Upgrading Manicures

I’ve got a passion for nail polish. It’s actually why I started this blog in the first place, hence the name Polished Cryptids. These days, I don’t often have the time to sit down and do my nails. Thus, like so many others, I reserve manicures for when I want to treat myself. Not to mention when I had to cut my nails in a rush and messed up, that’s when I go to a salon. However, I’m incredibly picky when it comes to polish and I am almost never satisfied with the outcome. Salons tend to be airconditioned and when you walk out of them (and live in a humid/hot climate), your polish is likely to start bubbling.

In order to disguise this and any minor smudges, a good old effects polish can be a lifesaver. It also extends the lifetime of the manicure by adding another protective polish.

The first photo shows my manicure shortly after walking out of the salon, if you enlarge it, you can see how the polish has started to bubble. In order to address that issue, I used an effects polish from OPI that contained black particles and larger metallic glitter. Because the regular polish is rather bright and metallic, meaning that a more muted effects polish is a good option that prevents you from blinding people with the sheer shininess of your nails.

The photo featuring the pink nails are based on an at-home manicure. When doing this at home, I typically make sure that the entire nail is covered as opposed to the more limited cover of a salon manicure. This helps the polish stick to the nail longer and minimises the risk of the edges of the base polish catching on something and thus flaking. Due to the weather here, bubbling still happens sometimes but to a lesser extent if you let your manicure dry in the same temperature the entire time. In these instances, playing with texture is a great way to trick the eye into focusing on something other than the small bubbles. That’s why I opted for gold flakes rather than a more traditional glitter polish. This is also a great option if your nails are a bit fragile and you’ve found that glitter polishes are difficult to remove smoothly.

Another option is to skip the glitter, but keep the particles. The photo on the far right shows an effects polish with matte particles that are a good option for hiding minor imperfections. It works great on both metallic and regular polishes.

For smudges, try an effects polish that cracks. You paint it over the entire nail and it then shrinks to create cracks in the nail. When that has dried, add a clear top coat to make the look more polished.


Makeup Without Foundation

wp-1471129694670.jpgYou have no idea how difficult it is to try to take a decent selfie in a crowded cafe with weird lights.

Lately, I’ve struggled to get excited about makeup. I’ve barely worn it and when I have, it just felt like an absolute drag. Beyond the usual ‘stressed and overworked’ reasons, it took me a while to pinpoint why this had become a thing.

See, one of the reactions I get to stress is that my skin breaks out. Not massively, but enough to where it’s noticeable if you know what it normally looks like. Late night shifts also make me neglects things like skincare and removing makeup. Applying makeup on skin that isn’t as good as it normally is just feels like an absolute chore. And so I just haven’t.

Today however, I tried a different approach. I decided to skip the two things that make me feel like I’m wearing heavy makeup: foundation & mascara.

I started out by applying concealer under my eyes (less than 6 hours sleep is so much fun) and on my nose (since it tends to look red without it). Beyond that I just did pinpoint concealing on any spots I could find. Skipped the brushes and just used my fingers. As always, the concealer I used was Urban Decay’s Naked Skin in Warm Light. I then used the beige no sebum compact powder from Innisfree and applied it all over to control for shine and slightly even out my skin tone.

I used a lib balm with a slightly pink tint to it from the Face Shop, a classic item that long time readers will have seen around for ages. It’s highly moisturising and brings a hint of colour without becoming too heavy or something you need to worry about staining or transferring.

Lastly, because my eyes tend to disappear completely when I wear a nude lip and a neutral dress colour, I used two shades from the Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar palette. Along the upper lash line, I used the shade Cocoa Chili applied lightly just to add some definition you’d usually get from mascara. On the outer third of the waterline, I applied the shade Hot Fudge to substitute eyeliner.

Overall, this look feels very light, which is what I wanted and the main reason I used mainly powder based products. Not exactly a showstopper, but for a look that skipped out on foundation, I’m really happy with the way my skin looks.


Amplified Lashes – Benefit’s They’re Real


I’ve never been known to focus too much on my lashes. A combination of hooded eyes and straight lashes makes me prone to ignoring them and for casual days. The photo on the left is me on a regular day where my eyelashes look more like eyeliner than they do lashes. It’s actually made me fairly insecure at times given how much retro/pinup makeup tends to focus on heavy eye makeup and I’ve never really been able to do any of that…

The photos on the right are me trying a new method that a friend of mine recommended. I think there’s a pretty dramatic change on the upper lashes and I was so impressed that I thought I’d share that trick with you all.

