One of the best (and most fun) investments I've made this year are Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tars. I can't help but be reminded of mixing tempera paints in elementary school and discovering all the different colors you can create with just a handful of colors. OCC offers a wide range of colors in their Lip Tar line, and I bought 8 of these from Beauty.com* during their Friends & Family sale a couple months ago, including a blue (Rx), black (Tarred), and yellow (Traffic).
*Although I would advocate getting the products direct from OCC's site, Beauty.com offers free shipping at $25+ and often has coupons/codes. Disclaimer: I'm not a Beauty.com shill, I just like a good (better) deal when I see one.
Of course, while you can wear blue or green lip colors by themselves, the fun of these things is that they are meant to be mixed together. I bought the blue and yellow specifically to make other colors cooler or warmer, but you can wear many of their available colors alone without mixing with others (and without other people doing double-takes).
These tubes might be tiny, but the product is so concentrated and pigmented that you only need a small drop ("the tiniest bead", as their product description reads) to paint your lips with. If you're looking to make a pastel shade, then the white (Feathered) is necessary. (However, you often need a lot of the white to mix with the absolutely smallest amount of whatever color you're trying to make pastel. If you're looking to make lots of pastel shades, buy more than one tube of Feathered.)
I wanted a nice light pink, and because I also had a shocking hot pink (Anime), I mixed it with an equal amount of Feathered. A lip brush (or small eyeshadow brush as I have) is essential to mixing and applying Lip Tars. (You could use your finger, but that's a little too messy for my tastes. However, do NOT apply these things on your lips straight from the tube. You're just asking for a lipstick blowout at that point.) You see the amount of product I have on my brush above? That's already way too much for one set of lips.
This was the result of the first mix: it was a bit too cool for my skintone. Oh, well. Let's wipe it off and try again, of course. I've noticed that colors apply a little more lighter on the lips than on my palette, so I have to remember to adjust the colors to be a little darker.
I added a little more of Anime, a tiny amount of Tarred, and put a couple of swipes of the yellow (Traffic), and I got a warmer and deeper color this time.
That's a little better. The Lip Tars apply with a semi-matte/satin finish and have impeccable staying power. Even after wiping the product off, the residual pigments stay behind on your lips unless you're using an oil-based remover. They also have a (very brief) minty scent to them.
While the Lip Tars a lot of fun, I do have two warnings: The products tend to separate, and you can see the oils separate from the pigments in the tubes when you don't use them often. Try to mix it back while it's in its tube, and don't try to squeeze the product out on a palette and then mix. You'll often get more oil than pigment if you try that, and that ratio just doesn't mix together nicely. The second caveat is that depending how you store them, the pressure of the tubes causes the product to flow out very quickly if you're not careful. It causes quite a mess, and I try to squeeze the excess air from the tube before putting the cap back on to try to avoid the explosion the next time I open it.
The only bummer is that if you've made a custom shade that you love, it's a little difficult to tote it around. You could put the mixture in a small spill-proof container, but you should bring your lip brush or hope that your finger is steady enough to apply this highly concentrated mixture. You might want to invest in some empty mini lipgloss tubes if you're really keen on bringing it along with you.
I think that these have incredible value -- each tube is only $14.50, and since you only need so little and they are so versatile, I think it's worth picking a couple of these up.