Melissa Butler Sparks Innovation & Beauty Ingenuity With New Complexion-Based Launch
Melissa Butler is a makeup pioneer. In 2012, when her beauty brand, The Lip Bar, was first launched, it was rare to find lip products bold enough to represent daring makeup enthusiasts, yet subtle enough to complement the range of skin tones for Black and brown customers. For The Lip Bar, the mission was clear: challenge the status quo within the industry and increase visibility for Black women to be seen and understood as their own standard of beauty.
When she first launched her widely popular lipstick line, Melissa was building her plane in the sky at a time where most of the conversations around diversity and inclusion within the beauty industry were still just faint chatter. In 2015, Melissa was coming off of the public "redirection" of her, now viral, Shark Tank appearance. What some have deemed as a moment of rejection, ultimately proved to be a lesson in preparation for life's turning points, "When we had all the love and excitement from Shark Tank, I didn't know what to do with it. We didn't have the proper email flows, we weren't running any ads. I didn't know how to monetize it."
(photo: The Lip Bar)
"When we had all the love and excitement from Shark Tank, I didn't know what to do with it. We didn't have the proper email flows, we weren't running any ads. I didn't know how to monetize it."
Although Shark Tank served as an opportunity to generate awareness for the brand, it's not what Melissa attributes to The Lip Bar's initial growth. While on the show, she experienced harsh criticism from the panel of investors who weren't keen to the vision of her brand. In just five years since the episode aired, the foresight of The Lip Bar's collection of vibrant lipstick colors has proven to be a classic example of innovation before its time. But everything comes back around, and in true full-circle fashion, the brand was able to remain nimble while challenging trends and setting new markers for beauty ingenuity.
Now, Melissa continues to revolutionize the beauty world with the newest addition to her expanding "Fast Face" product line, the Quick Conceal, Caffeine Concealer. In a world where many brands are exploring the diversification of their complexion products with 20-50 shade rollouts, this 6-shade collection of brightening concealers challenges the notion of whether more is actually beneficial for the customer.
(photo: The Lip Bar)
"Everyone is probably going to think we're crazy for launching 6 concealers," Melissa jokingly shares about The Lip Bar's push to simplify the color-matching process for its customers. "The reality is that a lot of brands are launching 20+ shades of concealer but we've learned that it becomes more intimidating for the customer." At its core, The Lip Bar is all about streamlining the makeup process and eliminating the guesswork. Melissa's approach to complexion is all about understanding what universally works for each complexion family so her customers can get their desired look with no expertise needed.
Now more than ever, the attention has been brought to what brands are actually doing to create lasting change for their underrepresented customers. "I'm understanding that in time, things change, the customer's needs change. My job as the leader of the organization is to make sure that I'm always serving the customer." As universal beauty standards advance to be challenged and reimagined, Melissa continues to lead by making space for Black women in the beauty space to be seen as their whole and authentically beautiful selves.
"I'm understanding that in time, things change, the customer's needs change. My job as the leader of the organization is to make sure that I'm always serving the customer."
The inspiration within the formulation.
When she began formulating ingredients for The Lip Bar's newest and highly-requested concealer, Melissa stayed true to the brand's vegan and cruelty-free methodology by infusing avocado and macadamia oils for hydration and caffeine to awaken the under-eye area. "People take caffeine in the morning as religion because that's going to be the one thing that gets them through the day. This concealer is going to awaken your morning and beauty routine because of the caffeine and its brightening effects."
(photo: The Lip Bar)
As an on-the-go entrepreneur, Melissa understands the importance of creating products that make life easier for her customers. The Lip Bar's "Fast Face" philosophy and complexion-based shopping has informed their launches, making the Caffeine Concealer the perfect addition to amp up your morning routines. "It's close to your complexion to provide coverage for whatever blemishes you might have and blends into the skin for a buildable, sheer to medium coverage. "
On what it’s like being a Black business owner in the age of collective uprising.
June was a busy month for The Lip Bar. In fact, according to Melissa, "It was one of the best months for us in The Lip Bar's history." However, the hypervisibility that The Lip Bar and that many other Black-owned brands launched a wider conversation around why "Buying Black" is less of a momentary trend and more of a long-term fight for economic liberation. "I don't want charity dollars. I want life-long customers."
(photo: The Lip Bar)
(photo: The Lip Bar)
"I don't want charity dollars. I want life-long customers."
In the age of social media, our collective attention span is constantly being pulled in different directions, so much that it has become increasingly important to differentiate trends from long-lasting movements. After witnessing the hypervisibility of Black-owned brands peak during the month of June, Melissa saw the need for a space where Black-owned businesses could be easily accessed in order to drive economic empowerment within the Black community. This motivated Melissa to co-found The BLK Pact, a dictionary of Black-owned businesses for people to pledge their allegiance to, reducing the economic deficiency and growing the economic empowerment within the Black community.
