Kat Von D is offended at criticism of her ‘underage red’ lipstick shade

Kat Von D

I never watched Kat Von D’s tattoo-reality show but kept up with her in a gossip sense. She’s a serial dater of douchebags. She’s also a makeup junkie who created a line for Sephora. Kat is currently under fire for a lipstick shade, “Underage Red,” which she created seven years ago. The outrage isn’t new, but it’s notable that Kat has responded to the fresh rush of criticism. Kat posted a lengthy explanation to her Facebook page. As the sole creative force behind her makeup line, Kat “never expected people to understand” her thought process. Kat explains how people “misinterpreted” her inspiration. She’s not apologizing and won’t pull the shade.

For Kat, the Underage Red name evokes a “punk rock” nostalgia for her own teenage years of “female rebellion.” Kat understands why people are offended, but she’s also offended that people are offended. I’m not sure whether her explanation is helping or hurting. Some excerpts:

When naming a lipstick, my process may be different than other brand founders. For me, I can look at a shade and it usually evokes a feeling. Some names, of course, aren’t as sentimental and are more literal, but i remember clearly the day i named “Underage Red.”

“Underage Red” was one out of four lipstick shades that I released at the very start of the makeup line, seven years ago. It launched, alongside 3 other variation of red shades: “Hellbent,” “Misfit,” and “Lolita.” Out of those 4 shades, “Underage Red” was the matte, borderline-neon, fire-engine red.

I clearly remember wearing a variation of this shade when I was 16 years old. I also remember the feeling of wanting so badly to go see a specific concert at this age, and not being able to get in to the venue because I was underage. Back then, I was already deeply in love with punk rock music, and although in the eyes of many (including my parents), it may have been inappropriate for me to be wearing lipstick. But i did.

“Underage Red” is not a girly, pink shade. It is not a sophisticated, deep red either. It is an unapologetic, bold red. To me, “Underage Red” is feminine rebellion.

It has NEVER been a goal of mine to inspire sexualization of any sort, let alone promote a destructive lifestyle. These wild, and horrific accusations proclaiming that any aspect of my makeup line would ever promote the degradation of women, statutory rape, sexual behavior, human trafficking, underage drinking, or even idealization of fleeting youth, goes against everything I stand for. So, please excuse me if I find those articles and comments appalling and inaccurate.

If you read the word “underage” and you automatically jump to a disgusting conclusion, I ask you to perhaps question your own mind and thoughts. Consider the damage such negativity can actually cause, verses actually help.

So, NO. I refuse to sacrifice my integrity and creative freedom. NO. I will not be pulling “Underage Red” from my collection. And NO. This is not an apology.

[From Kat Von D on Facebook]

Kat finishes by saying that there are real problems in the world, so let’s stop wasting time with “pointless arguments.” Are you offended? I’m rolling my eyes but am not offended. Kat Von D is free to make money by selling an offensively labeled shade (or three) of lipstick. But we are free to call her out for capitalizing on said offensiveness.

Kat finishes by telling everyone that Underage Red is sold out (because long-time fans were worried and stocked up), but the shade shall return. I can’t work up any outrage here. Kat knew what she was doing when she named this shade. She can’t deny knowing the implications of the word “underage.” The word’s connotation can’t be nullified by nostalgia for teenage-concert days. Kat’s not stupid. She stuntqueened this shade name.

Kat Von D

Kat Von D

Kat Von D

Photos courtesy of Kat Von D on Facebook/Sephora, Fame/Flynet & WENN

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97 Responses to “Kat Von D is offended at criticism of her ‘underage red’ lipstick shade”

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  1. Izzy says:

    She looks like a Budget Cher wanna-be in that second picture.

    • NewWester says:

      More like a budget drag queen Cher impersonator that fell asleep with his make up on

    • Jules says:

      Her made in China make-up is just as budget.

      • wiffie says:

        Have you used her makeup?? It’s some seriously quality, high end stuff! Better shadows than urban decay and too faced. I think she did very well for herself. This is no wet n wild by Fergie. She has an amazing brand.

        Can’t apply it to her own face to save her life, I’ll give you that. But no made in China dollar store crap.

