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Anyone who’s experimented with makeup has likely tried Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics’ (OCC) Lip Tars. The original versions, in squeeze tubes that required a separate lip brush, came in colors not usually seen in lipsticks, with names like Derelict and Black Dahlia. But as of yesterday, fans of the brand are wondering if the almost-15-year-old vegan makeup line has shuttered.
Makeup artist Kevin James Bennett posted about it yesterday on his Instagram account, while also writing that he had no confirmation that it was true. A thread on r/muacjdiscussion, a makeup enthusiast subreddit with almost 34,000 followers, also discussed the brand’s apparent “ghosting.” OCC’s Instagram and Twitter pages no longer exist. Its Facebook page is still live, though perhaps tellingly, its last post on March 20 advertised a $10-or-less flash sale on all products.
OCC’s website redirects to a message that states: “Our website is temporarily offline, in the interim, shop OCC at Riley Rose, Urban Outfitters & Nordstrom! Questions about an existing order? Email us at email@example.com.” Upon emailing, an automated response came back saying to expect a response in one to two days “due to heavy email volume.” Calls to the brand’s toll-free number and the New York City shop number went to an automated message stating the operating hours. The shop in NYC’s Soho neighborhood also appears to be closed, with the signage gone and the windows covered in brown paper. Products are still available to purchase at Nordstrom, Riley Rose, and Urban Outfitters.
OCC was founded in 2004 by David Klasfeld, a makeup artist who worked at the Body Shop and later at MAC before striking out on his own. He started the brand by mixing up vegan lip balms in his kitchen. At one point, the brand had 300 products and was sold at Sephora, though it’s been a few years since the retailer stocked OCC. It’s probably best known for its Lip Tars, which were the precursors to the long-wear matte liquid lipsticks now sold by Kylie Jenner and pretty much every major makeup company. OCC switched from its signature squeeze tubes to a tube with a doe-foot applicator a few years ago.
It was one of the first indie, vegan makeup brands to find mainstream success and was also a beloved product in the drag community. Several drag queens were officially brought on as campaign models back in 2013. One of them, Willam, who still frequently posts about OCC, last mentioned the brand on March 11 on Instagram.
OCC has also garnered its fair share of criticism through the years because of its name, which is often deemed insensitive by people suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Klasfeld, who himself has OCD, told Racked two years ago, “The name was actually a nod to other people who have OCD, but framed playfully. I don’t want this disorder to be anything to stop people from achieving what they want to do. In fact, it was crucial to our brand’s development.”
Chartreuse lipstick is no longer shocking or groundbreaking, and neither is formulating vegan makeup collections. The beauty industry is in a moment where indie beauty brands are celebrated and coveted by larger companies looking to acquire them. It would be a shame if OCC has been forced to close because it was unable to find funding or support from an industry that was arguably inspired by some of the concepts it pioneered as a brand.
Racked has reached out to OCC directly, the brand’s last publicist, the three retailers mentioned above, and Willam for comment. We will update if anyone responds with more information.
Update, April 25th at 3:02: A tipster alerted Racked that OCC founder David Klasfeld has a new Instagram account, @dkwmakeup. The profile seems to confirm that OCC has gone out of business. It reads, in part: “I founded and ran the world’s first 100% Vegan & Cruelty-Free Cosmetics line from 2004-2018.” Racked has reached out to Klasfeld again and will update with any other information.
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Updated April 4th at 4:02 with information about the brand’s brick and mortar store.