I will forever think of this OCC Lip Tar Trio set–a Sephora-exclusive set–as the gateway to my OCC Lip Tar obsession. Be forewarned; this is going to be a long review!
Before I start gushing about my love for Lip Tars, let’s backtrack a moment to the beginning. First of all, OCC stands for Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics. Lip Tars are, I believe, the product that they are best known for, and, essentially, they are a liquid lipstick. They go on slick and moist, but dry down to a satin or matte finish. They come in just about every color of the rainbow, including some wacky looking primary colors (blue, orange) and shades (pure white, black), which are meant to be used as mixing mediums to change the tone of other colors. (Though you certainly could rock bright blue lips straight out of the tube too, if that’s your thing. OCC don’t judge.) Since they are basically just a mixture of oils and pigment, they do tend to separate. I haven’t had a problem with fixing that; shaking and gently manipulating the tube has remixed them every time. They are vegan, free of cruelty, and gluten-free. They do contain peppermint oil for preservative purposes, so if you are sensitive to that oil or its scent, keep that in mind.
Okay; so that’s a basic run down of what Lip Tars are. Hopefully you’re still with me. Onto the review of this particular set and my opinion of Lip Tars in general!
Now, I had heard of Lip Tars for a long time before I finally dipped my toe in the water to try them. When I first started hearing about them a year or so ago, I was very intrigued. Right off the bat I was struck by how unique they are. A product where you can blend a damn near endless amount of custom colors? Uh, yes please! (I’ve been doing that forever using lipsticks and a palette, but this seemed oh-so-much easier to blend!) Despite my initial interest, I hesitated. Something about the formula was just too new, maybe; too intimidating. I had heard they were tricky to apply, they feathered, they were drying, they leaked, blah, blah, blah. So, as interested as I was, I waited.
During that watching and waiting period, I heard nearly as many wonderful things about Lip Tars as I did scary: with proper lip prep (scrubs/balms/liners) the dryness and feathering could be offset, the tiniest bead of product was needed for application (so a full sized tube would last for ages), once they dried down they lasted for hours, their new packaging style fixed the tendency to leak and–because it bears repeating–they could be mixed and blended like no other lip product to date. The application process became less intimidating (I mean, I use a lip brush to apply products on clients so if I could overcome my morning laziness, using one on myself wasn’t exactly a deal-breaker), and the thought of a lip product lasting throughout the day without need for reapplication was oh-so appealing.
Still, I must have told myself a dozen times that I didn’t need to try them; I had more than enough lip products in my kit… but I just couldn’t keep away. I’ve probably read every review ever posted on them (so not even joking there), watched every Youtube video, followed the company through Social Media… Yeah; I’m pretty hardcore when it comes to my research. (And yes, I am aware how ironic it is that I became so obsessed with a company called Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics.)
When Sephora released this Lip Trio Set on their website, I finally decided to take the plunge. This three-item set comes in two shade choices–Neutral and Vivid. While I think the colors in the Vivid set are beautiful, I know I’d never wear them enough to justify them and they weren’t exactly colors suited for bridal work. The Neutral set, on the other hand, was a great basic set of colors that I definitely could see myself using both personally and professionally. The colors that come in this set are all full size (0.33oz), and there is a full-sized lip brush included as well. At $39.50 for the set (versus the $18.o0 for a single tube), its a great value.
Oh my; it was love at first swatch. (I
Hush (antique bridal pink) This shade looks a little light on the lip; it’s a pale, cool pink.
While this could be a nice pinky-neutral on most people, its just too close to my skintone and it washes me out just a tad too much to wear alone. I’ve found its great for mixing into darker colors to lighten them up a bit.
Memento (midtone pink plum). This one is a perfect “as-is” shade for me, no mixing needed! I find it looks a bit more full-on pink with only the slightest plum tint on, but it has the right balance of color and makes a nice workday lip.
Sadly, this shade seems to dry my lips out worse than any other. Not sure why; I continue to play with it to see if I can offset that.
Clockwork (rich terracotta with orange undertone) This color swatched a lot more orange on my hand than it appears on my lips. Its actually more wearable than you may think. There is a definite orange undertone, but it takes on a more coral-y look and you pick up more of the terracotta promise in person. I originally wanted to say that I didn’t see myself ever wearing or using this one solo, but I wore it around the house after the swatch and it grew on me. Conflicting opinion aside, it blends nicely with other shades to add some warmth if all else fails.
I have to say, I did not find these nearly as tricky to apply as I thought I would; perhaps being forewarned by my extensive pre-purchase stalking helped. It is true that you really only need a tiny dot of product. (Using too much product is the number one reason for feathering.) I can’t stress how tiny of a dot of product is needed to cover the full lip! Its almost ridiculous how little you use at a time. I like to drop a bead onto a stainless steel palette and then use my lip brush to dab at it on the palette, rather than applying it directly on the brush, to make sure I get the right amount of product. I also like to blend the colors directly on the palette too, so this method has become my go-to.
Now, I do have super dry lips. (Doing the three lip swatches in a row was rough; you can probably see my lips looked flakier with each shot as I rubbed the previous one off, and the Clockwork swatch started to feather as my previous lip prep was wiped away). I’ve found that it true that this product’s formula accentuates that flaw like whoa. It will settle into lines and highlight flakes; especially the lighter colors. Regular use of these lip tars really does require following a strict lip scrubbing-and-moisturizing regimen. My current application process is to scrub them well when I wake up in the morning, then to apply a thick balm that will really sink in during the half hour or so that I’m puttering around in the morning. I then wipe the balm off when I sit down at my vanity, apply a tiny bit of the Clear Lip Tar (sold separately, or in the Sephora-exclusive Pro Picks v3.0 set), let that sink in while I do the rest of my face, then apply my lip tar blend right before I head out the door. I don’t normally use a lip liner with the lighter shades, but with the darker ones (which are more prone to feathering–see Clockwork above), I do use a nude lip liner.
I know that might sound like a lot of work, but the color payoff and lasting power are worth it. (And let’s not forget they’re just so damn fun to play with.) Trust me.
Another caveat is that Lip Tars do need a little time to dry down (at least 30 minutes or so with no eating or drinking), but once they do? Hot damn. I’ve gotten a minimum of 4 to 6 hours of wear without budging or drying me out. After that time, I find I usually need to refresh them with an extra dot of Clear or a swipe of lip balm. The added step of refreshing cuts down the staying power on me, true, but its the method I’ve found that works for me. I’ve heard others say they last 8-10 hours on them (as long as they stay away from oily foods and such), and they never need to refresh their lips. Everyone’s experience may be different.
OCC Lip Tars = Love. Since this set, I’ve quickly acquired quite a collection. I really get a kick out of blending up a new color with a dab of this and dab of that whenever the mood strikes me. The other two sets I have purchased from Sephora (the Pro Picks v1.0 and Pro Picks v3.0) will be getting their own reviews in the weeks to come, as previously promised. I also have some colors I have purchased direct from OCC that will eventually be getting swatched/reviewed too. If you’re interested in more OCC love, stay tuned!