Pre-Challenge: Very Peri

For the first and only pre-challenge of Season 9, the Top 18 contestants were asked to create nail art inspired by the Pantone Color of the Year, Very Peri.

Here’s the challenge brief the Top 18 received:

The Pantone Color of the Year for 2022 is Very Peri. Described as, “A dynamic periwinkle blue hue with a vivifying violet red undertone blends the faithfulness and constancy of blue with the energy and excitement of red.” For your pre-challenge, create nail art inspired by Very Peri across a single hand (5 nails). Nails must feature ONLY color variations of Very Peri. You will also submit a 5-minute video diary showing a sampling of the techniques used as well as your inspiration.

Here are their entries in no particular order:

  1. Nicola Sawyer

As soon as I saw that the Pantone colour of the year was Very Peri I immediately thought of the Periwinkle flowers that ramble all over our garden and borders in the Spring time. When I read the first challenge I knew what I wanted to do, capture the beautiful shades of these flowers and how first thing in the morning they are often covered with dew, resembling gems and crystals that sparkle in the sunlight. I decided to create a wearable design , salon length to show that shorter nails can be a canvas for more advanced nail art. It’s actually easier to design an extreme set as you have more space. Layering a design is important, the more elements to a set the more interesting it becomes. I’m a big fan of mixing matte nails with high gloss and glitter. Originally I was going to paint the flowers using one stroke, but it just didn’t fit right, I needed the design to literally jump off the nail and cascade across the set. I’ve tried to incorporate lots of different techniques that techs can try at home , giving a few hints and tips along the way.

See her Pre-Challenge video diary here.

2. Egle Varpiotiene

I just decided to have fun and to do what I like the most – reverse french nails. I used the Very Peri colour to create the design inside and on the top the nails. I used the thin lines technique because I think it’s the 1st step into the Nail art. In my video I shared a few good tips. For me the work of art is a reverse french, when you can see the design through the nail. For this design I used very peri colour and some shiny pigments. I used the clink film to make an interesting but very easy design. I believe for so many nail technicians it’s going to be interesting to see it for the 1st time ever. I wanted to show something new and unusual. It’s very messy process but the results are stunning.


3. Whitney Love

I immediately felt a connection to this color specifically because the last four digits in the formula are 3938. This is my birthday. I know what you’re thinking. How is this your birthday? I actually celebrate two birthdays, March 9th and March 8th. Growing up, I was always told that I was born on March 9th. It wasn’t until I was 15 that I found my birth certificate and discovered that I was actually born on March 8th. Talk about identity crisis! Very Peri is a perfect mixture of a dynamic blue and vivid violet. Which reminded me of an Amethyst and because we had to create different variations of the same color, I knew immediately I could achieve that effect by creating a 3D crystal highlighting the different tones and textures.

4. Nancy Janssen

My idea for this challenge is to make the colors stand out, I immediately think of a color palette, such as a mood board or make-up circles in a box, but also the softness of the color, which is nevertheless strongly recognizable and unique. You can also see all those beautiful colors in the flower. The Very Peri color  is also dynamic to see in the light because it’s changing during the day. The periwinkle grows in front of my nail salon. So I was enthusiastic to use this flower in all its softness of shades and tones and shadows and highlights on the design. So these colors  perfectly cover the base of the nails. A make-up pallet has its own dynamic combinations, these that I show off with sugar effects and matte and glass on the round pallets. The strong lines that are visible here and there almost give it an energy and excited feeling.

See her Pre-Challenge video here.

5. Marija Sechovcova

The theme of Very Peri has quickly opened many different possibilities in my mind. I love to make very detailed, realistic, and fantasy-related art. Therefore the idea of Greek mythology came fast to my conclusion because it would fit perfectly with the shapes, colors, and visual effects. I have done a Brainstorm in a very creative and informative way. I was not only searching for pictures and ideas for nail art. I have used my imagination, like the statue holding the gel polish and brush in her hands, which also have a symbolic meaning, describing the passion of my work. I got my ideas from nature, history, and fashion. I inserted all the pictures I took of different dresses, furniture, flowers, and greek statues into a collage. It helped me to create my own nail art style.