This initiative informs individuals on not just how to support Black-owned businesses, but what's at stake if they don't. "There's some alarming statistics out there, one of which says by 2053, the median household wealth could reach zero for Black households. So I know how important it is to make sure that we're focusing on supporting Black-owned businesses, but more importantly, it can't be a trend."
Conversations around diversity and inclusion are being reshaped to go beyond just making products to meet a quota. The goal is for the support of Black-owned businesses to be woven into the fabric of our community and to build awareness through information sharing. "I want to make sure we're going in with intention and longevity in mind. That has been the most helpful and has inspired people to continue on that journey."
To purchase your own Quick Conceal, Caffeine Concealer, click here. And for more of Melissa, follow her on Instagram @melissarbutler.
Featured image courtesy of The Lip Bar.
- How Lip Bar Founder Melissa Butler Went From 'Shark Tank ... ›
- The Lip Bar's New Fresh Glow Launch Reminds Us That We Can ... ›
- Dulce Candy Ruiz Quits YouTube - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- The Lip Bar Founder Melissa Butler, Boss Up - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- Meet The Lip Bar 's Young, Black and Flawless Founder • EBONY ›
- The Lip Bar Launches Fresh Glow Bronzer-Blush Duos for Every ... ›
- The Lip Bar Launches Fresh Glow, a Bronzer-Blush Duo for Every ... ›
- The Lip Bar Just Launched 5 New Products And They Aren't Lipsticks ›
- How Melissa Butler Launched the Lip Bar - Lip Bar Products at ... ›
- The Lip Bar - Challenging the Beauty Standard ›
Aley Arion is a writer and digital storyteller from the South, currently living in sunny Los Angeles. Her site, yagirlaley.com, serves as a digital diary to document personal essays, cultural commentary, and her insights into the Black Millennial experience. Follow her at @yagirlaley on all platforms!
Black women are not a monolith. We all are deserving of healing and wholeness despite what we've been through, how much money we have in the bank, or what we look like. Most importantly, we are enough—even when we are not working, earning, or serving.
Welcome to Black Girl Whole, your space to find the wellness routine that aligns with you! This brand-new marketplace by xoNecole is a safe space for Black women to activate their healing, find the inspiration to rest, and receive reassurance that we are one small act away from finding our happiness.
Want to discover where you are on your wellness journey? You don't have to look far. In partnership with European Wax Center, we're bringing you a customized wellness quiz to help you up your wellness game. Answer our short series of questions to figure out which type of wellness lover you are, what you need to bring more balance into your life, and then go deeper by shopping products geared towards clearing your mind, healing your body, and soothing your spirit.
Ready to get whole? Take our quiz now!
Man, if I could track down the Black woman’s back that I saw about a month ago on somebody’s social media platform, just so you could see what (partially) inspired me to pen this piece, I promise you that I would. Between how toned she was and her completely flawless skin, it reminded me of a conversation that some people and I semi-recently had about one of the most unsung sexiest parts of the male and female body: the back.
I’m not proud of it; “it” being the fact that it really wasn’t until I got into my 40s that I even started to care about my back and its needs — on any level, really. However, now that I am more aware and far more grateful for it, I have become more intentional. And that has, as a direct result, caused me to feel more comfortable and confident in wearing certain items that reveal more of my back than I used to back in the day.
You know, it really is kinda wild that, even though many of us take great measures to keep our butt looking great, it’s like we totally overlook the fact that it’s hard for folks to notice it without seeing our back in the process. So, for cosmetic and health-related reasons, if you know that you’ve been neglecting that part of you, here are 15 things that you can do to bring some (more) sexiness (and comfortability) to that particular area of your body.
Starting and ending with two Black sistahs who can serve as some firsthand inspiration and motivation. #SALUTE
We not skipping back day 🦾💚 #fittok #blackgirlworkouts #backdayworkouts #fyp
1. Invest in a Back Washer and a Back Roller
If any of you are considering taking a yoga class (or staying in one), let back care be a huge motivator. Boy, no matter how often I am told that I don’t look my age, if there’s one thing that will confirm that I’ve earned each and every year, it’s my decline in flexibility — and yes, that makes giving my back the kind of thorough skincare that it needs pretty challenging.
Something that has helped immensely is investing in tools that are specifically designed to reach my back. One is an exfoliating back washer (like this one here), and the other is a back roller that’s designed to apply different skin products (like this one here). Both have made the previous stress and strain of trying to reach all areas of my back a total thing of the past. Both are also some of the best self-care decisions that I have ever made.
