Pedicure Colors and Toe Shape

Pedicure Colors and Toe Shape

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 so sophisticated! Lately, I’ve been thinking about contrast and reassessing its attractiveness on my 60-year-old toes. 

I’m stepping further away from my predominantly black wardrobe this spring and as I transition into paler, softer colored clothes, the red 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.

Essie polish shades

I am obviously a fan of Essie nail polish

Now 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 themselves… and did a lousy job of it.

60 year old toes

The not so funny thing is that the older I get the more crooked the toes are becoming. They don’t appear quite as crooked when I’m not standing on my feet…which I like to do:) Wearing a dark red or burgundy polish with pale sandals draws too much attention to their crookedness.

pedicure colors for women over 50

I wear toenail polish to prettify my feet. If the polish is drawing more attention to my gnarly toes, it’s not doing the job for me.

Essie Blanc polish

these sandals offer great camouflage 🙂

I’ve begun using pale pink, lilac, even blue polish on my toes and lately, I’ve discovered white. It feels sassier than pink but it’s also a strong contrast so I’m not sure how long I’ll stick with white.

What’s your favorite color for pedicures this spring? Are you a die-hard classic red polish lover? How have your toes held up?

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

This post contains affiliate links which generate income for AWSL. Please see my complete disclosure statement here.



  1. Anne
    April 5, 2017 / 4:42 am

    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!

    • Jennifer
      April 5, 2017 / 6:08 am

      Taupe is a pretty option! I always do red at Christmas too. It just fells so festive.

  2. Cheryl Johnson
    April 5, 2017 / 4:44 am

    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…

    • Jennifer
      April 5, 2017 / 6:10 am

      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.

  3. April 5, 2017 / 5:25 am

    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!

    • Jennifer
      April 5, 2017 / 6:14 am

      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.

  4. Eva
    April 5, 2017 / 5:28 am

    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.

    • Jennifer
      April 5, 2017 / 6:18 am

      Coral is such a gorgeous color for summer! I can just picture it with tan legs. Pretty.

      • Lisa
        April 5, 2017 / 6:43 am

        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.

        • Jennifer
          April 5, 2017 / 3:34 pm

          Those sound pretty, Lisa. It sounds like you know your colors well!

  5. Roxanne
    April 5, 2017 / 5:34 am

    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.

    • Jennifer
      April 5, 2017 / 6:21 am

      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!

    • marlene alves
      April 5, 2017 / 8:35 am

      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.

      • Jennifer
        April 5, 2017 / 3:37 pm

        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!

        • Gale
          February 7, 2018 / 12:09 pm

          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. 🙂

        • Jennifer
          February 7, 2018 / 4:27 pm

          I wonder if a toe ring would hide my crooked toe:)

  6. Paula Moreshead
    April 5, 2017 / 6:03 am

    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!


    • Jennifer
      April 5, 2017 / 6:24 am

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

  7. Laurel
    April 5, 2017 / 6:08 am

    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. 🙂

    • Jennifer
      April 5, 2017 / 3:38 pm

      I will share the name as soon as I get home. I hate when they discontinue favorites!!

    • Jennifer
      April 6, 2017 / 7:15 am

      The first pink is called Violin, the second one is called Castaway.

  8. April 5, 2017 / 6:36 am

    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!

    • Jennifer
      April 5, 2017 / 10:27 am

      That’s the attitude! I don’t wear strong colors well, so the same holds true of polish.

  9. laura
    April 5, 2017 / 6:46 am

    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!

    • Jennifer
      April 5, 2017 / 10:28 am

      I agree! Yay for summer and pretty pedicure.

  10. Judy
    April 5, 2017 / 6:50 am

    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!

    • Jennifer
      April 5, 2017 / 10:34 am

      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 🙂

      • Phyllis
        July 31, 2017 / 12:32 pm

        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.

        • Jennifer
          August 1, 2017 / 7:31 am

          I hope your bunionectomy went well. They can be brutal.

  11. Linda
    April 5, 2017 / 7:03 am

    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.

    • Jennifer
      April 5, 2017 / 10:39 am

      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!

  12. Stormy Smith
    April 5, 2017 / 7:16 am

    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.

    • Jennifer
      April 5, 2017 / 10:42 am

      Awsome, Stormy! I love self tanners for summer since I never take sun and am pasty white.

  13. Cathy
    April 5, 2017 / 7:50 am

    Love the pink you are wearing. Can you please share the name of the Essie color?

    • Jennifer
      April 5, 2017 / 10:43 am

      I will post it when I get home tomorrow.

    • Leslie Annunziata
      April 5, 2017 / 3:16 pm

      Yes I’d love to know also.

    • Jennifer
      April 6, 2017 / 7:16 am

      The barefoot photo is called Violin, the one wearing shoes is. Allied Castaway. Both by Essie.

      • Suzanne W. Sanders
        March 12, 2018 / 7:23 am

        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 (!)

  14. Joanna
    April 5, 2017 / 7:52 am

    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.

    • Jennifer
      April 5, 2017 / 3:40 pm

      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!

  15. joan
    April 5, 2017 / 8:10 am

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

    • Jennifer
      April 5, 2017 / 3:41 pm

      I do that too sometimes, Joan. They look well cared for but subtle that way.