      • claire says:

        Uh, no. Her eyeshadow palettes are amazing. I’d take them over UD any day. They are high-quality, amazingly pigmented blendable stuff. She has a lot of issues, but selling great makeup isn’t one of them.

  2. Kaye says:

    That’s fine. I’m offended at Kat Von D.

  3. Lucrezia says:

    Hmm. I might’ve believed her – if one of the other shades wasn’t named Lolita.

    • Lucinda says:

      Exactly. I actually think that name is even more inappropriate because I don’t see anyway to explain how that one isn’t about underage sexualization.

      • Petrichor says:

        Totally. That was my first thought–people are offended by the connotations of “Underage Red” but not by “Lolita”?

      • Narak says:

        Maybe people don’t know the book by Vladimir Nabokov. I don’t find her make-up names offensive.

      • Petrichor says:

        I don’t find them offensive either, but in the context of the argument, I think it’s funny that people have glommed onto Underage Red while Lolita gets a pass.

    • Alarmjaguar says:


    • Listerino says:

      I was thinking the same thing. How can people not think what they’re thinking when underage red is being sold with another shade called Lolita. It’s wrong, but if people don’t like it they don’t have to buy it.

  4. Kiddo says:

    She looks pretty in the top photo: it was nicely shot by the photographer. But holy crap, that lipstick parched her lips. It looks like dry crayon.

    • Christin says:

      Actually, this may be ‘truth in advertising’. I tried one of her lipsticks a couple of years ago, because the color was about the best nude shade I’d ever found. However, it was dry, dry, dry.

      Edit: The shade I used had an oddball name as well — ‘Celebutard’. Think she changed the packaging, color names, etc., since then.

      • Threecutebabes says:

        I agree that Celebutard is hands down one of the best nude shades I’ve ever worn. Didn’t wash me out, but yes, on the dry side. I think that name actually had a basis for complaints and for being pulled. Not so much this one being covered.

  5. Sarah says:

    The woman dated Jesse James and went on and on about how great he was. Then he channeled his inner douche and she was all offended and hated him. So I am not going to take anything this woman says seriously. And no, I’m not going to buy her make up either. She’s a twit.

    • bettyrose says:

      Solid points. The lipstick is not to blame for this woman’s questionable life choices.

    • Size Does Matter says:

      Color me shocked that someone who dated Jesse James post Sandra Bullock and has tattoos on her face might make a questionable decision about a lipstick name.

      • Sarah says:

        @ Size Does Matter : Yes, I agree. It does all seem to be related in a strange way. Bad judgement in men, in tattoos, bad judgement in lipstick names. No, she won’t be getting an invite to my traditional family dinner at the holidays. God only knows what make up she would wear or who she would bring :)

  6. Sandra says:

    Ew gross guys, how can you make those associations. Its your own sick mind to blame. Btw, The next color in the line is Lolita. Dont pay attention to that lol

  7. HAD says:

    Okay wait – underage gets all the controversy but in the same line she just said she has a shade call Lolita? I could have seen her arguement – but the she also has a lipstick named after a famous story of abuse, so…

  8. LAK says:

    If we are going to be outraged by ‘underage’, shouldn’t we also be outraged by ‘lolita’?

  9. Lostara says:

    I agree – I don’t see a problem with the name either. And I don’t see a problem with the name “Lolita”. And I do not think of sexual or bad things hearing “Underage Red” or “Lolita” – I just consider them good names for lipsticks.

    And I totally agree with this part:

    “If you read the word “underage” and you automatically jump to a disgusting conclusion, I ask you to perhaps question your own mind and thoughts. “

    • OriginalTessa says:

      Underage for me evokes fake ID’s and sneaking into clubs and bars when I was 19 and 20. It’s only sexual if you make it that way.

    • bettyrose says:

      Exactly! Underage rebellion does not have to equal sexual exploitation. I think “try hard” red would’ve been funnier but lots of us romanticize our fake ID/wannabe badass days before life required a more sensible shade.

    • MC2 says:

      Hearing “Lolita” & jumping to a disgusting conclusion is normal since it was a book about pedophilia. Underage, whatever. But Lolita…..that is disgusting.