My direction was always to make the nails look realistic, by adding more details into my work. I enjoy making a realistic-looking designs for my nails. It helps me to improve and show my skills. I wanted to create something very unusual, but it was also important for me to keep it simplified, and put relevant details into my nail design. I wanted to make the statue look like a realistic greek statue, with a little twist of my creativity. This is why I make the details on the greek statue like the gel polish, brush on her hands, and a couple of greek symbolic details like the flowers and fabric attracted to columns.

6. Ella Sandblom
I decided I wanted my set to have a theme other than the color. When I need inspiration, I think of nature, because there are so many interesting and beautiful animals, shapes, and colors. I started to look for objects that are purple. I quickly realized that a lot of purple things and animals can be found underwater. That immediately inspired me even more, since I have always loved the sea and find it to be a magical place. For me, water represents so much. I feel very safe and happy in the water. Water is also very peaceful. There is something special about dipping your head under the water and all of the sounds just disappear. I came up with a few different objects from the ocean that went together and created them all in 3-D since I find that technique very interesting and fun. I wanted this set to be out there and I wanted to try things I never have before. So I made bubbles, a seashell, a jellyfish, and coral in Polygel. I wanted the last nail to be covered in 3-D, so I created a seashell on a fake nail. It reminds me of Ursula’s seashell in The Little Mermaid, which was my favorite growing up.
7. Kristen Hartley
One of the best things about living in Grey Bruce is the immaculate sunsets. We have the privilege of living just steps away from picturesque Georgian Bay, and are blessed to be able to witness this magic every night. The dreamy, magical sunsets were my inspiration for this set of nails. The periwinkle sunsets in the summertime, daydreaming about warm evenings, and the magic of wishful thinking, and promises of better days to come. The magic of daydreaming is one of the things that has gotten me through some of the harder days over the last two years. The easy, peaceful feeling of watching the sunset on the days where you aren’t sure if you are coming or going, knowing that there is peace and happiness just on the other side, is something that quenches my soul and gives me hope. Often there is a fiery red sky, before the lighter hues emerge. It is in these moments, that I am reminded of how fiercely I love my life and the choices that I have made. I am the Mother of dragons (sometimes literally), a fierce protector of my family, and cannot be easily scared or persuaded. Once I set my mind to something, it’s nearly impossible to change it. It is why you are seeing me pour my soul into this competition once again! If someone could see within the magical window of my soul, they would see periwinkle sunsets, warm evenings spent at the water with my family, and a passion for making people feel beautiful. These are the things that ignite me every day. I hope you can see my passion in this set of nails and that my design does Very Peri justice! Thank you for including me in this opportunity once again! I can’t wait to see what else I can create!
8. Hannah Nguyen

When I see the Very Peri color, I think flowers for sure, it gives me the vibes of loyalty and soft elegance. So, I did some flowers to decorate the nails. I used acrylic to create them. I added a sharp V to balance the soft flower. The sharp V goes 2 different directions which means life always changes and you just have to go with it. It also represents girl power. I did a girl on that set. She is beautiful, she is tough, but she has a soft soul, strong enough to fight back if anyone hurts her. The color suits the theme so much. I really love the Very Peri color. It gives you a peaceful mind when you look at the color too. I chose a pointy shape for the girl, as that’s her weapon to fight back. I got the inspiration from a violet flower field. I saw it online and it’s just in my mind for the Very Peri color. The color, the flowers, the vibes, just feel like she’s in the middle of the flower field and watching the sky, enjoying the view.

See her Pre-Challenge video here.

9. Quyên Tran


Very Peri, also referred to as PANTONE 17-3938 Very Peri, is the new beloved color of 2022 and displays a spritely joyous attitude and dynamic presence that encourages courageous creativity and imaginative expressions. Inspired, I have decided to take a uniquely fairytale approach with this Next Top Nail Artist challenge.

The Disney Never Fairy known as Periwinkle, who happens to be nicknamed Peri, and the Pantone color Very Peri both display a carefree confidence and a daring curiosity that animates our creative spirit and helps us embrace the altered landscapes of possibilities, opening us up to a new vision as we continuously rewrite our lives. Very Peri’s violet-red undertones display imaginative expressions, while Periwinkle’s warm bubbly personality and perseverance pushed her through difficult times and helped her recover from the hardships and major changes of her world.

