rushing; yet must get myself posted to let you know that, like Roxanne, O.P.I.’s “I Am Not Really A Waitress” had been THE color for me for years & years; maybe since it came out. I am very much not a “pink” person, but for you with your new color palate, it’s perfect.

      1. Oh no Marlene!! That sounds positively brutal. I’m Not Really A Waitress has become a cult classic because it’s such a clear, perfect red. Good luck on your taxes!

      2. Marlene, I can relate. I broke the same toe twice! It isn’t very cute but I wear a gold toe ring on it and it helps hide part of the crookedness. 🙂

  25. In early spring I stick with paler colors too, usually pink. In July or August when my legs are tan I’ll pick bright pinks or corals.

      1. Coral is my favorite for spring and summer. I usually stick to the brown family (warm colors). Brown reds in Fall and Winter, Mochas and Tans in between.

  26. I also had bunion surgery and also have very crooked toes. They are out in the open, though, because sandals are so comfortable. As for color, red is the classic. And it makes me happy. If somebody is going to judge my toes, they are pretty pathetic!

    1. A lot of us are in the same boat when it comes to our toes my friend. And sadly, people will judge everything. I’m not worried about their opinion, I’m only concerned with what aesthetic appeals to my eye.

  27. Jennifer, thank you for your real and honest blog. Yes, my toes and feet are showing their age a bit too. I’m wearing lighter color shoes & clothing and have changed to a lighter polish. Also, I have been adding self-tanner and on some days make-up to my feet and ankles for the blue veins. I just turned 70 years old, feel young most days and still care about my looks. Blessings my friend…

    1. Thank you for being here, Cheryl. I think we all benefit by sharing our truths. I do the same thing with self tanner in the summer when my legs are bare. It’s very helpful to hide veins and just give a smoother appearance.

  28. Hi Jennifer – I am using a pale taupe on my fingernails & toenails. I get them done since I don’t enjoy doing them myself. I only wear red on my fingernails at Christmas. Enjoy your posts!

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