Ovarian cancer awareness through Teal Toes!

If you saw your friend sporting teal toenails, what would you say? “Daring color!” Or maybe just, “that’s such a pretty color!”

How about, “Cool, you’re promoting ovarian cancer awareness, right?”

The month of September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and to help bring attention to the fifth leading cause of cancer death in women, an organization called Teal Toes is asking women to wear teal polish on their piggies in September (and anytime, really!) to prompt conversations about ovarian cancer with other people who might see the color and compliment or question it.

“I want to help women and the people who love them know the signs of ovarian cancer,” Carey Fitzmaurice, president of Teal Toes, Inc., said.

Cool concept, right? Wear a funky polish, and promote awareness of a cancer that has symptoms commonly confused with those of irritable bowel syndrome.

Um, yeah, did you know that?! Until I started researching for this blog post, I didn’t know that in 2009, it is estimated that 14,600 women will die of ovarian cancer, and 21,550 new cases will be reported, according to the National Cancer Institute. Symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic, include:

  • Abdominal pressure, fullness, bloating, or swelling
  • Urinary urgency
  • Pelvic discomfort or pain.

Other symptoms can be:

  • Loss of appetite, or feeling full quicker
  • Change in bowel movement habits and/or bladder habits, including a frequent need to urinate
  • Persistent lack of energy
  • Increased abdominal girth
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Low back pain
  • Menstruation changes
  • Persistent gas, nausea or indigestion.


Fitzmaurice has battled not only ovarian cancer but breast cancer as well (the same gene that is indicative of breast cancer risk is also indicative of ovarian cancer risk). She is a wife and mother with a full time job, but also a passion for spreading awareness of ovarian cancer.

“I started with toe polish when pregnant with my first (born 7/00– didn’t want to wear shoes) and my hubby had to paint my toes!  [I] hadn’t ever worn anything but reds until this,” Fitzmaurice said of her teal toes.

A funky polish for a good cause

I found out about Teal Toes because I went looking for a company called Diamond Cosmetics, which has a big ad on their web site promoting that they’ve created a nail polish color called Don’t Teal Me Away for the cause. Diamond is donating 25 cents from each bottle sale to the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition.

Sounds awesome, right? It gets better. Diamond Cosmetics has fun, funky colors in addition to the teal, and their bottles are only $2 a pop. The shipping and handling is also great – they offer a flat rate for 10 items or less. (I’ll tell you more about Diamond in a later post complete with swatches and one of the top exec’s fav colors!)

“This really is a disease that affects women of all ages and there’s a lot that can be done in order to prevent the disease or catch it early,” said Lisa Antinelli, marketing and public relations for Diamond’s salon industries business, as well as vice president of Diamond’s private label division. “We did not have a teal color at all when we decided to take part in Teal Toes.”

After one of her coworkers had shown her a February blurb/article in O (The Oprah) Magazine about Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, Antinelli said she contacted her  lab, and they put together a couple different teals for her to choose from. The color they came up with looks like this:

dont teal my heart

“I really like the Diamond polish,” Fitzmaurice said. “It’s a great color (a tad greener than many and flat). I have learned a LOT about polish!”

I agree with Fitzmaurice! It’s a great teal – perfect for summer OR fall! It was easy to apply and it’s Big Three Free, too! It was on my toes for four days without chipping. The only reason I changed it was to wear a new teal!

Fitzmaurice has a whole list of other teal polishes that Teal Toes supporters have tried and liked (and even disliked!) listed here on her web site.  Among them are Sally Beauty Supply’s Sally Girl in Dumped, which Fitzmaurice said “is really nice because of the size.” Sally Girl is 99 cents, and .18 fl oz. Here’s a swatch:


The colors range in price. There’s China Glaze’s Turned Up Turquoise ($6.50 at Ulta, unless you buy it online or at a beauty supply shop):

turned up turquoise

Also, Wet n Wild Carribean Frost (99 cents, Rite Aid or Walgreens):

carribean frost

And Piggy Polish Polar Sea Ice($7, I believe, at Ulta):

polar sea ice

Polar Sea Ice is a little too blue to be teal, but it’s got cool fine blue glitter sparkle to it!

Another polish that is not listed on the site, but offers a deep, dark teal is Rescue Beauty Lounge’s Teal. This is in the upper range of cost at $18 per bottle.

Priti offers Tulip Tree Teal for charity, too!

Diamond is not the only cosmetic company promoting a nail color to raise ovarian cancer awareness. Priti has pledged 10% of each sale of its Tulip Tree Teal color ($12.50) to Nancyslist.org, founded by ovarian cancer survivor Nancy Novack. Priti Founder Kim D’Amato told me that Tulip Tree is part of the company’s fall/winter collection and for this cause, and this the first year they’ve participated in fundraising for ovarian cancer awareness/research but, she added, not the last!

Nancy’s List, according to its web site, is a support system for woman with cancer and addresses “the economic, emotional, spiritual, and social challenges that our many many neighbors face each day. They need our support, dedication, and compassion. We are in this struggle together and, together, we say “Yes, we can.”

The site is piloted in Marin County and the San Francisco Bay Area of California, according to its site.

“I got involved with Nancy’s List as I am a friend of Rona Berg from Organic Beauty Magazine – Nancy is her sister,” D’Amato said. “Rona and I put together a woman’s meeting in my house with mostly women entrepreneurs in the green business and we started discussing and I found out from her about Nancy.

“I contacted Nanacy with the concept of donating to her charity. Nancy is a true hero and I aspire to surround myself with women who take the negative things life throws at them and make them positives,” D’Amato said. “She is truly an inspiration.

“I had not heard of this cause or really knew anything about ovarian cancer at all and as a woman, [I] really realized how unaware of so many things I am,” D’Amato, a formal model, said. It is the beginning of my education.”

Here’s Priti’s Tulip Tree:


Polish doesn't look as shiny as it is in other shots I took, but the bottle's so cute, I wanted to keep it in focus!

Polish doesn’t look as shiny as it is in other shots I took, but the bottle’s so cute, I wanted to keep it in focus!

If I did a comparison swatch, Priti and Diamond would pretty much be dupes, and they have comparable application. Priti’s polish is also Big Three Free, and the company is an organic beauty company (the polish bottle is recyclable!)

So what are you waiting for? Head to any beauty store! Shop online – you do have a few weeks before September gets here :)! Or look into your stash of polishes and see what teal you might have. And after you click on all the ovarian cancer and cosmetic links above (I tried to load the post up with ’em!), and your fingers have gotten you educated about ovarian cancer awareness (and you’ve sent the link to this post to all your girlfriends, colleagues and your mom!), pick your polish and let your piggies do the talkin’ about this great cause!

I would like to take a moment to thank the women who helped me do my Teal Toe swatches – Colleen Zacharyczuk and Jenn DiSanto! I know these women helped me because this is a good cause. And, well, they rock! I would have had another “foot model” – my close friend Mandi – if we’d been able to meet up our schedules. Mandi’s mom is an ovarian cancer survivor and an amazing woman. In the two years I’ve known Anna (her mom) she has amazed me – she handles any struggle that comes her way with a smile. She tears up at the thought of how much she loves her grandchildren. And she treats me like family. I am truly blessed for having her in my life (that and if it weren’t for her there’d be no Mandi and that would suck)! This post is dedicated to Anna!!!