The word “tar” might not conjure up beautiful imagery, but don’t let that dissuade you from checking out Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics’ range of oh-so-sexy Lip Tar shades ($18 each). Introduced in Fall 2008, OCC Makeup’s Lip Tar coats lips with super-saturated, astoundingly opaque pigments with a satin-y finish. The formula, meanwhile, incorporates several beneficial botanical ingredients — chiefly hemp oil, which is rife with nourishing and softening omega fatty acids; peppermint oil, which has a cooling effect and also boasts antimicrobial properties; and antioxidant-rich vitamin E, which protects lips from free radical damage and prevents premature skin aging.
Each 100% vegan lip color is packaged inside a tiny, pocket-sized tube that, although small, will last surprisingly long given that you’ll only need a bead-sized amount for each application. Ideally, you should use a lip brush when applying the Lip Tar shade of your choice since the color saturation is almost mind-blowingly high, and you’ll want to be precise when smoothing the color onto your pout (and that goes double if you choose an ultra-bright shade like Beta, Anime, or Demure).
There is literally no product on the market that compares to OCC’s Lip Tars in terms of consistency, texture, color payoff, or longevity. Each Lip Tar shade packs a mighty punch in the opacity department, balking at the notion of wimpy sheer hues and instead embracing a bold, flamboyant, adventurous and bodacious approach to color. Pigment saturation aside, I find the Lip Tars to have a delightful texture — they’re not sticky or tacky like some glosses nor do they have the clump-prone creaminess of a lipstick; instead, they have an almost oil-like feel, though their consistency is by no means runny or watery.
When you first apply the Lip Tar, then, it feels rich but moist and, as time passes, the color dries down a bit while retaining a slick finish. And, as if these attributes weren’t enough of a draw, each Lip Tar lasts surprisingly long, often locking onto lips for hours at a time — all without drying your pout as so many long-wear lipsticks tend to do.
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There are currently 53 Lip Tar shades available — from neutrals like Hush and Memento to ultra intense reds like Radiate and Harlot. And true to OCC Makeup’s experimental roots, there are a plethora of intriguing, odd-but-magnetizing shades like Belladonna, a funky purple reminiscent of the color of African violets, and Super NSFW, a delicious red with alchemist-worthy golden undertones.
I own at least 20 different Lip Tar shades (some favorites include Digitalis, Strumpet, Stalker, Super NSFW, and Lovecraft), and I’m always expanding my collection since the colors are always so inventive, so unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Sure, each Lip Tar costs $18, but considering that come-hither lips can light up your entire face, it’s an investment well worth making.