We, as global citizens, are all part of a big diverse family. We are currently in a period of recovery, finding our way through these challenging times of constant change. I looked to a chapter in Periwinkle’s story for inspiration when thinking of the concept of perseverance, and I took into account that the color Very Peri symbolizes evolving change for the element of strength and hope in my design.

The chapter in Periwinkle’s story I was referring to, tells a time when this enlightened fairy (twin sister of Tinker Bell) united all of the fairies despite their major differences to save the life source of her fellow fairies. I believe that just like how Periwinkle’s love for her kingdom drove her to surpass hardships and courageously battle the frost that froze over her entire world – We too, as a global family can and will power through the current crisis we are enduring. With hope, love, and a sense of responsibility for one another, we will emerge from these trying times even stronger than ever. We too, can take charge and rewrite our future.

Laurie Pressman – Vice President of Pantone Color Institute noted that, “The Pantone Color of the year reflects what is taking place in our global culture, expressing what people are looking for that color can hope to answer”. I believe color does have the power to inspire and ignite creativity. This is why I chose to create the abstract presence of Periwinkle in the modern shade of Very Peri amongst dandelions during the frosty wintertime. Periwinkle’s wings encompass the power of unity, Very Peri reflects the possibilities that lay before us, and dandelions amongst the frost symbolizes opportunity for positive change during trying times.

It is my hope that this art entry conveys the important link between light and darkness – that within challenging times, we will emerge into a beautiful Springtime of health, greater possibilities, and continual hope for better tomorrows.

See her Pre-Challenge video here.

10. Anna Phan


The Pantone Color of the Year for 2022 is Very Peri. So naturally I did a quick Google search to look up Very Peri colors and to my surprise, the blue hue, Violet and red made up Very Peri. Next, I did a search on Very Peri images and it revealed images of beautiful flowers and birds. I was especially fascinated by the hummingbirds as it had all the Very Peri colors in its feathers. The more I scroll through all the images, the more I realize the theme must be Spring as it represented new life and new beginnings. Since, we had a harsh Winter and many days in lockdown due to Covid-19, I was really happy to use Very Peri. Therefore, I took the direction of Spring theme as my pre challenge.  I wanted to utilize Very Peri to bring out all the life that Spring represented and used the spring gardens to depict it. I imagine the nail design would capture all the life in a Spring garden with the hummingbirds flying from flowers to flowers to collect nectar. I want the 2-D design to be as if you were visiting the garden and life is happening all around you. In conclusion, I hope my interpretation of Spring using Very Peri colors was successful and that everyone enjoy this nail design.

See her Pre-Challenge video here.

11. Nathan Taylor

For this initial challenge I felt the urge to create something simple but striking, something that expressed movement. This was tricky to figure out as I had such limited access to materials, equipment, and tools. Thankfully my creativity and playfulness really develops when I am restricted, I become innovative and resourceful.

As explained in my video diary, I have been inspired by lava formations, stalagmites and artworks made by Bart Hess and Brigitte Coovert. So I started experimenting with ways of recreating these organic, layered, clustering forms. I needed a material that was moldable, durable and had an irregular flow.  Having many years of experience with artistic trial and error as well as having to “make do” with the resources I had available to me, I knew I needed hot glue! This would create the perfect texture and shape and it is something that you can usually get hold of fairly easily. After finally getting a hot glue gun, I began to refamiliarise myself with the characteristics of this material. Its HOT!, sticky, fiddly but creates such beautiful forms. I learnt more and more about how I would create the vision I had in mind as I went on. The direction of the drips, the size and placement of each blob, how each new blob of hot glue affected the surrounding blobs, everything (although maybe these decisions looked effortless) was considered.

Luckily I managed to find Veri Peri coloured spray paint in the local hardware store, alongside the hot glue gun and aluminum foil. The single colour and matte finish of the spray paint has a unifying effect that really does create this vision of oozing, purple nails that are in motion.

See their Pre-Challenge video here.

12. Trina Wright

The modern phoenix of the day, Peacock 17-3938 has been created. Just as the phoenix is known to rise from its ashes, Peacock 17-3938 has been awakened from the matrix of our recent pandemic. As a society we have experienced the historic era of Covid, its isolation and the cyber world take over. Now that we are venturing back into the community, we have risen to the calling of a new world. A new world where our online presence and our real life presence has evolved and merged into a unified expression.

