Another hot product from Sephora’s fall finds  – the last one was Dr. Brandt’s Magnetight Magnetic Face Mask (full review here) – Josie Maran’s Lip Sting Plumping Butter was just staring me in the face, begging to be thrown into my shopping cart and 2-day delivered to my house.

So it was.

Lip plumpers have become really popular lately; every instamodel and insta-beauty-blogger/youtuber seems to be getting lip injections. Grande Naturals came out with one at Sephora earlier this year, and Buxom has always had an addictingly-tingly lip plumping gloss at Sephora. A bunch of small brands with a single lip plumping product have popped up out of nowhere. We knew that other big brands would follow soon!

Enter: supermodel / organic-nautural-beauty-goddess / entrepreneur.. Josie Maran.



General Thoughts: Josie Maran’s Argan-Based Line

Admittedly, I’m a skeptic when it comes to celebrity beauty lines (although I do seem to take it a little easier on the demi-celebrity doctor lines like Dr. Brandt, et al). My fear is that celebrities typically don’t know a lot of cosmetic chemistry going in; if approached by their cosmetic chemist for a “trade off” question regarding the formulation, what will be their guiding light? How will they choose?


For example, from my experience with making WINK, using raspberry seed oil in our formulation drastically increases the cost, but I believe that raspberry seed oil is a true super star when it comes to delivering a high percentage of alpha-linoleic acids, while maintaing a decent level of much-needed Omega-9 and Omega-6 fatty acids. You just don’t really get that with any other plant oils.

Would a celebrity know what to do in that situation? Would they choose to use the much more expensive oil, just to make sure that their customers are getting a high enough level of ALAs to make a difference? Not sure. 

In any case Josie seems pretty cool, I like her products, and I love argan oil probably as much as she does. Here’s what she has to say about argan oil:

Argan Oil might not be able to solve all the world’s problems, but when it comes to your body, there isn’t much it can’t do. It’s light enough to use as an everyday moisturizer, and powerful enough to soothe the symptoms of skin ailments like eczema or rosacea.

True. All true.

All of Josie Maran’s products are pretty solid, as they’re all based on argan oil, which is just so awesome, and duh – a key component in both WINK and SHINE – but I usually forgo her pure argan oil – which is about $14 for 4 oz on Amazon, or $48 for 1.7 oz from her. and just pick up her products when they’re on clearance at Sephora or when she puts out something interesting.. like today!

So, let’s jump in!

First Thoughts: Josie Maran Lip Sting Plumping Butter

First of all, can I say how absolutely gorgeous this packaging is?! I loved both the lipstick tube and the box; both were just top notch design–gorgeous + cute at the same time. I would love to carry this around in a clutch and use it frequently, just to show off how stylish it is.


The bottom even had a little bee on it for the “lip sting” like a “bee sting”. I mean, how cute is that?!


Now onto using it.. it smells like vanilla and it feels like heaven.

When it glides on, at least.

The formulation is mainly comprised of Morgina Oil (which is a good thing) and Jojoba Esters, so it has some pretty natural waxes that help it feel like a natural, homemade lip balm.

Ingredients listed below (for all the nerds out there, including me, woot woot!):

Diisostearyl Malate, Moringa Oil/Hydrogenated Moringa Oil Esters, Jojoba Esters, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, C10-18 Triglycerides, Hydrogenated Coco-Glycerides, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Heptyl Undecylenate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Wax, Fragrance, Polyglyceryl-4 Diisostearate/Polyhydroxystearate/Sebacate, Glycerin, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Glyceryl Caprylate, Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, Stevia Rebaudiana Leaf Extract, Glyceryl Undecylenate, Honey, Acacia Decurrens Flower Wax, Polyglycerin-3, Trihydroxystearin, Tocopherol, Sorbitan Isostearate, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Portulaca Pilosa Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Capsaicin, Sucrose Cocoate, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38, Amorphophallus Konjac Root Powder.

Onto the effects..


Second Thoughts: Josie Maran Lip Sting Plumping Butter

Then, it starts stinging – hence the name “Lip Sting”.

This is to be expected with an temporary lip plumper; it’s going to sting. There’s just no way around that. Whether you use an off-the-shelf solution or a DIY cinnamon scrub.. it’s gonna tingle.

The weird thing about Lip Sting is that it really feels like a hundred tiny little baby bee stings.. not a tingling sensation it all. The feeling is truly different from anything I’ve ever experienced before.

The strange thing about a small, annoying little stinging sensation? It’s addicting. Highly addicting.

While I was sitting there working at my computer. I found myself reflexively reaching for the lip plumper again .. and again.. and again.

The same thing happened when I used Buxom’s Full On Lip Polish (a lip gloss/plumper, here) last year. I just kept swiping it on because I loved the tingling, annoying, about-to-itch sensation. It’s seriously good.

Lo and behold.. My lips plumped up a little bit. It took a good 10 minutes, and the effect was slight, but they didplump up!


Conclusion: Josie Maran Lip Sting Plumping Butter Review

Some of you might be saying “WOW, I can’t see the effect at all in your before and after.”

Well… I can.

Because these are my thin lips that I live every day of my life with. And you will notice a difference in your own lips. too. The effects will be even larger once you apply a lipstick or lipgloss.

That being said, my favorite part about the Lip Sting is that it’s a BALM. It’s a Lip BUTTER! That’s fabulous. It’s colorless, smells great, feels great and just looks very natural.

It’s truly a small cosmetic enhancement that just looks like you. In my book–that’s fabulous.

You can get Josie’s Lip Sting Plumping Butter at Sephora for $23 (here). Not bad, if I do say so myself!

For more tips on getting full-looking lips, check out our full article on the topic here.



Dr. Vanessa Rodriguez is a board-certified general practitioner with more than 15 years of patient care experience. She takes an integrative approach to patient care that considers the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – and is deeply committed to assisting her patients in achieving and sustaining optimal health. Dr. Vanessa is also a skilled writer and medical reviewer, specializing in preventive care and health promotion. Her articles are written in an approachable manner that is simple to comprehend and implement in one’s own life. Dr. Vanessa’s mission is to equip her patients and readers with the knowledge and resources necessary to live their greatest lives.

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