More and more beauty brands are beginning to listen to their customers by expanding their collections and campaigns to include a wide variety of people and skin tones. But one brand in particular is taking inclusion to a new level. Lip Bar featured a black Muslim model in their newest campaign, and the move is incredibly noteworthy.
The Lip Bar, which is coming to Target this season, is a black-owned beauty brand that is all about lip products, providing customers with liquid lippies, cream bullets, and glass-like lip glosses. Melissa Butler, the woman behind the brand, began her business not only as a way to share her love of a bold lip, but to challenge traditional beauty standards through her inclusive imagery, products, and pricing. Knowing that beauty isn't linear and can be found in every type of skin color, size, religion, and aesthetic, Butler took special care to craft her brand to reinforce that idea.
"I do this because I grew up doubting my own beauty and today, I see people transforming to fit into society's linear idea of what beauty is. So I'm here to say, you are enough, just the way you are!" Butler shares on her website.
But now, The Lip Bar is taking that promise one step further with their #ThisIsBeauty campaign, which invites followers to tag themselves wearing their favorite lippies for a chance to be featured on the brand's Instagram. The whole idea is that the customer is the model, where Butler wrote on one of her Instagram posts, "who needs models when our babes are total baddies?" And seeing how one of the driving goals of the business is to shine a spotlight on women who are often times forgotten by the mainstream beauty industry, Butler chose Ashley Blevins as her first feature, a curvy black Muslim woman.
"The world portrays beauty in a very specific way and we’re tired of it," Butler shares with Bustle when discussing the inspiration behind the campaign. "We believe that beauty is in everyone and we celebrate the beauty of every person, no matter her race, religion, or appearance."
#ThisIsBeauty aims to show women that they are enough by reaching out to everyday customers and highlighting what makes them unique. And Butler was excited to feature Blevins because she is not only trying to reposition how people think about beauty for themselves, but for others as well.
"In the western world, we’re made to believe that women covering up for religious purposes is oppressive — so to see Ashley decide to wear her hijab and wear it with such pride and boldness was liberating," Butler says.
In one of the Instagram posts, Blevins shared why she was excited to be featured, and why she loves wearing a bold, unexpected lip, writing, "I hope to promote the idea that a Muslim woman being covered does not oppress her or hinder her in any way, shape or form, which is one of the biggest stereotypes that follow Muslim women.”
To Blevins, The Lip Bar feature is exciting because it will send out an important message to people who are not part of the Muslim faith. It offers them a different image of a Muslim woman — one that is not stereotypical.
"It means that whatever you can do so can a Muslim woman. We can still work, go to school, start businesses, raise families, go on trips and enjoy the pleasures of fashion and beauty. By being on The Lip Bar page I hope to open the eyes of society," Blevins shares with Bustle. "I hope to show them that there’s room for not only black women, but Muslim women, too."
Blevins says she loved being featured on The Lip Bar page wearing her hijab because the photos were true to how she normally looks like — they weren't highly stylized, and she wasn't asked to put on outfits or makeup shades she wouldn't normally.
"The great thing about The Lip Bar is that in my photos I still look like me...I still look like the every day woman. I didn’t have to compromise who I was both fashionably or religiously to make my dreams come true," she explains.
And for Blevins, her love for lipstick runs true and deep. It's an integral part of her wardrobe, where a lip color can make or break an outfit — which makes it no surprise that she owns 200 different kinds of lipstick shades.
"Lipstick just takes my look and my confidence to another level," Blevins says. "When I put lipstick on I feel like I am ready to conquer the world. It acts as my armor and lets people know that I mean business."
Beauty is for everyone — and The Lip Bar is on a mission to prove that.