2. Apply Oil-Free Products
You’ve probably heard before that pimples are (typically) the result of an overproduction of sebum (an oily substance that your glands naturally produce in order to keep your skin moisturized) that will sometimes mix with bacteria and dead skin cells and clog up your pores. Since it can be somewhat easy to neglect your back, this is where the term “bacne” — back acne — comes from. If you naturally have oily skin or you don’t want to add to the sebum issue on your back, try and go with skincare products that are either oil-free or water-based. Byrdie has a list of oil-free washes here. Allure has a list of water-based moisturizers here.
3. Try Some Pimple Patches
I can’t believe at my age that I’m still dealing with period pimples (check out “7 Natural Remedies For Hormonal Acne”), yet…here we are. And although I will be the first one to say that I was skeptical about pimple patches, if you’ve got a whitehead or a bump that seems to be full of pus or water, those suckers really do work (Mighty Patch is the brand that I personally use). They really will suck the gunk out, and you really will see a cloudy circle on your patch where the hydrocolloid has turned it all into a gel-like substance so that you see less inflammation and you’re less tempted to pick.
I’m saying all of this to say that if you’ve got a hot date coming up and there’s a zit on your back that you need to dissolve ASAP, so long as it’s not a blind pimple, a pimple patch (if you leave it on for 6-8 hours or so) can do wonders! No joke.
4. And/Or Some Salicylic Acid Pads
While we’re on the topic, something else that can help with not only pimples but callouses, corns, dandruff, and even psoriasis is salicylic acid. It’s a type of acid that’s designed to exfoliate the skin pretty effectively. As a bonus, it contains anti-inflammatory properties, too. Something that I really like about salicylic acid is it not only works at clearing up breakouts faster, it can also help to keep them from forming in the first place.
So, you definitely should have some of these skin pads in your arsenal — for your back, your face, and that corn that may be on one of your pinky toes (just sayin’).
5. Consider a Chemical Peel for Any Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH)
I’ve been doing at-home chemical peels for a hot minute now. I’ll be sharing my experience with them in another piece. For now, what I will say is learning that there is a significant difference between actual acne scars and what is known in the expert skincare world as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation has been a real game-changer for me.
Long story short, while an acne scar tends to do long-term damage to your skin (sometimes to the point where only a dermatologist can help), post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is the dark spots that are oftentimes left behind once a pimple goes away. Once I learned this, the approach to my skin has been a bit different — and yes, chemical peels have become a big part of that. That’s because, now that I know that I’m looking to even my skin tone and not actually alter the structure of my skin, chemical peels have helped to accomplish my actual goal, not just on my back but anywhere a dark spot (usually from a pimple) pops up.
I can’t speak for every company; however, I will tell you who I’ve been rolling with: it’s called Perfect Image. They’ve got peels at different concentration levels (start at 10 percent and build up; 30 and especially 50 percent are where the big kids play), their products are affordable, and I’ve seen some real changes in the appearance of my skin since I’ve been using them. Anyway, just something else to keep in mind if you want a clear-looking back…including when it comes to the evenness of its complexion.
6. Make Sure Your Bras Fit
Although it continues to be somewhat of a debatable topic, there is more and more data that is being released about the fact that, on some levels, it can actually be more beneficial to go without wearing a bra (and most certainly without wearing one all of the time). Still, if you’re someone who prefers the extra lift that they provide, please make sure that your bras fit well. It’s a fair thing to mention since it still appears to be that almost 80 percent of women are continuing to wear the wrong size (women are also keeping bras for too long; you should be getting 4-6 new ones on an ANNUAL basis).
Why does this matter when it comes to your back? Well, remember the zits that I need pimple patches for? Usually, they come from either my bra straps or the back parts of my bra — and the more that your bra is digging into your skin, the more likely those pores are going to clog up and wreak total havoc on your skin.
7. Get a “Back Facial” Once a Season
Even with all of the things that you can do at home to keep your back looking lovely, nothing beats the support of a professional aesthetician. My waxer happens to be a licensed one, and when I shared with her some of my personal back concerns, she recommended that I get a professional back facial once a season (four times a year) — and it has made all of the difference in the world. She exfoliates, removes blackheads, applies a chemical peel, massages, and deeply moisturizes it. I can always see and feel the difference, for weeks later, after getting a back facial. It’s always been a wise move.
8. Watch Your Hair
The sebum that comes from your scalp is designed to trickle down your hair shaft; that way, your hair is able to remain soft and moisturized. Due to the super curly texture that a lot of us have, oftentimes, we have to replenish the moisture that our strands do not receive by applying a variety of hair products. Well, when you wear your hair down (and it’s got some length to it), all of that stuff on your strands can get onto your back and start to clog up your pores.
