Editor's note: Cosmetics & Toiletries is pleased to welcome back its Read the Label series, featuring a new columnist: Alison Wery, Assistant Lecturer for the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Toledo. This edition is focused on MAC Cosmetics' Squirt Plumping Gloss Stick due to its viral status on TikTok, as is explained.
MAC Cosmetics' newest launch, the Squirt Plumping Gloss Stick, is making waves on social media platforms. Why, might you ask? The soft, creamy texture is glossy, smooth and shiny on the lips; however, once the product is dispensed too far outside its component, the stick breaks as it is spread.
MAC describes the product as “a plumping gloss stick that nourishes and conditions lips with translucent color and non-sticky shine.” This product isn’t the first of its kind — there have been many similar formulas such as Sephora's Collection Melting Lip Clicks Lip Balm, Kaja's Heart Melter Lip Gloss Stick and Tarte's Maracuja Juicy Lip Plump Balm.
The packaging is innovative yet purely functional as it is nonretractable; each click reveals more of the product but cannot be twisted back down. The reason behind this packaging is due to the formula itself — it is a balm/gloss hybrid that leans more of a semi-solid that melts at body temperature rather than a traditional rigid lipstick.
This article will take a closer look at the formulation to better understand the contents of the formula.*
Diisostearyl Malate, Polybutene, Polyglyceryl-2 Triisostearate, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Microcrystalline Wax\Cera Microcristallina\Cire Microcristalline, Synthetic Wax, Sodium Hyaluronate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Capsicum Frutescens Fruit Extract, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Oil, Menthoxypropanediol, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Menthol, Paraffin, Isohexadecane, Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Vanillyl Butyl Ether, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Methyl Nicotinate, Tripeptide-1, Propylene Carbonate, Ethylene/Propylene Copolymer, Ethylene/Propylene/Styrene Copolymer, Butylene/Ethylene/Styrene Copolymer, Xanthan Gum, Tin Oxide, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Vanillin, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Phenoxyethanol.
[+/- Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491), Iron Oxides (CI 77492), Iron Oxides (CI 77499), Bismuth Oxychloride (CI 77163), Blue 1 Lake (CI 42090), Bronze Powder (CI 77400), Copper Powder (CI 77400), Manganese Violet (CI 77742), Red 6 (CI 15850), Red 7 (CI 15850), Red 21 (CI 45380), Red 27 (CI 45410), Red 28 (CI 45410), Red 30 (CI 73360), Red 7 Lake (CI 15850), Red 22 Lake (CI 45380), Red 28 Lake (CI 45410), Red 30 Lake (CI 73360), Red 33 Lake (CI 17200), Yellow 5 Lake (CI 19140), Yellow 6 Lake (CI 15985)] ILN51376
Smooth Feel and Viscosity Modification
Starting at the top of the ingredient listing are the most prevalent ingredients diisostearyl malate and hydrogenated polyisobutene, which provide a smooth, buttery feeling to the lip gloss stick. In addition are the emollients caprylic/capric triglyceride, shea butter, avocado oil and soybean oil, to name a few. Stearalkonium hectorite adjusts the viscosity and reduces stickiness and tackiness of these emollient ingredients to provide a softer and silkier skin-feel.
Waxes in the formulation, microcrystalline wax and synthetic wax, impart their natural thickness but are lower on the ingredient listing, meaning they are present in lower amounts. The amount of wax present in the formula allows for the product's stick form without the hardness that we typically associate with lipsticks and lip pencils.
Tingling and Plumping
MAC Cosmetics warns that the user may experience a tingling when using the product —this is thanks to menthol, methoxypropanediol, capsicum and methyl nicotinate. Menthol and methoxypropanediol provide a cooling sensation on the lips while C. frutescens fruit extract (better known as cayenne pepper) delivers heat, typically seen in muscle ache formulations. Methyl nicotinate also adds to the warming effect thanks to its vasodilator action. Vasodilators work by dilating (widening) the blood vessels and increasing blood circulation. In other words, they will temporarily plump the lips.
Multifunctional Skin Conditioner
Polyglyceryl-2 triisostearate is a multifunctional ingredient — acting as a skin conditioner, emulsifier and pigment dispersing agent. In this formulation, it is most likely dispersing pigments to provide an even color application while the product glides over the lips.
bis-Diglyceryl polyacyladipate-2 is often used in lip products for its adhesion to skin and glossy finish. It provides lasting wear and maintains shine on the lips.
This product is akin to a lip balm formula and would require hot-filling into the component during production. The formulation is far too soft and lacks the structure and stability of a typical lipstick, so manufacturers can put their lipstick molds away — hot component filling would be the way to go, here.
What may seem different about this product compared with others on the market are the color offerings, particularly the green shade in this range. MAC Cosmetics is an artistry brand that established itself as the ultimate color authority, and the green lip gloss stick fits that brand philosophy.
Pulling out the color wheel, it is worth considering the color theory in this case. Green sits exactly opposite to red on the color wheel, making it the perfect color selection to neutralize red, pink and orange tones. Therefore, the green can be used as a lip "topper" to other lip pencil and lipstick colors to provide a more muted, neutral to cool-toned lip color.
MAC Cosmetics' range of Squirt Plumping Lip Plumping Gloss Stick is available online for $24 for 2.3 g/0.08 oz.
*Disclaimer: While the "Read the Label" series provides an overview of the ingredients in a product and their related claims, without use levels or access to clinical studies, the author is drawing conclusions based on speculation —albeit from training, formulating experience and, in some cases, evidence in the literature. The information provided is for your consideration and further investigation; including any patent protections.