    • claire says:

      @OriginalTessa: Yep! Same here!

  10. Lucy2 says:

    I suppose Rebellious Red never crossed her mind? She knew the implications of the “underage” choice, but she obviously likes to shock for attention.

  11. Lilacflowers says:

    Somewhere, Sandra Bullock just rolled her eyes, laughed, then got happily along with her life.

  12. original kay says:

    Jay Manuel named a shade of his new blush (his new make up line) after his dog.
    It’s not in the least offensive, but it’s weird? his dog, for women’s make up?

    I can’t wear red anyway, but I also wouldn’t buy any lipstick called Lolita, or Underage red, or a blush named after a dog.
    So I guess the name does matter to me, because what are you going to say when someone asks what colour you are wearing?
    I went and looked at the 2 lipsticks I have in circulation currently. One is Estee Lauder (from the free gift bag) and it’s named Cassis. It’s nice enough, a winter colour. The other Is Heather Pink, from Marcelle, and it’s for every day (that I remember to wear litpstick, I usually don’t).

    • Alex says:

      Well, don’t leave us hanging….. what is the dog’s name?

    • Dońt kill me i'm french says:

      I don’t care about the name of color ( except if it’s really offensive)

    • original kay says:

      sorry! Bella

      Bella Blush, it’s called.

    • lady dee says:

      Original Kay,

      I’m sure you can wear a certain shade of red if you try a few! You just have to determine if you look better in orange based or blue based. If you look pretty in Cassis, I’m guessing blue red…Also, put moisturizer on your lips first.

  13. Dońt kill me i'm french says:

    i have a red lipstick named “Nefertiti”
    Is Nefertiti a racist name also?
    It’s just a name for a color of lipstick.

    • Kiddo says:

      Yeah, I mostly don’t care. Unless it’s something like ‘Newlywed Penis’. Although that would be exceptionally funny while relaying the name of the shade to a friend, WITH A STRAIGHT FACE.

    • Tifygodess says:

      @kiddo that’s amazing I would so buy that haha

    • mimif says:

      We call that Pud Pink.

    • pru says:

      @Kiddo, sounds like a perfect match to the nude/pink nail color I’m wearing right now, called My Very First Knockwurst.

    • Ursaline says:

      Yep, I’d be referring the Newlywed Penis shade to my 45 year old married mom friends just to see the looks and their reactions. Kiddo, you just made my day. :D

      And that red eye thing is awful. Like a combination of Clockwork Orange punk getting punched in the face for fashion blasphemy.

  14. sills says:

    Same here. When I was young, we had under-21 clubs that were also called “under-age clubs” and no one thought they were pedo trolling grounds or anything. The name just makes me think of that teenage phase where you want to be “grown up” so badly.

    So I guess I’m defending her, but I’ll show my old fogey prudishness and admit there is nothing that will ever make me not hate neck tattoos.

    • Tulip says:

      You MUST make this lipstick name happen Kiddo! It’s inspired. It…it is just everything at once-funny, happy, feminist,colourful, sexual…

      In all seriousness, some avant-guard lipstick company needs to make this happen. Between you and Dr Mantis Tobaggan on the Jessica Pare thread, Celebitchy is wonderfully irreverent today.

  15. Bridget says:

    I’m just amazed that her makeup pin has longtime fans.

    • jane16 says:

      Me too. I go to my local Sephora a lot, and they have never once tried to steer me towards it. I have heard from friends that it is second rate, and I’m just not interested in any skin care/makeup/ perfume that has a celebrity name attached to it. Years ago, Sephora gave me a lip gloss of Jessica whatshername’s and it gave me horrible swelling and rash. Ditto with Cindy Crawfords horrible eye cream. Both of these episodes necessitated trips to the dermatologist and prednisone. So if a product has Britney’s, or Justtins, or Pharrels, or Jessicas or this tatted up reality show persons name on it, I will not be buying or even sampling. No thanks. There are two many great brands created by people who are actually educated and working in those fields. My favorite skin care line is Caudalie, btw.

