My favorite lip product of the year was Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetic’s Lip Tar ($16), an innovative, customizable lip pigment. Don’t be thrown off by the name – they aren’t particularly sticky. Instead, it’s a highly pigmented liquid lipstick with a satin-matte finish. Only a pinhead’s worth of product will cover your lips, and they last through eating and drinking with ease. This year OCC began selling their products at Sephora, making it a lot easier to try out their many colors.
There are 39 shades of lip tar, including some unusual colors (blue, green, white, yellow, orange). OCC recently debuted a line of metallic lip tars as well – there are 6 shades, which can be mixed in with regular lip tars to add shimmer. Lip tars were originally designed for makeup artists, and you can create pretty much any shade you can dream up. For thorough swatches of almost every color, I direct you to the excellent Temptalia.
I bought three shades so far – Grandma (“classic coral”), Queen (“neon red coral”), and Clear (“to prime or sheer”). As you can tell, I’m a big fan of corals. I also have Psycho, a bright red-orange, in the mail. My favorite of the bunch is Queen – it’s definitely an unusual, powerful color. It’s right between hot pink, orange, and red, and it stains my lips in a pleasant way.
The biggest strengths of the product are its customizability and the breadth of shades. You can mix shades to create new colors – I’d suggest snagging some sample containers at Nordstrom to keep your mixtures. (Nordstroms has 3ml sample containers in bins near the checkout). I was thinking about buying Trollop, listed as a “pinked coral,” when I realized I could create that by mixing Grandma and Queen. I’m excited to get the warm red Psycho, and see what other shades I can create.
There are two drawbacks to this otherwise awesome product: lip dryness, and ease of application. I don’t think the lip dryness is worse than the average lipstick, and it can be combatted by exfoliating your lips regularly, applying lip balm ahead of time, and wiping off any excess before you apply the lip tar. You could also apply the lip tar directly on top of lip balm, but that would cut the pigmentation and wear time.
The ease of application isn’t that much of a hurdle, but it’s much harder to touch up than lipstick. The lip tars come with their own small lip brush, which is essential to putting it on. Unless you’re Picasso, you’re not going to have much luck applying with your fingers.
To solve the problem of reapplication, I made my own tinted Chapstick to match. This was much easier than expected. I simply twisted a new Chapstick all the way up, cut it off with a spoon, and melted the balm in a shotglass in the microwave. Then I mixed in the lip tar, poured it back into the Chapstick tube, and put it in the fridge to cool. It’s a slightly messy process, so be careful, and use a silicon spatula to scrape any excess out of the shot glass.
You can add as much or as little lip tar as you’d like. I was following a recipe that was trying to match the pigmentation, so I added a ton of the lip tars. You can’t apply the ones I made without a mirror, so they’re more like lipsticks. Next time I think I’ll add less pigment, and make the Chapsticks into a tinted balm. I may also try out new formulas of balm to see which I prefer. It’s been fun acting like a mad scientist with makeup!