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New to Makeup: Vintage vs Pinup

I love both vintage and pinup styles, they’re some of the coolest styles out there. Personally, I’m more inspired by vintage than pinup but enjoy dabbling with both. This post is not meant to trash any of the styles, merely to outline the differences between them to clarify what the different styles mean.

Vintage style makeup aims to capture the essence of specific time periods and often seeks to replicate classic looks without changing them. Pinup is a more modern take on classical styles, often more dramatic than vintage. Personally, I think of vintage makeup as day makeup and save full pinup makeup for special events.

Which is easier for beginners?
Probably vintage, for one reason: Winged eyeliner. Winged eyeliner is a staple of pinup makeup and although pinup looks can be created without winged liner, it’s considered one of the main components of pinup style makeup. Genuine 1930’s and 1940’s looks seldom included a lot of eyeliner but focused on mascara instead.

What are the differences?
In general, pinup makeup is a bit edgier than vintage. The colours are often designed to pop and stand out a bit more than in vintage makeup. Eyeshadow is more commonly used in pinup makeup than vintage makeup and it’s often applied using more modern techniques. The winged liner is the greatest difference, it only saw limited use in vintage times but is embraced by the pinup community. Pinup makeup takes greater liberties with colour in general and isn’t afraid to try new combinations and textures. They’re quite similar when it comes to foundation, but the pinup style seems to favour full coverage matte foundation while the vintage style often features lighter coverage and a powdered finish.

Do I have to pick one or the other?

Of course not, a lot of people’s makeup looks fall on a spectrum. Like I said in the introduction, I often save pinup makeup for special occasions or events. In general, I’d say pinup makeup offers more options while vintage makeup is a bit more ‘strict’. That being said, no one is going to crucify you if you use a lipstick with a texture that didn’t exist in the 1940’s. There are always “puritans” who have the opinion that their way of doing a certain style of makeup is the only way that style of makeup should be done. I typically ignore these people. Makeup is meant to be fun and shouldn’t feel like a burden or be so difficult to navigate that you wish you had a rule book.

Red Lipstick – New to Makeup

Red lipstick is quite possibly the most iconic type of makeup there is. It is a staple in classical, vintage, and modern makeup. In other words, it deserves its own post.

So I put some of my lipsticks in my bag and headed to my local coffee shop to write. These are far from my only lipsticks, but they do illustrate a rather decent range of colours and types.

Here’s five things you need to know about red lipstick.

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9 Ways to Minimise Makeup Expenses

Makeup can be really expensive, especially if you’ve just started building a makeup kit. Some products will seem great at first and then turn out not to work at all, other products will improve as you learn how to use them.

So what are some tricks you can use to make your heard earned money last a bit longer?
Knowing there’s always going to be some smart-ass who will say ‘just don’t buy makeup’, let me just say that I’m entirely aware that’s the cheapest option of all. It’s however a pretty useless tip to give someone trying to build a makeup collection or kit without breaking the budget. Some of these are aimed at people just starting out, others at people aiming to build a sizeable collection or kit.

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Adding Dimension to Dark Lips

Yes, this is a photo depicting the various stages.
Bottom right features my regular lips as they are, quirks and all. The one above that features the first layer of the application.
The one above that is the THIRD step. The one where I have clearly painted outside the lines features the SECOND step. And the one of my full sweaty face is the final step.
Yes, the pictures got jumbled.

For this, I used one of the flipsticks from MaxFactor. Also, it is so freaking hot and humid today that the BB creme I’m wearing is literally melting off my face.

  1. Make sure your lips are in decent condition. By this I mean not overly chapped, dry, or damaged. No one has the time to ensure their lips are in perfect condition all the time.
  2. Apply the deeper shade all over your lip. Draw a full shape but not an excessive one. This is where I would normally leave it
  3. Apply the lighter shade in the centre of the lip. Go back and extend your cream shade a bit.
  4. CLEAN UP the colour that extended too far until you have the shape you want. I honestly just use my bare fingers to do that with this product, but you might need to use a q tip with makeup remover and then go in with concealer around your lip.
  5. Add a tiny dab of gloss in the centre of the lip.


This is one of those processes where you have an awkward stage in the middle, but it’s a good trick if your lips have a tendency to look flat or thin. You can also use a lip liner for more definition and control.