The Real Reason Kat Von D Stepped Down From Her Eponymous Makeup Brand

Tattoo artist Kat Von D has never exactly been a watered-down celebrity. She has rocked a very bold look and attitude ever since she first burst onto the scene well over a decade ago. Her business ventures span from LA Ink , to a vegan shoe line, to various musical projects, with her beloved line of bestselling makeup being her most notable venture to date. Still, Von D recently walked away from the company, selling her shares and relinquishing control of the makeup brand. While she gave a detailed explanation for her departure, many fans have wondered if her many controversies also played a role in her big decision.

Kat Von D in all black holding a microphone
Kat Von D | Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images

Kat Von D’s makeup line is hugely popular

Kat Von D was already a presence in pop culture when she established her makeup line in the mid-2000s. Featuring cruelty-free products (Von D is an outspoken vegan), packaging designs drawn by the tattoo artist herself, and long-lasting formulas, the line launched to great fanfare. Fans loved the products and eagerly purchased signature items such as the inky black tattoo eyeliner and the matte liquid lipsticks. Eventually, the line expanded to include full-coverage foundations, setting powder, concealer, and a contour palette. 

The makeup line was incredibly personal for Von D, and she admitted that she “painstakingly micro-managed” the creation of the entire product line. In mid-January 2020, Von D abruptly announced she would be stepping away from her makeup company and sold all of her shares to the beauty conglomerate Kendo. The announcement came as a shock to her fans, although Von D expressed that her customers would experience a seamless transition and that the quality of the line would not suffer in the slightest.

Why did Kat Von D step away from her makeup company?

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This past year has been one of great change for me. As many of you know, I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy, launched my vegan shoe line, and am now busy prepping to release my long awaited album in the Spring, followed by an international tour! As much as I wish I could balance all of this, on top of continuing my makeup line, it has become clear to me that I just can’t do everything at the maximum capacity. It's hard to admit this, since I’ve always said “You can do everything and anything.” But I don’t think admitting one's limits is a bad thing. With that said, I’ve decided to sell my shares of the brand, turning it over to Kendo, my partners for the past 11 years. This was not an easy decision, but after careful consideration, I decided I wanted the makeup line to continue to thrive and grow, and I believe Kendo is primed to do just that. The transition for you, my loyal customers, will be seamless. In order to avoid any confusion with such a big change, Kat Von D Beauty will take a moment to rebrand itself, so you will start noticing the change from KatVonD Beauty to KvD Vegan Beauty. I'd like to thank my beloved fans+followers who supported my vision to create a brand that stood for compassion, true artistry, and challenged modern ideals of beauty — most of which I never could relate to. I was able to create a makeup line that made outsiders like me feel like we have a place in this “beauty” world, and gave myself and others the tools to express ourselves in our own unique way, whether it was embraced by the majority or not. And I just couldn’t have done any of this without you! Lastly, thank you for understanding+respecting my choice, as it was a difficult one to make, but one I am proud of regardless, and am confident that the team will continue the KvD legacy! Here’s to many, many more years of KvD Vegan Beauty!

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In her statement, Von D explained she was stepping away from her makeup line in order to focus on being a mother to her one-year-old son as well as continuing to develop her vegan shoe line and work on her budding musical career. Von D is preparing to release her debut album and plans to follow up the album’s release with an international concert tour. Still, the announcement left a lot unsaid, and many fans are wondering if there’s more to the story. 

Kat Von D is no stranger to controversy

For over a decade, Von D has been dogged by claims she is anti-Semitic. The rumors started in 2010 when she was dating motorcycle aficionado Jesse James. James was photographed in a Nazi hat and doing a Nazi salute; although Von D was not wearing similar gear, she was caught in the crossfire nonetheless. A few years after these rumors, she released a lip color titled “Selektion,” a word that is now taboo in Germany due to its associations with the Holocaust. Von D has denied the rumors and firmly states that she is accepting of all people and all religions. Still, some critics aren’t convinced.

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Happy Sunday from Baby Leafar and me!

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When Von D was pregnant with her son Leafar in 2018, she raised even more eyebrows when she claimed she didn’t plan on vaccinating her son. Legions of people publicly opposed Von D’s decision, flooding her social media pages with angry comments. Ultimately, Von D went back on her original plan and vaccinated her son, but as far as many of her followers were concerned, the damage was done. 

While the reason Von D gave for selling her makeup company shares might be just as she says, there is likely a wealth of other reasons behind her decision. It’s possible she is trying to distance herself from any future controversies with the brand and is tired of incurring the wrath of the public.