  16. ava7 says:

    What I wonder is, why is the name of a lipstick getting so much press…while Alexander Skarsgard’s new movie is not outraging people? I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve been following all the interviews and read about the book it’s based on. It’s about a 15 year old girl “exploring her sexuality” with her mother’s 35 year old boyfriend. Skarsgard has said he didn’t see his character as a bad guy, and that there should be more movies about young women exploring their sexuality. I’ve always been a fan of his, and I love Kristin Whig and couldn’t wait to see a film they are in together. But as someone who has close ties to stepfathers abusing underaged stepdaughters, it just makes me sick.

    • OriginalTessa says:

      Sounds like Fish Tank.

      • cr says:

        It’s based on Phoebe Gloeckner’s semi-autobiographical graphic novel from 2002, based on her experiences in 1976 San Francisco.
        ava, while I’m sorry for your experiences, I don’t see anything in either the book or the movie or the interviews or reviews actually advocating that teenage girls explore their sexuality by having sex with one of their mother’s boyfriends, or mid 30′s men in general. While this relationship is the primary sexual relationship, it’s not her only one. It was a fine line to tread with regard to the skeeviness of the relationship and I think that Heller decided to just put it out there as is.

      • Exactly. And Fish Tank was pretty messed up. Good film though but the subject matter, Fassbender played an ass. Which was weird because he didn’t seem bad until he had sex with Mia. I won’t judge anything until I’ve seen it. Synopsis isn’t enough.

  17. Miran says:

    A lot of her line is good but she still grosses me out

  18. Bethy says:

    Her explanation actually makes sense to me. Since I only know about this lipstick from the controversy, I made assumptions about the name based on that. Had I stumbled upon it in Sephora I don’t what I would have thought. I guess I would have taken it in the context of the other names. Lolita doesn’t help. I’m sure she knew there might be resistance to the names. I think she an “any publicity is good publicity” type. I doubt any of this will matter to her target market.

  19. Birdie says:

    Some people get easily offended and that is their right. I personally am not offended by a name for a lipstick. I think Tyga is a big fan of that shade.

    • cr says:

      “I think Tyga is a big fan of that shade.”


      It’s just a bit too young for DiCaprio or Cooper, though.

  20. Jaded says:

    All I can think of is she has a hella nerve wearing a cross.

  21. ISO says:

    Kat dresses horribly for her body, yeeesh make it stop. I would have agreed with her name explanation of not weren’t for Lolita as an alternative. PLUS urban decay did it all first and better. I really feel for her as jesse James was the dog crap that she stepped in and can never wash off- it’s virtually ruined her rep. Sad.

  22. Wren says:

    I can’t get too worked up about it either. It’s not a very sophisticated name, but from what I’ve seen she doesn’t seem to be a very sophisticated person.

    So, meh. It’s a lipstick name. Get over it.

  23. Reece says:


  24. Ok I could get behind ‘jailbait red’ lol. But the again I have a cheeky humor.

  25. LouLou says:

    I can buy her explanation of the Underage one even while believing she also absolutely knew the other interpretation of the name. She doesn’t want to admit that she played it both ways, fine. But Lolita? Gurl, please. There is no other interpretation to that name used as a product name. None. Straight-up jailbait/pedo fantasy.

  26. Lostara says:

    The common meaning of “Lolita” in the German language (translation to English by me with help from LEO.org):

    German dictionary: “Young girl, which appears childlike and seductive at the same time.”

    German dictionary of foreign words: “Seductively child-woman”

    As I don’t know the novel by Vladimir Nabokov, on which the above explanations are based, I don’t see offence in naming a lipstick “Lolita”. And, to be honest, I am quite sure that
    a) lots of people don’t even know the term “Lolita” and/or its meaning
    b) even fewer people know the novel in question.

    So – what is all the fuzz about? Why not name a lipstick “Lolita”? I really don’t get it…..

    As to “Underage Red”, see my earlier post and the responses to it, which all of them I agree to.

    • LAK says:

      The novel/film managed to encapsulate the sexual preference in that one word such that you don’t have to know the book or film in order to understand the reference.

      The name of the book/film has passed into common usage such that you don’t have to be familiar with the source material to get it.

