Posted on

The Female Perspective: Underage Red: Classy, Creepy or a Waste of Time?

Welcome! This is a Tri-weekly blog by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!


Let me start today’s blog by saying this, I am not a huge fan of Kat Von D, I find her kind of annoying, a lot hypocritical and mostly fluff. That being said, I found out about this makeup controversy (yes, MAKEUP) the other day and felt strongly compelled to write about it. I even reached out to Ms. D herself (via Twitter) to ask if we could chat about it but haven’t heard anything back. So solider on I will!

Kat Von D is in trouble again!
Kat Von D is in trouble again!

First off, here’s the deal: Kat has a makeup land through Sephora, punk shades, tattoo coverup, etc, etc…all stuff that is very much Kat Von D. It’s expensive and I don’t pay huge bucks for makeup so I don’t own any of it and I have never even looked at it since I never find myself inside of a Sephora store.

Recently, Kat decided to name one of her shades of lipstick “Underage Red” – well, cue the uproar! People thought she was promoting violence towards underage girls, pornography, etc. So Kat went to social media (like we all do these days) to defend her name choices, here are her words (via Facebook) on the matter:

Oh look, that lipstick promotes creepy behavior...oh wait, CREEPS promote creepy behavior...my bad.
Oh look, that lipstick promotes creepy behavior…oh wait, CREEPS promote creepy behavior…my bad.

UNDERAGE RED.

I have never expected everyone to understand or see things the way that I do.

With that being said, I can understand why some have found reason to be offended in regards to my choice in naming a lipstick “Underage Red” – but I feel the need to correct those of you who have clearly misinterpreted the name itself, and the inspiration behind it.

I should mention first, that I am the sole creative force behind my brand. I am the one responsible for naming every single shade, so I don’t see why anyone should aim any backlash towards such a great company like Sephora, who ultimately has no creative input on such matters. Although I do sell exclusively through them, my brand is it’s own independent entity.

Now, 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.

I am fully aware of my overly expressive, poetic, and sentimental tendencies at times – especially when it comes to naming shades and collections in my makeup line. But for that, I will never apologize. Most names, whether inspired by my favourite bands, lyrics, personal muses and memories, are very close and dear to my heart.

Since day one, my number one goal when creating any beauty product was (and always will be) to provide the creative tools for self-expression and to empower those who choose to wear it.

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

Anyone who knows or follows me, is very aware of my personal lifestyle choices which include celibacy, sobriety, conscious living and [above feminism], human rights. Although, i would never force my views and opinions onto others, i most definitely find it offensive being accused of the opposite.

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.

Lastly, to my true fans and followers:

Thank you for your support, always. I ask that you don’t engage in arguing with those who may not agree, or understand. The truth is, there ARE real existing problems in this world, and the last thing we need is to lose focus in pointless arguments.

I also ask that you please not worry! Yes, “Underage Red” is currently sold out (I believe due to all the long time fans of this shade assuming I might discontinue it.) But rest assured, it’ll be back in stock as soon as possible for you.

With Love,
Kat Von D

Sephora: Expensive makeup and they get into trouble via Kat Von D, fun times for them.
Sephora: Expensive makeup and they get into trouble via Kat Von D, fun times for them.

Yeah, it’s a lengthy post but it makes a few really good points.

“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.

This shade of lipstick has been out since 2014, so why the uproar now? Why even make a huge fuss about the name of a lipstick? When you read her reasons behind the name as well as her description of the color it really all makes sense. I’ll be honest, when I read the names of shades of nail polish or any kind of makeup I typically shake my head in amusement and move on with my life. I don’t become offended because all it is is the name on a piece of makeup. Kat Von D isn’t going around proclaiming that underage sex and abuse is where it’s at, she’s simply reviving a feeling a nostalgia she felt when she saw the shade. Very simple.

One thing Kat Von D is, is a feminist, it can be hard to see beyond the barely-there outfits and wild makeup, but she’s someone who has always connected strongly with her feminine side and tried to do what is right by women (does she always succeed, no, neither do the rest of us humans). Another thing is that she doesn’t have a great history when it comes to naming her shades (Cue the outrage over her shade named, “Celebutard” which Sephora ultimately discontinued because it was offensive) and add to that,  she has another shade named “Lolita” and a few have asked if Kat has decided to create an entire “Sex Offender Line” of makeup.

As Kat says on one of her Facebook posts, “at the end of the day, it’s only a f-ing lipstick” and I think we all need to focus on that. The fact is, being angry over a lipstick name is a great way to avoid discussing topics that truly matter, namely the ones Kat has been accused of promoting such as sex trafficking, statutory rape, abuse, and more. Perhaps instead of becoming incensed by something innocuous (or stupid) that a celebrity does, we could become angry about things that actually matter. Such as the recent law in Indiana that was passed that clearly discriminates against gays. Maybe people should get in an uproar about that instead of jumping around angrily because a woman famous for her tattoo’s named her lipstick something risqué.

Besides all of that, the more we talk about it (and I’m aware of my guilt in this as well), the better she does. I mean hey, the shade sold out!

Either way, it gives us all something to think about, namely, what matters more; a lipstick or the world?

What do YOU think? Sound off in the comments folks!

4 thoughts on “The Female Perspective: Underage Red: Classy, Creepy or a Waste of Time?

  1. Underage Red is actually my favourite shade. I have two on the go at all times. Great post! I think the same about makeup names. MAC has an eyeshadow called “back door brown” so…you know. 😉

  2. Thank you for your thoughts J.C! I didn’t know that about MAC, that’s equal parts funny and disgusting!

  3. “Underage” could refer to any number of qualifiers. Admission to a concert or venue as she explained, consumption of alcohol or entry into a bar or pub, purchase of cigarettes or other smoking materials, admission to an R-rated movie, etc. etc. What does it say when the first thing the complainers think of is the age of consent?

  4. I agree, I think it says a lot about our society, that we rush to judgment on every thing, including make up color names. And when we rush to judgement, it’s often a rush to a place of depravity.

Leave a Reply