Controversial Cult Favorite: Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics’ famous Lip Tar is both loved and hated. Here we review the new Unknown Pleasures and general Lip Tar itself.

We love all shades of bright lip colors around these parts, but of course, not all bold beauty products are created equal. When I was first told to try Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics‘ famous Lip Tar, I was a bit skeptical. First off, I was sort of stuck in my ways and it was difficult enough for me to try reds besides my old favorite (MAC Ruby Woo), let alone take the plunge and go purple, yellow, blue and all the other shades that OCC makes. But try it I did! And so did our readers, some of whom hated it and others love it. So should you try it? Read on to see if this cult fave is right for you.

Lip Tar is a liquid lipstick made by OCC the comes in little tubes with an accompanying lip brush to apply it with. They have become known as a favorite for those who want makeup that stands out, as they are typically very highly pigmented and do not require many reapplications nor much initial formula to achieve the promised shade. They’re also vegan & cruelty-free, so that’s a plus for those who prefer cosmetics to not test on animals or use animal byproducts.

In our open thread on which beauty products you found disappointing, a few of you listed OCC Lip Tar as not working out for you. Commenter L said:

“OCC lip tar definitely. It was hard to put on and didn’t even stay for long without bleeding.”

CMJ added:

“Strike 1 – It’s not that easy to apply (I really don’t like having to use a lipstick brush all.the.time). Strike 2 – they really settle in the lip lines…and this was after I would exfoliate (every time) before I put it on. Strike 3 – Queenie exploded in my Balenciaga bag. I have a forever reminder of how annoying the product is….”

Interestingly, others stated that they have had great lunch with Lip Tar, including footnotegirl:

“I actually love the lip tars? I get a good stain out of them, though some of their colors are a bit odd (why the super pale neutrals but no dark ones?). Only the super darkest shades feather on me at all, and with those, I just use the colorless UD lipliner and that fixes that.”

I personally have had solid experiences with OCC’s stuff, so I didn’t realize it was a little more polarizing than I would imagine.

Since OCC is launching their Unknown Pleasures Color Collection for fall/winter, I decided that instead of just talking about my past experiences with the brand, I would simply review this collection so I can relay my most up-to-date and accurate opinions while also showcasing some weird (and some wonderful) new colors.

Just FYI, I applied clear lip balm about an hour ago and I used the OCC Cosmetic Colour Pencil in Anti-Feathered to line my lips.


OCC Lip Tar Unknown Pleasures view - Lament swatch

This matte shade is a nude rosy beige, which sounds like a quiet color, but that doesn’t make it subtle in the slightest. Just as with all the Lip Tars, it is very opaque and therefore stands out. I am a fairly pale person whose complexion tends to be neutral with a natural rosy blush, so this is probably the most subtle shade of the bunch for my own face.


OCC Lip Tar Unknown Pleasures review - Covet swatch

Another matte shade, Covet is a neutral tan shade without any shimmer or glossiness to it, which is typically my complaint for colors along the lines of this one. While it’s a nice color, I would recommend it for skin tones that do not have the same bluish-neutral undertones that mine do, as it seems to clash quite a bit.

OCC Lip Tar Unknown Pleasures review - Covet swatch lips

That said, I am certain this will look gorgeous on deep tan and black complexions.


OCC Lip Tar Unknown Pleasures review - Manhunter swatch

I LOVE THIS SHADE. It reminds me of Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, Nomi from Showgirls, and Cyd Charisse‘s dress in The Band Wagon. It’s a sparkly reddish-orange shade with tons of gold shimmer that I am not sure where I could possibly wear, but I need to find a situation immediately. Also, my apologies for the bumpy and awkward application; I somehow didn’t realize it was so uneven until after taking the photos and scrubbing off the sparkles.

OCC Lip Tar Unknown Pleasures review - Manhunter swatch The Gloss

Look how excited I am! Except I don’t love smiling with teeth when I’m alone because that seems a little odd to pose whilst doing.


OCC Lip Tar Unknown Pleasures review - Pagan swatch

Pagan is a blackened purple shade that sets the stage for the following shade. It is beautiful but very dark, so I think it will be perfect to save for the winter months.


Controversial Cult Favorite: Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar - Technopagan Swatch

As you may have noticed, I have been obsessed with blue lipstick lately, wearing it to music festivals, at work, and even on dates. In fact, I wore this shade to meet Chrissy Teigen at Stella Artois‘ Belgian National Celebration, so I am definitely a fan. The bluish-purple (blurple!) offers a metallic finish which I got tons of compliments on. While it feathered a bit by the end of the night, I had also been drinking and eating for three hours so that was probably to be expected.


OCC Lip Tar Unknown Pleasures review - Vain swatch

This shade is deep matte indigo (though I see a lot of deep greenish undertones) that can work for a variety of complexions, from super pale to olive-toned to dark. It’s a solid shade and you only need a teensy bit to get a good effect. Side note: I feel like Slytherins would love this color, and I don’t mean that in a mad way.

Final Thoughts On Lip Tar

  • Texture: I love that it is a liquid since it’s easy to mix new shades and it offers a variety of beautiful finishes. It didn’t dry out my lips, which is great because my skin has a tendency to be very dry. While I wouldn’t run around kissing anybody with this stuff on (it would almost certainly transfer color), it’s fine to leave on all day.
  • Application: The aforementioned mixing aspect is great, particularly if you enjoy customizing your own makeup shades, but I have to admit that it is frustrating to require a brush to apply the product because then I have to carry around the product, a small brush, and a little pouch to make sure it doesn’t get color on the inside of my bag. I suppose I could use my finger in a pinch, but with brighter or deeper colors, this could prove inconvenient and potentially messy.
  • Durability: Lip Tar lasted great for me. Without lipliner, the darker shades feathered a bit and got into the corners of my mouth, but with a clear lip liner underneath, they lasted very well.
  • Would I recommend it? Yes. It’s a fun product that lasts a long time and delivers a high-intensity, very pigmented color. If you’re not comfortable with brushes, this might be difficult for you to work with, but otherwise, it is a great piece to have in the fun parts of your kit.
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