    • Faith says:

      The book is pretty much a modern classic and is pretty well known its not like its an obscure novel. Its pretty offensive considering Lolita is about a man in his 40s having a sexual relationship with at the start of the book a 12 year old girl. Just because some people do not know the book does not make it any less disgusting.

  27. Penelope says:

    I had to remind myself who this attention-seeker even is.

  28. Nudgie says:

    I don’t mind it, but I think it would be more suited to “bet I can turn the religious right against the cool kids and get into a war that will sell this sucka out in a week or so. Then, I can move on to more important, global significant things like getting that piece-of-crap TV show I have back on the air.

    Then start dating Jus
    tin Bieber. (NOTE: to Promotions Department – send Scooter Braun a demo tape of “L.A. Ink” from 5 years ago – you, know, when I was actually hot and relevant!)

  29. Tracy says:

    I hate red lipstick no matter what it’s called, or who it’s on. Wearers always look like they’re trying want too hard, to me. And it’s too harsh on anyone over about 20. Yeah, you too, Kat.

  30. TW says:

    Was going along with her “logic” until her swipe at everyone’s “own thoughts.” Dreadful businesswoman. I sense the beginning of the end.

    • Lostara says:

      The “beginning of the end”? I don’t think so. I am reading quite regularly on make-up related accounts on Instagram – and people over there don’t care for lipstick names at all. Kat von D’s lipsticks are featured regularly (yes, even “Lolita” and no one gets their knickers in a twist over that name) and in a positive way. And to be honest, no offence meant, the opinions of the MUA’s are much more important to a cosmetic company than the opinions of some random gossip page or other pages not linked tight with the make-up world. The important ones, the ones who promote and buy her stuff just don’t care.

      Maybe, if I have time, I will check what the MUA sub on reddit.com has to say about that.

      And for a “dreadful businesswoman” she has more than one successful business go for several years, hm?

      • Dash says:

        Yeah her lipsticks and eyeliners are really highly regarded in the makeup world. She’s not going anywhere.

      • Nariah says:

        I don’t think but of her style, personality or taste in men however sheis a phenomenal artist and, to my shock, a great business woman. I’m a professional makeup artist and though I rarely use her makeup on clients, I have to give credit to the superior quality of her line. A line that does incredibly well for many years. The pigmentation is fantastic, consistently trendy yet quality makeup. I own almost her entire line that I have bought over the years. I love the names (lolita and underage red are not only great shades but as a rational adult I don’t find them offensive). No one says anything when I believe Urban Decay and others were selling colours names “gash” (slang word for vagina). Or smut. Or any number of other silly names. It keeps things interesting. Let’s lighten up a bit.

  31. Iheartgossip says:

    Who is she and what has she done to her face? Yikes!

  32. jwoolman says:

    We do use underage exactly as she says in her background story. Underage for clubs, bars, driver’s license, movies, buying cigarettes and beer, joining the military, signing a contract, etc. The reference to the ever-shifting age of sexual consent is only one meaning among many.

    I’m not actually bothered by the name Lolita either, it’s not really used in common language to refer to pedophilia but rather my image is of someone older – the German definition that someone gave fits pretty well. Tyga is not a pedophile, for example, his beloved is old enough to get married with parental consent and maybe without it in some areas of the USA. At one time, Kylie Jenner would be considered practically an old maid at 16 and 17. The vast majority of people who use the term Lolita never read the book, the term has taken on a life of its own, deal with it. Honestly, we’ll let preteens shoot Uzi’s but heaven forbid we admit teenagers can be sexual despite all those newly minted hormones intended by Mother Nature to get them pregnant early and often…. Besides, it’s sad that a nice name like Lolita always has negative baggage attached.

    • Veronica says:

      Lolita would probably be less problematic if the sexualization of the girl wasn’t a real issue in presentations of Nabokov’s story. Nabokov himself in original publications refused to put a girl on the cover explicitly because he didn’t want people presuming any sort of autonomy on the girl’s part in her exploitation. The fact that so many publishers and movie directors have bypassed that and turned her into a sex symbol is a reflection of how indoctrinated objectification of women’s bodies really is.

