A thin, finger-type application yields the ye olde, half-shadowed scarlet implied by its name. It's quite clean and simple at this intensity. Pile more on and it will take you deeper, dropping down into dramatic teak-burnished depths that set it apart from the basic-red herd and expand Vintage's appeal across the complexion spectrum. It's not as overtly grungy as MAC VG 1 or Dubonnet, but that moderate dirty undertone means virtually anyone with the inclination can wear this colour successfully (it's more apparent on the lip and with a bit of wear than in swatches).
Vintage turns your whole face into a lip situation, the sort of red that outcompetes/minimises dermal annoyances like broken veins and recent zit scars etc. It retains the laid-back, mid-life vinyl sheen level visible in these images, a flattering lustre that emphasises lip architecture without making one look deranged or inflatable. It's a classic stunner that I cannot fault, aesthetically speaking.
And now for the bad news.
Despite OCC's extremely commendable ethical stance (they're vegan and cruelty-free), I've disposed of a number of lip tars in impulsive disgust at their general performance. The older tube stock is a bitch to apply, even with the quite-nice OCC brush, and necessitate an annoying level of brush hygiene. I really don't know how the new doe foot applicator will do much better given the texture, but I haven't tried it yet. That legendary pigmentation (and it is fabulous... except when it isn't) means controlling the intensity can be a frustrating exercise. Different shades and even batches seem to offer wildly different performance; SuperNSFW was a stubbornly separated, underpowered mess, Traffic was a greasy, patchy nightmare and Electric Grandma? That shit desiccated my lips like some sort of hungry vampire (peppermint oil can counterintuitively suck the life out of your lip skin).
As you can probably see, this stuff is oil-borne, seriously liquid and virtually nothing you can do will change that. Anything more than the lightest application will seep outward, smudging that hypermassive pigmentation into corners you didn't know you had and staining like fucking stigmata.
It was probably dumb and certainly lazy of me to hold off reviewing an OCC Lip Tar until they repackaged the damn things. But no reformulations were proclaimed so my observations are still relevant.
I've long entertained a looove/haaaate relationship with this product. Let's go with the positives first up. Generally speaking, the shades themselves are nothing short of purring glamour in liquid form; I delight in their high drag quotient and unreservedly adore their indefatigable intensity.
Vintage is no exception, exiting the tube as a thick bead of deep, arresting sanguine. It is a medium-dark; lightly smoked red. A sunbaked blood red. Chocolate cake smashed into raspberry sauce red. I can't think of another iteration of this shade that delivers quite so much boiled-down, cacao-ruby goodness, except perhaps its stablemate, that mighty bitch Stalker.
Without hardcore priming, Vintage will absolutely bleed, whether you're young, old, wrinkly or pristine. Check it out on my hand in the pic overhead; its already packed its bags and headed off in every diddly doodly direction after 30 seconds.
I use heavy-duty stick primers like UD Ultimate Ozone and the ELF stuff (both reviewed here) to keep Vintage from wandering. It's just a shame these stodgy products somewhat mattify and diminish this lip tar's virgin beauty.
When all's said and done, OCC Vintage is undeniably beautiful and incredibly infuriating, like a peacock perching on your washing line and shitting on your jarmies. I still own three OCC tars and will probably pick up a few more despite their tendency to trifle with my sanity because they pack so much seductive visual punch and I like to throw dollars at ethical businesses. Just be aware that some shades seem to suffer varying levels of compatibility between their carrier oils and their dyes, leading to unacceptably short lifespans and practical fails- in my experience, anyway.
If lip tar performance issues worry you, I recommend the Nars Satin Lip Pencils; I'm applying Majella as I write this and it really kicks just as much arse as Vintage with none of the technical problems. Storage tip: stow lip tars in a cool, dark place and regularly shake and sort of squish them round their tubes to keep them happily emulsified.
Deep Love, Fixed On Drama, Nars Marjella