lot of bottles nail polish on wooden background top view

If you're of a certain age, you've probably noticed that nail polish colors -- which used to be mostly in shades of pink and peach, coral and red -- are now a rainbow that includes blues, greens, browns and blacks, not to mention a dazzling array of shiny metallics. While there are no etiquette rules about what's appropriate, some shades are more flattering for women over 50. If your hands show signs of aging, let your fingers do the talking; bright red nails draw attention to your manicure rather than to your hands.

Even if your face and your figure are still youthful, your hands might give you away with age spots and wrinkles. Draw the attention to your digits with bright red nails -- it's fun and flattering. Burgundy, plum and even brown also do the trick for day or night.

As you get older, your skin is more likely to be thin and show your veins. To minimize this, avoid pale or cool colors such as whites, grays, blues and greens -- even that extreme French manicure with chalk white tips. Instead, select your reds (or corals or pinks) that are on the warm side -- even with an orange tone -- rather than blue-based.

If you still have youthful-looking hands, of course, anything goes. Navy, "a new classic," says Harper's Bazaar, and purple are fresh options. Pink and nude are timeless.


To keep your look youthful, trim your nails fairly short with a "squoval" -- squarish oval -- shape.

A matchy-matchy look dates you, so don't feel obligated to wear the same color polish on your fingers and toes. Bonus: You can save some of the more creative colors for your pedicures.