  33. Veronica says:

    I’m surprised it took her this long to respond to it. Most of the makeup blogs I visit have been discussing the unfortunate implications of the name for awhile. I get that it’s meant to refer to sneaking into shows and bars underage, it’s still not the smartest nomenclature.

    Edit: I am seriously shocked at how many people don’t know who or what “Lolita” is. We’re talking about one of the most influential novels of the 20th century.

  34. Pegasus says:

    To each their own, but I don’t “get” face tattoos. Unless someone is part of a tribe, and the tattoo is tradition, or ceremonial, or something to that effect. Outside of that, it just seems like a terrible idea. Can you imagine showing up at a job interview w/ all that on your face? I have no problem whatsoever w/ tattoos, I have 13 myself, and some of them are huge, but most can be covered in a pinch if need be. The face just seems so regrettable a spot….

    • lady dee says:

      Kat will never have to work for “the man” or “the woman” of corporate culture. She is a business woman who forces corporate to pander to her which is really “kick-ass”. Ergo creative face tatoos.. I agree with you, it’s kind of hardcore yet good for her in living her truth and vision. It’s neat.

  35. yep says:

    Im not offended about the names. As it is, I dont know any 13 year old that would wear that shade.
    Only a few fabulous women can wear “red”, and alas, I am not one of them.

  36. Melanie says:

    I could care less. I’m a makeup junkie and I swatch my arm like a crazy person when I go to Sephora. I buy cosmetics because of the color and texture. It’s all about the color to me. If it looks good, I’m buying it. The name is merely a way of identifying it in my stash. No one will know the name of my lipstick when I’m wearing it, so really, what is the problem?

    Years ago, Urban Decay had some pretty provacative names, pre LVMH buying them. I’m not sure if they still make all of them. “Gash” lipstick caused a bit of pearl clutching back in the late 90′s. A lot of their products reference drugs. What about Nars “Orgasm” and “Deep Throat”? They even had a nail polish called “Pussy Galore”.

    I’m no fan of her cosmetics, but it don’t see what the big deal is. She’s not the only one. There are many other names out there that could be considered just as offensive as “Underage Red” or “Lolita”. And “Lolita” isn’t going anywhere. It’s constantly sold out and is probably her biggest seller.

    • Anastasia says:

      I wear Nars Orgasm blush. Best color ever.

    • Lostara says:

      I think a main reason for all the backlash Kat is getting for that names is the simple fact that people can’t stand her. They are not willing to accept things from Kat’s line, while they give other companies a pass for same or similar things.

    • prettylights says:

      I’m a makeup junkie too and UD has plenty of ‘dirty’ names for the colors. Gash, 69, Naked, Uzi, Stash, Chronic, Perversion, Baked, Bender, Blunt, Mauie Wowie, Pistol, Roach, and Virgin are just the drug/sex /weapon related product names I can think of off the top of my head.

      Frankly I don’t care what she names her stupid lipstick. The name of a makeup shade never stops me from buying it if it’s a good product and the color I want. People will get pissed at anything these days.

  37. Tig says:

    @ Anastasia way up thread- I hear you re Nars! Great shade but the names!! I get marketing is all, but trying to remember whether you prefer Orgasm to Deep Throat is one of those retail moments you just have to grin and bear!

  38. shizwhat says:

    What bothers me is how she thinks she’s “art” and no one could understand her “creative process.” Yeah because there is just so much creativity hocking the rockabilly/lolita/punkrock/badgirl/tattoo image. Never seen that before.

  39. Fran says:

    Totally agree!
    I love the names, and I can see where she’s coming from. I have her shade in “Backstage Bambi” (which I love), and I do feel like I was in my teens all dolled up to see rock bands!
    I don’t particularly care for her, or her persona, but her make up is good, and the names appropriate!

  40. JenniferJustice says:

    “It has NEVER been a goal of mine to inspire sexualization of any sort, let alone promote a destructive lifestyle.”

    Bwaaahaaahaaaa. WTF is she talking about? Clearly dillusional!

  41. nikzilla says:

    Love her, hate her outfits.

  42. Grace says:

    She sounds stupid.