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making faces :: product review [morgana cryptoria]

plumeria
it's long been a source of irritation for me that with all the cosmetics on the market, there is really such a limited range of shades available from brands with high quality. usually, around halloween, you can find an assortment of blacks, silvers and whites, usually bog-standard drug or dollar store crap that's meant chiefly as a party joke. i tried manic panic's range of lipsticks, but i found them incredibly dry and tough to work with [and even they've drastically cut down their range of colours in the years since i tried them]. years back, mac had daring shades mixed in with their permanent range of shades, but that's been culled down in the name of inventory reduction. which means that those of us who would really like to see something outside the norm and who still want a quality product have been kind of stuck.

plumeria
plumeria
i can't quite remember how i came across morgana cryptoria, but i think it was just one of those internet coincidences, the end result of following one link after another until i ended up there. although the goth-inspired name made me think that the company was probably just another home operation peddling loose eye shadows, the glowing reviews their lipsticks received on line made me curious. most indie operations are not renown for their lip products, since those can be very difficult to make. and when i saw the daring and nuanced shades that they had available, i couldn't help but be curious.



i ended up ordering two of their lipsticks and a lip balm to give them a try. ordering is super-easy over their web site and you can pay through pay pal, which i appreciate. while delivery is understandably not as fast as a major company like mac or nordstrom's, shipping times are clearly stated on the web site and they honour those. i got notifications both when my order was processed and when it was shipped, so the whole experience felt very professional.

gargoyle's glance
i'm pleased to report that the quality of the lipsticks is excellent- on par with much larger makeup companies with more resources at their disposal. the shades go on smoothly and quite sheer- they need to be layered to be built up to full effect. however, the formula itself is so light that layering does not feel heavy on the lips at all. even when i applied a few layers of product, it felt like i wasn't wearing anything at all. the application is very even and while i wouldn't characterise them as moist, there is no drag or pull on the lips. whether worn as a single layer or built up, there is no patchiness, even when applied directly from the tube. [i haven't tried these with a lip brush yet, because i haven't had to.]

after a few hours, i did find that my lips felt a little dry, but they didn't show it. the colour lasted several hours on me without significant fading [unless i ate] and did not settle into lip lines or wear unevenly.

the lip balm is a lovely, soft texture, remarkably pigmented and not at all heavy. although i don't know that it would impart any long-term moisture to the lips, it's a great alternative for days when you may be feeling the effects of cooling temperatures and comes in an excellent range of shades.

gargoyle's glance
gargoyle's glance
as for the colours themselves, they are exactly the sort of offbeat shades i've been searching for. plumeria is a a plum-coloured base with a blue-turquoise sheen. depending on how the light strikes, you can see either more of the base or more of the sheen, meaning that it can pass for fairly conservative but with a bit of a kick. i think that this would be perfectly appropriate for office wear, since it doesn't call attention to itself, but it's still distinctive.

gargoyle's glance is a gunmetal grey base with what looks like a cool pink-lavender shimmer. this is a more noticeably different colour, although it can still be applied lightly to dampen the overall effect. it's a great modern, edgy shade a different take on the more dramatic black lip, something that requires less maintenance overall. it's neutral enough that i think it could work on a variety of skin tones.

spellcaster lip balm
the lip balm i got was spellcaster, a medium purple with a pronounced blue sheen. as i said, the balm shades are very pigmented and really function as a slightly softened lipstick shade. i found that my natural lip colour came through a little more with these than with the lipsticks, but the overall colour was very much true to how it looked in the tube. being a balm, it would be easy to apply with a light hand or by dabbing it on the lips for a subtle effect.

morgana cryptoria's lip products are vegan, thus offering an option to a group who often have trouble finding cosmetic alternatives. the shade range for lipsticks, balms and their new glosses is quite broad- it includes not only offbeat, unusual shades, but also reds, corals and pinks. lipsticks are $12usd each and balms are $7. since you can pay via pay pal, there is no issue with currency exchange- you pay the same no matter where you order from. you can also buy a membership, which allows you to get discounted prices and gives you access to shades not made available to the general public. excellent value for money and the best alternative i've found if you're looking for something a little off the beaten cosmetic path.

available at www.morganacryptoria.com



Comments

Zuzu*s Petals said…
I realize this post is older, but I just wanted to say that you have such beautifully-shaped lips. My thin upper lip just fainted. :^)
Kate MacDonald said…
Thank you so much!

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am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

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