These days, everything is digital. We’ve leaned in heavily to 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 colors. 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 color. It’s versatile enough that you may not even realize your nails are a shade of purple at first glance — and that’s what makes it the nail color of the future.
What are “digital lavender” nails?
Spring nail trends are leaning hard into soft colors and sensorial hues this year, including digital lavender. As Jan Arnold, co-founder of nail color 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 favorite pinky-nude. The result is a translucent, yet milky pastel lavender with a lustrous gold undertone.
Joanne Thomas, head of content at color and trend authority Coloro, told Cosmetics Business after naming the shade Coloro’s Color 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, signaling 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 color 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 jewelry, 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 color.
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 color your own. Add top coat, and you’re good to go.
For your lavender base, some excellent options are Lilac Wine by Lights Lacquer, Lavender Lace and Live Love Lavender by CND, Dreamscape by INLP, and Emma or Aurora by Emilie Heathe. 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 color 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 like CND Over The Top Effects 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.
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