In creating this nail art piece I was inspired by phoenix’s pheasant cousin the peacock and the matrix symbology. These inspirations parallel our Pantone Color of the Year; a modern twist on the phoenix rising from the ashes mythology with a dash of technology sprinkled all over.

Highlighted techniques used to design the nail art piece started with the acrylic sculpted nails, the hybrid design on the nail tips using both matte and glossy finishes, building and engraving the peacock for color blocking effects, textured accents for the arch and the thumb, bringing the art to life, and lastly, the art of the matrix and the trendy Korean paper for a full mixed-media experience.

See her Pre-Challenge video here.

13. Noelle Brown

This challenge started out very difficult, I was not sure which direction I wanted to go. I started to compare myself to the other competitors, and started to get in my head. Once I  began the nail art, I was not happy with the direction they were going. I decided to let go of control and just put myself into it, that’s when it started to become fun. I love the filigree style and was able to portray it in a color I don’t usually use. I was fighting the idea of putting it on all of the nails, but I was overthinking it. Filigree isn’t an easy design, and I felt this made them very cohesive. I have quite a few sketch designs saved, and just looked at other photos for inspiration. I really wanted to learn and get better with giving my nails dimension, so that’s why I have encapsulated glitter, raised art and caviar beads. I’ve done some filigree on nails, but not this in depth, so I really enjoyed being able to improve this technique. The periwinkle flower can symbolize new beginnings, so I took this energy into this set, and viewed this set as a beautiful new beginning to my nail career and opening up to many new techniques and styles.

See her Pre-Challenge video here.

14. Amberley Robinson

For this Pre-Challenge I decided to go with an octopus theme. The reason I went for this idea is because the color combo that is explained for Veri Peri made me think of Ursula’s skin tone. To start I was definitely challenged because I had no idea where to go with doing a creative set with just this color. With the idea of Ursula I didn’t want to go towards the cartoon vibe I was feeling more of a realistic 3-D octopus.

To start I decided to do an acrylic sculpted stiletto shape. I chose this shape because it suits my hand well. For my base of my set I decided to do a marble intermixing the blue and violet shade to create an ocean. I added periwinkle and the Veri Peri shades to add some depth so it didn’t look too washed out and one toned. Next, I created an octopus using foil and white 3-D gel. I went with this decision because I wanted to use less product and to have the least mess. Also, was worried the product wouldn’t cure fully if it was too thick. I’ve never worked with the 3-D gel and had some learning curves, but over all I was pleased with it. Once I completed the octopus I mixed a pre-existing lavender shade gel I had made with a pure blue to create the Veri Peri color for the octopus. Once polished, I went back in to add depth and shading with blue making sure to blend perfectly so it wasn’t overpowering. I then added cute pearls. I finished the nails and 3-D octopus with top coat. I also added a few areas with extra shine by using a white chrome then top coating it to complete the look.

See her Pre-Challenge video here.

15. Erin Paschke

I chose to go with a periwinkle flower direction using all the colors from CND. I used gummi, beckoning begonia, lilac longing and wisteria haze. I chose to do a blend of 3-D elements along with some light hand painted details and layered painting. I wanted to keep the hand painted elements soft as the petals on the periwinkle flowers were soft and delicate looking and the 3-D elements smooth and flowing to be more delicate as well. I chose to go this direction because my grandfather used to say “you’re a good girl Perry” to me when I was younger. I don’t know where it came from but it reminded me of him. And when looking at the periwinkle flower there is a flower with the name myrtle – who is my grandmother. So my direction had to do with the memories of my grandparents.

See her Pre-Challenge video here. 

16. Anastasiya Zhuravska

The minute I read guidelines for this challenge I knew that I wanted to create something out of a fantasy world. As I began to do my research, I struggled finding inspiration until I stumbled upon a picture of a pink shiny snake wrapped around a hand. It was then I knew I wanted to create nails inspired from the Adam and Eve story! I decided to work with two main elements; the serpent and forbidden fruit. As a background I created an ombré over all 5 fingers to represent Heaven and Hell, starting from very light periwinkle to very dark and added sparkles ombré just to give it a bit more of a magical look.

