I Got Digital Lavender Nails & I Can Confirm It’s The New Nude

At Refinery29 Australia, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team, but we may earn commission or other compensation from the links on this page.  
These days, everything is digital. We’ve leaned heavily into AI, and TikTok filters are less uncanny valley and more unsettlingly realistic than ever before. We’re walking around with beep-boop machines worth thousands of dollars holding every detail of our lives in our hands just willy-nilly, exchanging physical coins for cryptocurrency and being wary of deep fakes. Wild, isn’t it?
Given our pivot to a virtual world, it’s no surprise that our new reality has made it all the way to nail colours. Lavender is having a huge moment in general — it’s a step up from millennial pink, but has the same soothing energy as the once-ubiquitous tone of Baker-Miller. But we’re calling it now: Digital lavender will soon go from a statement shade to the new nude nail colour. It’s versatile enough that you may not even realise your nails are a shade of purple at first glance — and that’s what makes it the nail colour of the future. 

What are “digital lavender” nails?

This year's nail trends are leaning hard toward soft colours and sensorial hues this year, including digital lavender. As Jan Arnold, co-founder of nail colour and care brand CND, explains, “Digital lavender nails are delicate shades of lilac and lavender that include exciting dimensional elements: undertones of shimmer, holographic, and reflective shine.” Imagine if a drop of sheer, shimmery blue polish hit your favourite pinky-nude. The result is a translucent, yet milky pastel lavender with a lustrous gold undertone. 
Joanne Thomas, head of content at colour and trend authority Coloro, told Cosmetics Business after naming the shade Coloro’s Colour of the Year for 2023 that it is meant to represent the “stability, serenity, and digital escapism that so many of us have built into our recuperative rituals to both protect and improve our mental health in challenging times.”
We live in a world of instant gratification — one click and it’s yours. Digital lavender is a reminder to pause and take a breath, while also remaining hopeful and willing to embrace rapid change. Pluto just entered Aquarius, signalling overarching systemic shifts and change for generations to come — digital lavender is the shade we all need right now to keep us grounded, yet motivated. Says Arnold, “The softly exciting colour and texture aims to evoke joy and peacefulness; all the emotions that put a spring in our steps.”

How do I ask a professional for “digital lavender” nails? 

As always, photos and references will be your best friend. “Bring a photo of an object in the exact shade you'd like to match,” explains celebrity manicurist and educator Julie Kandalec. “It’s best if it's something IRL, like a blazer or a piece of jewellery, instead of on your phone because people each see things differently on a screen.” Because digital lavender is almost a neutral in its own right, what can look correct to you in photos might be completely different than what shows up on your fingers, so work with your manicurist to find the perfect polish for your skin tone. If they don’t quite nail it, you can always add top coats and dimensional elements like glitter to transform the shade into your own custom colour.
@gelcare LAVENDER WATER from our SS20 collection #gelcare #fyp #foryou #nails ♬ Muwop - Latto

How can I get “digital lavender” nails at home? 

The lavender part is defined, but there’s a lot more flexibility as far as the “digital” aspect is concerned. First, start by selecting a sheer, milky lavender that is pleasing to your skin tone (or just your eyes), avoiding anything overly bright, too pink or blue, or too pale. Apply a generous coat or two to the nails, and top it off with a semi-sheer lavender gloss coat to get the look you want. This is when you can have fun: It doesn’t necessarily have to be a lavender-on-lavender situation; you can use a sheer silver chrome on top of lavender for the same effect with a slightly different tone, or just play around with similar sheer toppers to really make the colour your own. Add a top coat, and you’re good to go.
When I visited Yoshiko Yamaguchi at Vanity Projects in New York, we opted for a more opaque take on the trend, emphasising the digital part more than anything — think Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century, but all grown up. It's giving Supernova Woman.
For your lavender base, some excellent options are Lavender Lace by CND, and Go Ginza by Essie. Kandalec also loves I Sold My Crypto by OPI, a deeper lavender that’s still in the tonal family and packed with plenty of glitter.
Nail artist Gina Edwards offers another method: “I suggest layering two different types of lavender, always working with the less sheer colour as your first coat, then apply your third coat of sheer and follow up with a top coat.” If you want to double down on the “digital,” why not swipe on a chrome layer to achieve an extra reflective result?
It’s okay if the future freaks you out — digital lavender is here as a reminder to stay present and grounded, and luxuriate in the possibilities.
Want more? Get Refinery29 Australia’s best stories delivered to your inbox each week. Sign up here!

More from Nails