Lipstick With No Limits

Photography by Marvin Shaouni | Product Photographs: courtesy of The Lip Bar
Melissa Butler, founder of The Lip Bar, at the brand’s flagship store in Detroit.

“YOU’RE RUNNING THIS successful company — don’t you want to get married?” Yes, it’s 2021 and Melissa Butler, founder of The Lip Bar, is still answering that antiquated question with a question of her own: “Why can’t I have a dynamic love life and a dynamic career at the same time?”

In 2012, Butler departed her career as a Wall Street stockbroker to launch a cosmetics company that would challenge the very notion that such questions imply: that women and the beauty industry are monolithic. That to be a lover of makeup is to be disinterested in politics, social justice, and other substantive conversations at the forefront of our society. From its perch in the makeup department, The Lip Bar would be a brand that encouraged women to shatter these standards. “There are all these parameters that are set up for women,” Butler says. “So for us, it’s always been about challenging the standard as it relates to everything from makeup to voting. If you don’t like the representation — whether that’s not seeing enough diversity in the beauty category, or if you don’t like the way our country is run — you should be empowered enough to know that you matter enough to be able to make that change.”

With a line of products that complement a vast range of skin tones — the brand offers 16 (and counting) shades of nude lipstick and 26 foundation hues — The Lip Bar’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is evident. Butler has also launched initiatives, such as a partnership with Michelle Obama and When We All Vote, that encouraged voter registration in the 2020 election. And last June, Butler co-founded TheBlkPact, a nonprofit organization encouraging consumers to shop Black-owned businesses whenever possible. “We have to understand that as women, we have power even when the world is trying to convince us that we don’t,” she says.

It’s safe to say Butler has mastered the dynamic career part. The Lip Bar has grown to become an award-winning, celeb favorite sold online and at major retailers, such as Target, with new products in development. “My favorite product that we’re launching in February is this highlighting skin serum that you can apply to your face for that no-makeup-makeup look that just gives you a slight glow,” Butler says. And with her eyes set on a dynamic wedding day down the line, Butler knows just the product she’ll turn to. “My future wedding is going to be on an island, and it’s going to turn right into a party vacation. I’ll be wearing Boy Trouble. It’s a fiery red, so it’s so much fun and tropical and fits into that scenery I plan on getting married in — plus, it’s a fun play on words.”

To learn more, visit The Lip Bar’s Detroit flagship store or

Bridal Beauty Tips

Logistically speaking, if you’re getting your makeup done in the morning and planning to dance the night away, Butler says it’s important to choose products with staying power. “Our Quick Liquid Eye Shadows [$12 each] are really cool because once you put them on, they basically stay the whole day. It’s also the perfect eye shadow moment on a highly emotional day when you’re probably going to cry.”

Butler says The Lip Bar Skin Serum Foundation ($28) offers the perfect finish for a bride seeking a natural look on her big day. “Our foundation allows you to look like you. It has hyaluronic acid, so your skin will look vibrant and healthy.”

“I’m excited to see women starting to be more expressive on their wedding day,” Butler says. Rather than the traditional nude lip, Butler has enjoyed seeing women embrace bold reds, such as The Lip Bar’s Liquid Matte lipstick in Boss Lady ($13), for their big day. “People are taking a little bit more of a risk and showing their personality on their lips.”