The Story Behind the Crystal Lipsticks That Set the Internet on Fire

More twists and turns than an Agatha Christie.

Instagram, design by Monica Park

Usually, the stages of a Mega! Crazy! New! Beauty! Product! Wow! goes like this:

  1. Discovery
  2. Naming
  3. Everybody Trying to Get a Piece of the Action by Doing Something Similar but Slightly Different or Exactly the Same but Cheaper

    But over the weekend, one extraordinary lipstick changed the narrative from "enthusiasm mustered up for objects scary-cleverly designed to trigger chemical reactions in the brain" to "This is a saga. Or performance art."

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    Though it originally made the rounds in September 2016, this photo of a fistful of diamond lipsticks (HEART PALPITATIONS) recently made waves and raised questions online again. "Are these real?" eager Instagram and Pinterest users gasped, clutching their chests. "WHERE CAN WE BUY THESE CRYSTALS IN TUBES, EVEN THOUGH THE FORMULA IS PROBABLY DISAPPOINTING?"

    💎💎

    A post shared by Sara Shakeel (@sarashakeel) on

    The real answer, after some sleuthing, is—drum roll—nowhere! (It's a collage by Pakistan-based dentist-turned-artist Sara Shakeel.) But there's more: Instagram removed Shakeel's first version of the image when makeup artist Lalita Coraje, who took the original photo of the MAC lipsticks, found fault with the way she was being credited. For her second go, Shakeel got Jerry Saltz-level real about image manipulation and ownership, which you can read above.

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    Still bummed? Shop a few faceted lippies below—though you'll have to settle for ones that don't quite meet the four Cs.

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