  16. April 5, 2017 / 8:27 am

    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.

    • Jennifer
      April 5, 2017 / 3:43 pm

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

  17. Susan
    April 5, 2017 / 8:46 am

    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!

    • Jennifer
      April 5, 2017 / 3:44 pm

      That’s the spirit. It sounds fun!

  18. April 5, 2017 / 9:09 am

    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.

    • Jennifer
      April 5, 2017 / 3:45 pm

      How fun! Mine are so silver and wispy now I wonder if it would help?

  19. April 5, 2017 / 9:36 am

    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.

    • Jennifer
      April 5, 2017 / 3:46 pm

      I hope you’re on the mend Sandra!! That was a nasty fall. xo

  20. Julie F.
    April 5, 2017 / 10:33 am

    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.

    • Jennifer
      April 5, 2017 / 3:48 pm

      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.

  21. Kathy
    April 5, 2017 / 11:53 am

    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

    • Jennifer
      April 5, 2017 / 3:52 pm

      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.

      • Donnella
        April 5, 2017 / 5:30 pm

        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.

        • Jennifer
          April 5, 2017 / 7:08 pm

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

  22. Linda
    April 5, 2017 / 12:02 pm

    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.

    • Jennifer
      April 5, 2017 / 3:53 pm

      I’m with you on the fingernails. They are hopeless, yet my toenails are strong! Not fair.

  23. Sandy Miles-Blaxland
    April 5, 2017 / 12:56 pm

    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.

    • Jennifer
      April 5, 2017 / 3:55 pm

      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.

  24. April 5, 2017 / 2:46 pm

    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

    • Jennifer
      April 5, 2017 / 3:58 pm

      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 🙂

  25. Lori
    April 5, 2017 / 3:07 pm

    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

    • Jennifer
      April 5, 2017 / 4:00 pm

      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.

  26. Karen
    April 5, 2017 / 3:45 pm

    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.

    • Jennifer
      April 5, 2017 / 4:05 pm

      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

  27. April 5, 2017 / 10:11 pm

    I have been wearing gold polish on my toes during the summer (and winter holidays if my toes will be exposed) for years. It has become my trademark!

    • Jennifer
      April 6, 2017 / 7:19 am

      Gold sounds very lucious. I love the idea of having a trademark, Elaine 🙂

  28. Margie from Toronto
    April 6, 2017 / 5:13 am

    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.

    • Jennifer
      April 6, 2017 / 7:21 am

      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!

  29. April 6, 2017 / 5:36 am

    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.

    • Jennifer
      April 6, 2017 / 7:24 am

      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

  30. Susan in NC
    April 6, 2017 / 9:23 am

    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.

    • Jennifer
      April 6, 2017 / 11:17 am

      It sounds pretty, I’ll take a peek at it!

  31. April 6, 2017 / 8:52 pm

    My tootsies still look pretty good…I go for various shades of pastel blue this time of year and reds into purples inFall/Winter.

    • Jennifer
      April 6, 2017 / 9:48 pm

      Pastel blue is so pretty!

  32. Karen Needler
    April 8, 2017 / 2:02 pm

    I always used OPI until it became harder to come by (and I still have a TON). The first times I tried Essie I found it didn’t last as long, even with base and top coats. Now I get the Essie Gel Couture in the twisted bottle, and with its corresponding top coat, find it outlasts even OPI. What products and layers do you use to make your regular Essie last long? And how often do you change your toe nail polish?

    BTW, while waiting a few months to see a foot specialist, I removed all my nail polish. After a month or so, all of the yellow went away! Granted, it was winter and I didn’t mind having naked toes.

    Feeling very inspired and normal for a 58 y.o.!! Thanks for this post and your responses, Jennifer!

    • Jennifer
      April 8, 2017 / 5:40 pm

      LOL, you’re the best, Karen! I do have the Essie Gel Couture, but only in a few colors. You’re right! They do last longer than any polish I have used. Note to self…get more colors:) I will change my polish once a week if I need to (chipping) but prefer to have it last 2 weeks.

  33. Jan
    May 11, 2017 / 6:35 am

    I painted mine blue a couple of weeks ago, and I love it! Found a cute pair of L’Artiste sandals that have a lots of colors and they look great! I am even thinking of wearing short dresses again this summer. I will be 68 this year and these gams still look pretty good!

    • Jennifer
      May 11, 2017 / 8:18 am

      Good for you!! Go for it.

  34. Robin T
    July 30, 2017 / 3:55 pm

    Hi Jennifer
    I’ve been fortunate with my feet…although orthotics are in my future.
    One colour I have worn this past winter, spring & summer is Essie’s “Eternal Optimist”. I think its a neutral and goes well with many colours. Muted and not to bright. Nice on toes and fingers! Classy….my opinion. 🙂
    Robin T

    • Jennifer
      July 30, 2017 / 11:07 pm

      I’ll check that one out Robin. It sounds perfect.

  35. Lana
    July 30, 2017 / 4:37 pm

    I too have bumped into something with my toes and it has led to me losing nails, happy to say they are growing back and I can go in and have them done again. I have been getting them painted orange or purple, makes me feel good.

    • Jennifer
      July 30, 2017 / 11:08 pm

      You go, Lana! Paint them a color that makes you happy.

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