Can Black And White Lip Balm Be Flattering?

OCC's Tarred & Feathered reads more hip than it does Halloween-y.
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OCC's Tarred & Feathered reads more hip than it does Halloween-y.

I’m an orange-red lipstick girl through and through, but I’ve done my damnedest over the past year to expand my lip color horizons. I never thought I’d be into pinks or purples, but epiphanies come in many colors, my friends.

Even though Donna recently proved that macaron-colored lipsticks are surprisingly wearable, at least on her and Olivia, I’ve been slow to accept the possibility that I could look OK--maybe even more than OK--in “alternative” lip colors.

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, being the best kind of enablers, must have Spidey-sensed my reluctance, because I’m now in possession of their back-from-the-dead Tarred & Feathered Lip Balm Duo.

OCC Tarred and Feathered Lip Balm Duo

How bad could something that looks like a black-and-white cookie be? 

There’s nothing particularly pleasant about the notion of tarring and feathering. Historically, it was how vigilantes sought to punish and embarrass people; musical theater nerds like me may recall that, in The Music Man, professor Harold Hill was almost subjected to this discomfort and public humiliation--two things I DON'T look for in a lip color.

I tried Tarred first. I was less worried about how it would look because, years ago, I’d tried and enjoyed Lipstick Queen’s Black Tie Optional gloss. 

I applied it with an OCC lip brush and found that, with some blending to ensure evenness, the color outcome was a sultry blend of black and my natural lip color. I'd describe it as a really deep mauve.

OCC Tarred and Feathered Lip Balm Duo

It’s not as glossy as Black Tie Optional, but Tarred is just as sheer and even more buildable.

Being unnaturally pale, I was afraid that Feathered would make me look like a zombie or a go-go dancer. Or a zombie go-go dancer. Cool Halloween costume idea, but not what I’m going for the other 364 days of the year.

It works, though, because, as with Tarred, your natural lip color peeks through, creating a customized lighter version of your lips.

OCC Tarred and Feathered Lip Balm Duo

On me, Feathered is a super-pale pink.

The key to keeping these balms from looking too theatrical, I think, is to do the rest of your makeup relatively simple and warm. I stuck to a black cat-eye, shimmery beige shadow, and a healthy dose of rosy blush.

Wearing a sheer layer atop bare lips isn’t your only option, of course. You can pile them on for a more dramatic look, or use a super-sheer layer of either one on top of a favorite lip pencil to alter its color and create something totally unique.

However you choose to wear these, I can assure you it’s far more flattering than actually being tarred and feathered.

Do you think you’d wear black or white balm on just any old day of the week? Which do you think is more wearable?