David Klasfeld on the left, James Vincent on the right
David Klasfeld was 6-years-old when he knew he wanted to be a makeup artist.
In a kindergarten career day exercise, David stood in the center of his classroom with the rest of his classmates. While the rest of the students went to different stations representing different careers, like that of lawyer, David stayed in the center of the room.
When questioned about it, he said none of the careers represented fit him. “I want to be a makeup artist who paints purple things all day,” he said. “It’s always been a calling.”
At The Makeup Show NYC last week, David told this story, including the impetus behind his cult favorite brand, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics.
Tarred and Feathered
At a time when no one was encouraging boys to go into makeup, David found a supportive high school drama teacher.
David knew from an early age that he wanted to develop his own cosmetics line, but he didn’t want to rush into it. “I was waiting until I found something different,” he said. It was years after his career as a makeup artist took off that he would found Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, which will be 11-years-old next month, and it all started with two lip balms – a white called Feathered and a black called Tarred.
His work in HD video and television created a need for the attributes the balms brought to his artistry – both sheer balms, Tarred adds definition while Feathered can help give a true color. David reintroduced the balms into his line last year. David wanted to contribute a cosmetics line that met a need, and he’d found his opening.
David’s vegan lifestyle is a huge influence on another area of OCC’s unique background. All OCC products are 100 percent cruelty free and vegan. Even the brushes are vegan.Years ago, David decided to make his makeup kit vegan, including getting rid of products with animal-derived carmine, which he said causes most allergies in makeup. “I didn’t want people reacting to makeup,” he said. He always carried sensitive, minimal skin care, like Cetaphil moisturizers.
He was so committed to launching a vegan line that he said he literally made Tarred and Feathered at home until he found a lab partner that would create a vegan product with him. When David launched nail polish, it was five-free, more than the “Big-3 Free” polishes of the moment.
“If the line feels disjointed, it’s because we go with what’s missing,” he said of how OCC has expanded and grown its cosmetics line.
Next year, look out for a vegan mascara from OCC, he said.
OCC makeup artist Nichole gets creative using OCC products while James Vincent interviews David.
David’s line got a huge consumer boost when he launched his Lip Tar line in 2009 at The Makeup Show Los Angeles. It was not only acclaimed by fellow artists, but beauty bloggers – including makeup artist and vlogger Queen of Blending – who introduced the product to consumers sent orders skyrocketing for the Lip Tars.
The line includes Lip Tars in primary colors, and the entire line is meant for mixing to find custom colors, much like other products, like OCC Skin.
“Embrace social media,” David advised the audience of bloggers. “The 16-year-old that does her own face (on YouTube)? She is important. You can’t stop things from moving forward.”
OCC continues to stand out not only for amazing products that are great tools for the artist and consumer alike, but for a great showcase of diversity through the advertisements and collateral associated with products and launches.
“A lot of people associate OCC with Willam (Belli),” David said, adding that he has worked with Calpernia Addams and many others in the LGBT community.
It’s not shock value, he said, “it’s about showcasing diversity.”
OCC artist Melissa applies OCC makeup to a model while David answers questions with James Vincent.
At the end of the day, David said his advice for those who want to start their own cosmetic line is “Look at what isn’t being done,” he said.
I really enjoyed David’s keynote. He has always been so very nice to us bloggers, and I’ve admired his brand for what it stands for, how he evolves it, and especially for the inclusivity the line exudes. I admire David as an artist and every year at The Makeup Show, his booth is my first stop to check out whatever the newest product is. I was one of those folks who discovered the brand after Lip Tars started getting attention in 2009 or 2010, and I have not turned back. I own so many Lip Tars!
So, do you own any OCC makeup? What’s your favorite product? If you haven’t tried OCC, I’d love to hear whether it’s a brand on your list of lemmings!