See her Pre-Challenge video here. 

17. Ewa Borkowska

Our first task was to make nails using color of the year Very Peri. I decided to go for something coming from Eastern Europe, where I come from. I used a dragon shape. After putting the base on, I used a template to raise my nails a little up and started to build nails from scratch. I build low sides and then I made an avant garde shape by overbuilding the whole structure. I files nails and made It deeper using a nail milling machine. Then I made a white background and put matte top coat on it, which made painting much easier. To make the Very Peri color, I used white paint gel with blue and pink. I mixed my colors on a palette and started painting.

The pattern of my choosing is called Gzel. Its origins trace back to Eastern Europe and came to Poland when people from Ukraine and Russia settled in Poland. The pattern was used by rural population as ornament on mostly ceramics, plates, jugs, clothes, and event houses. I made the pattern on my own nails using zhostovo brush, which is another Russian technique. I used two tones of Very Peri and finished it with white dots. Free space was used for leaves. Then I put my nails into UV lamp and finished it with clear varnish.

See her Pre-Challenge video here.

18. Jasmin Cameron


My vision for the Pantone ‘Very Peri’ color of the the year is inspired by current culture such as social justice/racial equality, self reflection and progression. All nails show variations of shades of ‘Very Peri’ used with gel polish or acrylic paint. 

For the thumb nail I painted a picture of Lauren Smith, a young black girl who is trending nationwide for being found dead after an online date gone wrong. This event happened in my state less than 30 minutes away from where I live. She represents many young women worldwide who utilize online dating as a social networking platform especially due to side effects of a pandemic. I wanted to honor her with the biggest nail to keep her name alive. The base color used is OPI gel ‘All is Berry & Bright’. To draw her I used acrylic paints and mixed the colors together for tones and shades. 

The index finger was created for directional purpose as we use this dominant finger to signal or guide etc. This nail represents self reflection. There is a mirror in the middle that serves to view us in our current state signifying where we came from and the vision of where we’re going. It’s the acceptance of who we fully are and the gratitude we should embrace. My brand is Honeydippednaildesigns so the honey glazed drops reflect that. The rocky decals represent amethyst which is a natural element that symbolizes peace, intuition, protection, and spirituality. It’s surrounding the mirror to protect the inner most precious person we are at our core. The base color used is OPI ‘Oh You Sing, Dance, Act & Produce’ . The amethyst is created with hard gel cured over foil and painted with different gel colors to create the tones. 

The middle finger showcases the Telfar bag founded by a black designer. I wanted to showcase this to highlight because it represents progression in the minority communities. It emerged and became very popular during the height of the pandemic and is still holding its own. The statement of an accessory symbolizes my passion for fashion and design. The base color is Diamond Girl ‘Super Holo Gel 4’. I created the bag with a piece of faux leather that I cut and glued onto cardboard. I painted over the leather with gel brand Gloss 525, glued a string of beads on as a strap and hand-drew the logo with build gel.

The ring finger represents Metaverse, the emerging new virtual reality. It’s interesting to see how times are changing and what we adapt to. It’s futuristic and innovative and that symbolizes how I want to be in the nail industry. I used OPI ‘Reserve Comits for Later’ with black for a ombré effect as the background. I then cut cardboard squares and painted them to recreate virtual currencies.

Lastly, the pinky finger represents a simply written but powerful message taken from CISE, a popular bag company . “Protect Black Women”. As the background I painted a ombré with OPI ‘All is Berry & Bright, Of You Sing, Act, Dance & Produce’ and Gloss 525 with a matte top coat. During 2020 of the pandemic, the BLM movement emerged and a lot of issues were brought to the surface because of social media and the ability to have more time to use our voices. Also with it being Black History Month I thought it was relevant to my culture and inspiration. As a black woman I’ve had encounters that have made me insecure and uncomfortable. My goal is always peace, love and happiness no matter who or what I encounter.

In conclusion, I was unsure what to create because the ideas were limitless but these nails really represent my core values and interests in 2022. I hope to represent for others who may not be able to. I want to be progressive and challenged with new innovations and I want to keep myself grounded and secure in who I am as I transition in who I’m destined to become. 

See her Pre-Challenge video here.