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The Founder and CEO of The Lip Bar Has Mastered a 7-Minute Morning Routine

Beauty maven Melissa Butler talks beauty rituals, self-care, and creating a beauty brand built on inclusion.

melissa butler of the lip bar

Welcome to Beauty Around the Clock, Marie Claire's weekly peek into the daily lives of some of the most game-changing women in their industries. Ever wonder how they get it all done in a day? Here's your answer.


You may recognize The Lip Bar for its bold liquid lip color range. But the vegan, cruelty-free brand has so much more to offer. "I was frustrated with the beauty industry—its lack of inclusivity, its lack of originality, excessive amounts of chemicals, high price points, all of that," says CEO and founder Melissa Butler, who left a Wall Street job in 2012 on a personal mission to do better. "Instead of complaining, I decided The Lip Bar would be the solution. I wanted to create a company with high quality products for all complexions in beautiful packaging, and at an affordable price. What we’ve evolved into is a company that makes makeup easier because over the years, it's become way too complicated." Eight years later, with a stint on Shark Tank along the way, Butler has grown the brand into a full clean makeup range that celebrates inclusion. Its newest launch is a collection of caffeine-infused concealers exclusive to the brand's site and Target stores nationwide. Below, the beauty maven shares a 24-hour snapshot of how she gets it all done.

Rise and Shine

I wake up between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m. I don’t set alarms unless I have a flight. Instead, I allow my body to tell me when it’s had enough sleep. First thing I do when I'm at my best is meditate and journal. Otherwise, I check my phone.

Morning Maintenance

For skincare, I use a cocktail of products. I might start with Rosen Skin Care’s Super Smoothie Cleanser or Kiehls Ultra Facial Cleanser. Then I add in the Propolis Essence from Skin Food followed by Sunday Riley’s Good Genes and I finish with an oil or a moisturizer. Last but not least, I moisturize my lips with Minimalist, a clear gloss from The Lip Bar. It takes me a maximum of seven minutes to get ready. That includes doing a mini version of The Lip Bar’s Fast Face Kit. I put on our Quick Draw 2-sided Brow, our Minute Finish Face Palette, a lip and I’m out the door. I created Fast Face to support the lack of effort I want to exert in my morning beauty routine.

Hair Help

In quarantine, I've been so lazy with my hair. I've been getting protective styles like braids so that I don't have to think about it. Four hours in a braiding chair can give me four weeks of hair freedom. Worth it! If I'm wearing my hair straightened with slight curls, I pin my hair up at night into a loose finger-curled bun. In the morning I just let it down and my curls are still intact!

Signature Look

A red lip, orangey cheeks, bronze highlighter, stud earrings, with pin-up type voluminous hair. My cheeks and highlighter come from my fave lip bar product. The Minute Finish Face palette in the shade Stuntin'.


Power Start

Every morning I make apple cider vinegar tea. It’s great for pH balance and digestion. I’ve been drinking it daily for years. Lately, my breakfast has been smoked salmon and fruit.

Fitness Routine

If it doesn’t happen as soon as I’m out of bed, it’s not happening. I love bootcamp classes with a strength and cardio combination. In quarantine, bike riding has been my jam. I ride around 10 miles per morning. It’s a fast but peaceful ride.

Wellness Practice

The one thing that keeps me grounded is connecting with nature. It reminds me of how big the world is and how everything has a purpose. I go into nature, I get super grateful and I journal. It really clears my mental space and helps me get hyper focused.

Quarantine Reflections

Oftentimes, I block out some of the trauma and drama to protect my mental health. I don’t want to live in a constant state of worry. It can be debilitating. But recently, I’ve taken a different approach. I stopped thinking about me and started thinking about how I can fix the cause as opposed to avoiding the effect. I started an organization called The Blk Pact with the goal of helping to drive economic empowerment in the Black Community.

Signature Scent

Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille—very masculine and warm.

Worth It

Acupuncture! I had knee injury and it really released the pain after just a few sessions.

Cheap-But-Chic

The The Lip Bar's Bawse Lady. It's $13 and it's the best red on the planet because it works on every single skin tone. Everyone needs a power red.

Beauty Icon

Phylicia Rashad

Career Advice

Just keep going. As long as you’re in the game, it doesn’t matter how many losses you take, what matters is how much you learn. I’ve learned so much from all of my jobs. My first gig was at McDonald’s. My last gig was on Wall Street. From both experiences, I learned that emotional intelligence is the key to life.

Business Beginnings

I was frustrated with the beauty industry—its lack of inclusivity, its lack of originality, excessive amounts of chemicals, high price points, all of that. So instead of complaining, I decided The Lip Bar would be the solution. I wanted to create a company with high quality products for all complexions in beautiful packaging, and at an affordable price. What we’ve evolved into is a company that makes makeup easier because over the years, it's become way too complicated.

Bedtime Beauty

Nighttime skin is all about pampering for me. I wash my face with Avya’s Gentle Cleanser, followed by La Mer’s Micellar Water, and a sheet mask (I got so many when I went to South Korea last year). I roll the sheet mask on with a jade roller, leave that on for 15 minutes and finish by moisturizing with Urban Skin Rx’s Mega Moisture Illuminating Night Cream then pressing some Undefined Beauty’s CBD Glow Elixir into my face.

For my hair, I just put on a scarf. Super low maintenance. If my hair is feeling dry, I’ll massage a dime-sized amount of Naturaclious’ Spanish Almond Regrowth Oil into my scalp (it smells delicious) then do the scarf.

Bedside Essentials

Lip Balm, Beau Candle from Lit Brooklyn and water.

Lights Out

Typically 11 p.m. to midnight.


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