Vegan Spotlight: Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics

I love makeup! Everything about it. I remember being a child, and a teacher asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I looked her right in the eyes and said: I want to be a Crayola crayon so I can live in a box filled with color. Soon after this, I discovered makeup, and I fell in love. I never looked back, and never wanted to be anything else, except that bright orange Crayola crayon playing in a box of colors. Introducing the makeup artist.

About 20 years ago my beloved makeup decided it did not love me back! My everyday lipstick sent me to the hospital with a severe allergic reaction. Every lipstick I put on after that had the same response within my body. I started to research and understand about the toxic ingredients in cosmetics, and the havoc they play within a woman's body. I made a change and never looked back. Introducing the sustainable/clean/green makeup artist.

It's not often that I come across a brand that really encompasses everything that I truly believe in as an artist and as a person. That brand is Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (OCC). The founder David Klasfeld , who is the pioneer of the currently trending liquid lip, describes the brand as the following. “A line obsessively crafted from the finest ingredients possible, to celebrate the driving compulsions of make-up fanatics everywhere.” I first met and interviewed David 5 years ago, at The Makeup Show. After our interview, I walked away smiling and referring to him as 'The leader of the new school'. Finally! OCC is my holy grail of makeup! A brand with simple, wholesome ingredients that performs and is not hazardous to the women who wear it, and the earth that we live on. It also allows an artist to simply create. There is no color on earth that you can not create with Lip Tars ( their breakout signature product).

I have spoken with David several times, since our first encounter. I can't even call this an interview. We basically have conversations that can go on forever based on similar beliefs, standards and a love of great makeup. Here is our latest conversation about the current spotlight on vegan makeup.

Karim Orange: What do you think about the bright light now on vegan makeup?

David Klasfeld: OCC has been doing vegan makeup since 2004. When people used to see us at trade shows and ask "What's 'vague-in'?, now people from all walks of life want vegan makeup. People are asking ‘why is that ingredient in there? It doesn't have to be’. A lot of ingredients that are animal derived are being questioned now. Things like carmine which is made from an insect and beeswax in the age of colony collapse disorder are not something people take in stride anymore.

K.O: Is this creating a long overdue conscious change in the industry?

D.K: This is amazing to me both personally and professionally! My hope was always to effect change in this industry. So seeing other vegan lines pop up now makes me thrilled. I think you can trace it back to the Starbucks Scandal when people found out that they put carmine in their frappuccinos to give it color. It was right after that when people started paying attention to this ingredient also being in their makeup and starting to question others. I always said that if people knew what was in their makeup they would be terrified. OCC has been pushing that boulder uphill for a while, so it is really exciting to see it pay off.

K.O: As you know I am an obsessive compulsive ingredient junkie! I feel that so many brands 'greenwash' when it comes to using the vegan buzz word. They might not test on animals or have animal products in them but every other ingredient is crap. What are your thoughts on this?

D.K: I think a consumer has to be aware of what brands were actually designed to be vegan (like us). We created a great lipstick in a non-traditional format excluding beeswax and traditional animal ingredients and still keep true to what veganism is all about.There is a very popular link on the PETA website called accidental vegan. I suggest this information to everyone, especially new vegans. You will find out things like Oreos are accidental vegan, and not developed to be. For OCC we not only wanted to be ingredient savvy but socially continuous as well. For instance, wheat germ oil is a very popular ingredient in lipstick. I knew enough in 2009 about people with gluten intolerance that I chose to keep it out. We also chose to keep ingredients like silicone which was super popular. Now companies are pulling it out. We knew the customer we were speaking to wouldn't allow us to just say 'it's vegan'. Coming from and living a vegan lifestyle really gives you insight.

Alchemically Altered
Alchemically Altered

K.O: How long have you been vegan?

D.K: About 15 years.

K.O: Are you vegan past the food?

D:K: Totally!

K.O: I love the fact that you can recognize all of the ingredients in your products as something you can eat. Can you elaborate on this?

D:K: Yes! Lip Tars are made from castor oil, hemp oil, peppermint oil, vitamin E and pigments. Even our other products like conceal, we wanted to mimic the texture that you get from silicone. We did this by using coco butter extract and aloe leaf extract. It's not that it's so difficult to do these type thing. You just have to care.

K.O: Whats next?

D:K: We are responding to an overwhelming consumer request and coming out with pressed eyeshadow.

So there you have it! Much continued success to David and Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics.

About the author: Karim Orange is a two-time Emmy nominated makeup artist and green beauty expert, specializing in clean beauty, makeup and skincare. She is an active urban farmer who advocates for quality food, regardless of social economics. She enjoys traveling cross country by train, and sharing stories with others along the way.

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