This an updated post of an article and interview I did back in May 2014, and re-posting in honor of The Lip Bar’s 9th anniversary! The brand shares a birthday with me! I would say about 90% of the content is the same. I just cleaned up a bit! I also added some more photos.
Courtesy of YouTube, not only can aspiring make-up artists and aficionados alike post how-to’s, from perfecting that much sought-after and imitated cat-eye to sharing their thoughts and testings on new cosmetic products on the market, today you can even find tutorials on creating your own beauty items right in your kitchen.
So while Melissa Butler didn’t document her days of trial and error with the ingredients that would become, or better yet create, The Lip Bar; she did exactly that when while still actively involved with her career in finance as a post-grad. Whilst mixing, she soon felt that her true calling was to work and innovate in the beauty industry.
In 2011, Butler independently launched her own line of cruelty-free and good for your skin lipsticks The Lip Bar. Butler also made the decision to think outside of the usual box of lip colors to sell, such as hues from the pinks and reds family, and choose to give some shine to unconventional ones like turquoise (“Kamikaze”), midnight blue, and lavender.
(Since 2011, bolder colors have found a bit more acceptance outside of the rave scene, it’s still wild to some to see women wearing colors straight out of a Warhol!)
On May 16, The Lip Bar teamed up with Brooklyn’s Polish Bar nail salon for their #lipsandtips event that with an admission price, guests were treated to a manicure, a NCLA Nail Wraps package and a Lip Bar lipstick. The last two you could select from a few options available.
Butler was live at the event and I was able to get a few minutes of her time, and ask about how she envisioned The Lip Bar. In following her brand for some time, I include Butler as a part of a sparkling cabal of women right now leading their own businesses and inspiring others to do the same.
P.S. Butler was recently on The Bethenny Show and after their talk together, she received a check from the show towards her brand, The Lip Bar! Congrats!
UPDATE: The Lip Bar, which has expanded into other cosmetic items, is now sold at Target, Walmart, and the brand has a flagship store in Detroit, Michigan! The brand also had a capsule collection with singer Justine Skye.
Below is our Q&A
Q: I re-watched your interview with Hello Beautiful from about two years ago and you mentioned how you looked up the same ingredients that other companies used for their lipsticks. Do you really like being this kind of a makeup scientist, or you kind of became one because you had to?
A: I actually don’t have a chemistry background! I use to work in finance. When I decided to create this company, I knew that I didn’t have the expertise in that area, so yes, I did start looking at the most popular brands in the world and seeing what they were using and what they did. And, when I would read the ingredients, I would immediately look to use what the ingredient did and if it was synthetic, if it was plant-based or created in a lab. From that point, I was just like, “This is stupid. I don’t want to use any [ingredients] that were used in a lab or were synthetic”. And so, with that being, I was like, “Well, if this does this, I’m sure I can find a natural substitute to kind of re-invent whatever this product is doing”. Pretty much, all lipstick is made out of the same basic ingredients. All lipsticks have a wax, an oil and a pigments. So I wanted to make sure all of our oils, waxes, and pigments were the best that we could possibly find.
Q: What are your personal favorite colors from The Lip Bar? I know you have so many…
A: That’s really hard because we have…everything is seasonal, so every few months we have new colors, so, I feel every single color once we have it is a new favorite. Like with the first launch, we had this color called “Tequila Sunrise” and that was my absolute favorite! I wore it to death! And then it became “Bahama Mama”, and then “Purple Rain”, and so it’s safe to say that all of them are my favorites because I go through so many matches to get to that one color. So it’s not like I make it and it’s like, “Okay. This is our pink”. It’s like I make a tons of samples, and then I say “This is the one” because I absolutely love it. So every single lipstick that we have, I love that color.
Q: Yeah, because you have that one that’s called “Dark and Stormy”…
A: That’s our most popular one. We’re going to have to bring that back. People still ask us for that color. Everyone loved it.
Q: Who or what are your beauty inspirations or icons?
A: I feel, like New York City. I feel like when you look at New York, it’s a very bold and brave place where people fee like they come here and be themselves. So, I don’t necessarily feel like it’s a person. Just being in New York inspires me to keep going and giving women that medium of self-expression.
Q: What you think it is that holds people, or women, back from wearing bold and dramatic colors? Because it seems like they want to…
A: The media. It’s the media. I don’t think that women “want to” but they are conditioned to believe that women can only do this certain thing. And I think that women are often in this little box because it’s like, everyday we are being told what we need to look like in order to be considered beautiful. Bright colors are a very new thing, and so, people aren’t used to it. [It’s a] “She can wear that, but I can’t wear that” kind of thing. So, women have that idea and women need to just be comfortable with themselves and just grab life by the balls and just go for it.