Not only that, but if you wear long extensions (including braids or twists that require extensions), the friction from the hair can irritate the skin that’s on your back as well. That’s why you should try to wear your hair up as much as you do down and definitely give your back some extra TLC on the “wear it down” days — just to be on the safe side.
9. Get Some Dumbbells
Now that we’ve got a lot of cosmetic points about your back out of the way, let’s talk about why I started and ended this article off with a video of a Black woman whose back is truly sexy AF. Y’all, there is no way around the fact that a huge part of what makes their backs look the way that they do is that they partake in a regular and consistent exercise routine. And the reason why getting some dumbbells to work out with is a good idea is that they are a convenient form of exercise equipment that can help you to strengthen your heart, further develop your balance and coordination, gain muscle, and lose weight. So, if you want to tone your back, cop yourself two of ‘em.
As far as what size/weight to get, Women’s Health has an article that can guide you here. And when it comes to the kind of exercises that you should do with your dumbbells that will help you to target your back, even from the comfort and convenience of your own home, I found some helpful YouTube videos (that feature women) here, here, and here.
10. Focus on Your Core
People who have a six-pack don’t just look great in a bathing suit; they are also doing certain exercises that support their lower back. I know this because working on your abs means that you’re strengthening the core of your body — and that always helps your spine to remain nice and strong. I found a brotha on YouTube who has a beginner’s video for working on ab muscles; you can check it out here.
11. Master a Few Different Yoga Positions
You can read articles on our site like “The Unexpected Lessons Yoga Taught Me About Life,” “5 Best Yoga Poses For An Emotional Release,” “I Took A Yoga Class & Proved To Myself That Yoga Is For Plus-Sized Women Too,” “The 5 Yoga Poses That Will Improve Your Sex Life,” and “7 Yoga Stretches To Relieve Your Lower Back Tension” to get a feel for how much of a yoga fan that we are in this space.
Well, when it comes to your back, specifically, yoga reduces tension, increases flexibility, tones, improves breathing, and strengthens your core. Positions that will help to accomplish all of this? The Cobra. The Cat-Cow. The Bridge. The Half Lord of the Fishes. And the always popular Downward-Facing Dog.
12. Avoid Inflammatory Foods
I recently read an article that said, “All processed foods can cause inflammation.” And while all inflammation is not bad, when it’s at excessive levels, it can contribute to all sorts of health issues, including diabetes, obesity, and depression. Inflammation can also lead to back discomfort. That’s why it’s important to exercise, be super picky about what mattress you choose, and pay attention to your diet because there are certain foods that will trigger more inflammation in your system than you need.
13. Take a Glucosamine Supplement
Something that tends to fade over time (meaning, as we age) is cartilage. Since it’s the type of elastic tissue that supports our joints and our spine, this is definitely something that we should proactively care about. A supplement that can assist in this area is glucosamine. If you’ve never heard of it before, it’s a substance that’s a natural building block for the cartilage that is already in your system.
Since it can also help with reducing inflammation, treating glaucoma, and even helping to relieve the symptoms that are directly associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you should discuss with your doctor if it’s something that you should add to your healthcare regimen. It could be just what your back has been looking/waiting for.
14. Keep Your Sheets Clean
You would think that this one would go without saying, yet after reading an article that said that people, on average, only change their bed sheets every three weeks or so (what in the world?!) — listen, you shed way too many dead skin cells and sweat (and possibly have sex) too much throughout the night to not be putting new bedding down on a weekly basis — not just for obvious hygienic reasons but to keep your skin great-looking too.
While we’re on the topic, make sure that you wash with the kind of detergent that is gentle on your skin. Some people are so busy looking for something that smells spring fresh all week long that they don’t realize it’s the direct cause of their itchy and irritated skin.
15. Sleep “Right”
Posture is always gonna be important. Full stop. Yet if a part of the reason why it’s hard for you to keep your back the way it’s supposed to be is that you’ve got lower back discomfort going on, it could be due to the fact that you’re not sleeping in a way that best supports that particular part of your body.
If you want to “align your spine,” many health experts say that it’s best to sleep on your back, sleep on your side with a pillow in between your knees, or get into the ever-so-comfortable fetal position. If you apply this gem (along with the other back-themed tips), you and your back will be walking more in agreement than ever. Pardon the pun but…straight up. #wink
sexyback no JT #backgainz #gymtiktok #gymgirlsoftiktok #blackgirlfitness #foryoupage #fyp #doritosduetroulette #upperbodyworkout #blackwomentiktok #girlswholift #musclemommy
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by Peter Griffith/Getty Images