Nailing Nail Trends at Any Age

I always adore a fabulous manicure and pedicure, and I also love to test out new nail trends. Navy blue? Black? Shimmery silver? You name it, and I’ve probably sampled it on either my fingers or toes. The other day, however, I was sitting next to a teenager on the subway who was sporting bright neon nails. I thought it looked cool and asked her what color she was wearing and was the recipient of a rather horrified stare. Then I thought, “Am I too old for this one?”

Turns out, in spite of the fact that I feel perfectly comfortable testing out any nail color, there probably are some trends that I should either skip or make more appropriate for my 35-year-old self. Thankfully, I just received some cool tips from Aija Vilemsonne of Pretty Woman USA on nail trends that work best for various age groups. Here is her take on what trends work for women of different age groups, and what trends are universal.

Black Nails
“In my experience, black nails on older women tend to make them look more dated. As we age, our hands begin to show signs before any other body part. With the appearance of age spots, wrinkles, and veins, black nails draw the eye to and highlight those small imperfections we might otherwise not have noticed,” says Aija.

  • As an alternative, Vilemsonne suggests something a little less dramatic and a bit more subtle. For example, purple can be flattering at any age, as well as fun. Find the right hue that works for your skintone, and work it throughout the seasons. Another on-trend color right now is blue. Go bright if you’re young, and if you’re older, try an understated hue like navy or a  pale blue.

Textured Nails
“I am a huge proponent of textured nails as a trend that can be worn at any stage in life. You can dress them up or down, and they can transition well from put-together at work to on-trend at night. Whether you’re a young girl experimenting for the first time with an at-home kit, or you’re a mature older woman heading to the salon for the latest in fashion, textures can be skewed for any age,” reveals Vilemsonne.

  • For younger women, textured nails can be an experiment: from glitter to designs, you can feel free to go a little crazy. However, for older women in the (some more conservative than others) workplace, a nail design shouldn’t be too distracting. Go for an animal print or cracked design, and stick with colors that work for your skintone.

“When it comes to embellishment, be careful. From glitter to airbrushing, certain trends can work well for all ages. However, if applied incorrectly, rhinestones can make even a 25-year-old seem like her nails are too young for her. The key is not to overdo it. The older you are, the more understated embellishment should be,” suggests Vilemsonne.

  • Airbrushed patterns can be very attractive at any age, but stones, glitter, and stick-on objects can be considered “too young” – not to mention, most working women don’t have time for it. If you’re a more mature woman who loves her glitter, try a line of glitter at the tip of the nail, rather than covering your entire nail in the polish.

Vilemsonne says, “Ladies, this is your failsafe; it’s a trend that we can all get behind. Neutrals are always in style, and lucky for us women, this universal look is very easy to wear. For this particular trend, you should be very aware of what colors work for your skintone, so test them out. Nails should be a fun experience for everyone.”

  • Notes on skintone: Winter skin tones are generally pale, olive, or dark with blue or pink undertones, Spring complexions are pale with bluish or pink undertones, Autumn skin tones have golden undertones, and Summer complexions have golden undertones and peachy skin. The best neutrals for Winter skin tones are closest to the color of your skin, most flattering for Spring complexions are peachy neutrals, Autumn skin tones should go with a gold-tinged beige, and Summer complexions should opt for rose-colored nude.

Vilemsonne says, “The most important thing to keep in mind when sporting this season’s nail trends is that your nails should reflect you: the more mature you are in age, the more mature your nail style should be. But above all, nails should always be about expressing your own unique style – and finding what enhances your most flattering features.” For more nail tips and trends, visit