Super summer toes: Neon colors and trendy pedicure designs

Wednesday , July 16, 2014 - 12:00 AM

If there are anchors or chevrons or polka dots on your toes, count yourself in step with some of the hottest trends in pedicures.

Flip-flops and sandals seem to become the footwear of choice when summer heat puts on the sizzle. And that means our exposed tootsies need to be looking fine.

“Women are wearing sandals and they want their feet to be pretty — their toes are showing,” says Shelly Davis, owner of Exquisite Effects Salon in Kaysville.

Pedicure business definitely spikes in the warm-weather months, says Mindi Diaz of Elvera’s Hair and Nail Salon.

“We get way more in summer than in winter; I would say at least double, or even triple,” the nail apprentice and receptionist at the Layton salon says.

We asked these and other Top of Utah nail experts to share their ideas on the must-have colors and designs for feet in the summer of 2014. Here are their picks:

Snazzy colors

Bright colors are most likely to get painted on toenails because “you want your feet to stand out,” Diaz says. Also, the right cheery shade will show off that nice tan, she adds.

• Neon

“There’s been a lot of neon colors — neon’s really in,” says stylist Sheridan Holyoak at Salon Bleu in Ogden, whether it’s neon pink or coral or green.

“I have done a lot of neon turquoises; that’s a really pretty color,” she adds.

Diaz says, “Anything that’s just super-bright — pink, orange, yellow, bright blues — those are really big, even bright green.” Or purple-magenta is “huge,” she adds.

• Multi-tones

Toes painted a variety of colors are all the rage this summer, says Kayla Cubbedge, a cosmetologist at Profiles Salon and Day Spa in Ogden.

Cubbedge says one way to sport the trend is to put a dark color on the big toe — say, purple — and then use a lighter shade of that color on each succeeding toe, ending up with a very light purple on that pinky.

Or use light and dark shades of one color on three toes, then paint one toe white and another a sparkly color like gold or silver.

“It all kind of comes together, but it’s like each is separate ... super cute,” Cubbedge says.

• Pastels plus

Traditional pastels — think Easter-type hues — are another top choice for toenails, Holyoak says.

Also, she says, “Mint and coral are really ‘in’ for colors.”

Kimberly Lee, a master esthetician at New Image Day Spa in Washington Terrace, says many clients choose “fire corals,” which are very bright and may range from orange to red-orange.

• Classic white

“White’s like the new ‘in’ color,” says Savanna Hanna, a New Image Day Spa master esthetician.

Co-worker Stephanie Burns adds, “They look good — you wouldn’t think they they would.” And, she adds, “They look clean.”

• Out of the box

Just what colors you slather on your toes may boil down to personal preference and some shades may not cut it.

Greens, especially earthy greens or shamrock greens, get a thumbs down from some of the nail experts, as do nudes, which Cubbedge says just are not “fun” enough for summer.

But Diaz says pretty much anything goes: “I have yellow toes right now ... it’s not a classic color by any means.”

And Holyoak adds nail trends tend to follow fashion trends, which are currently “all over the place.” Since folks are wearing polka dots and stripes together, she says, it seems “people don’t care to be matchy-matchy now.”

Hot designs

This little piggy went nautical, this little piggy went patriotic. And both were right on trend when it comes to rave designs for summer toenails.

• Chevrons

Chevrons are popping up everywhere these days, from purses to clothing to home decor, so why not on nails? asks Lisa Hinh, owner of Star Nails in Farmington’s Station Park.

From blue and white to coral and black, the zig-zaggy lines were seemingly all Hinh’s shop did recently for an entire month. But, she explains, “you do what the customer wants.”

• Anchors

Think water, waves and boats and a variety of nautical themes for nails float to the surface, from compasses to ship’s wheels.

“We’re doing a lot of anchors,” Hinh says.

Many customers come in with photos of such designs from the Internet, says Hanna at New Image Day Spa. A picture inspired her to try anchors and stripes on her own toenails, her thought being that before she tackles clients’ feet, “I’ll try it and see what it looks like on myself.”

• Aztec prints

A trendy motif in clothing, “tribal designs (on nails) have been really popular this summer,” Cubbedge says.

Also known as Aztec print, this design features diamonds, dots and lines painted in various formations. They might be done in neon colors on a black polish, or in other color combinations.

Or yet another fashionable style of prints veers more to the wild side.

“We do a lot of animal print,” Diaz says, “like a cheetah print or a zebra print.”

• Patriotic themes

Oh say can you see stars and stripes on toenails? The Fourth of July brings out a variety of flag-related designs and colors.

Pedicure fans tend to like anything “red and blue and sparkly,” Cubbedge says.

The cosmetologist says it’s her first Pioneer Day in Utah and she isn’t sure if that holiday will bring any special requests. Maybe she’ll end up painting little sunbonnets on nails, she jokes, but, “I guess we’ll see.”

• Flowers and dots

One of the most popular pieces of summer artwork is the flower, Hinh says.

“We do a lot of different kinds of flowers,” Hinh says, from daisies to feathery flowers to heart-shaped flowers — in a rainbow of colors.

Burns at New Image Day Spa says, “I did a 4-year-old’s toes yesterday and she wanted a flower on one and a butterfly on the other.”

Polka dots, too, are ever-in-style, the nail experts say, be it white dots on your favorite color, or colored dots on a white background.

• Summer icons

“You can do anything with water, or the beach,” Davis, at Exquisite Effects Salon in Kaysville, says.

Palm trees are an oft-chosen symbol, for example, or other options might include seashells, starfish and even seahorses.

Or turn any summertime passion into art for your toes, whether it’s ladybugs or fireflies or watermelons. If you’re a fan of America’s pastime — “Play ball!” — then why not transform your big toe into a teeny-weeny baseball, complete with classic red stitches?

Contact reporter Becky Cairns at 801-625-4276 or Follow her on Twitter at @bccairns or like her on Facebook at

Sign up for e-mail news updates.