Josie Maran Cosmetics

Argan Gentle Exfoliating Powder

for $ 35.00
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Brand Overview

For all the hype this product has, it’s just an old-fashioned powder scrub that you mix with your cleanser to turn it into a mild scrub. The problem? Although this type of manual exfoliation (or polishing, if you prefer) of skin can produce super-smooth results, the main abrasive agent is argan shell powder along with a tiny amount of powdered oatmeal. Although those ingredients are natural, in scrub form, they cannot be made spherical (rounded) and as such can scratch and tear at skin unless you’re very careful with each use. Ironically, a scrub with synthetic polyethylene  beads would be gentler on your skin, or you can consider a scrub with rounded jojoba beads.

Perhaps more important, though, is whether you should consider a scrub at all. For most people, scrubs are not needed and are in fact an outdated way to exfoliate skin. A leave-on AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) or BHA (beta hydroxy acid) exfoliant does everything a scrub can do plus improve multiple sign of aging, clogged pores, bumps, acne, large pores, redness, and more. If you wouldn’t give up your tablet in exchange for a typewriter, you shouldn’t opt for a scrub over an AHA or BHA exfoliant—unless your intention is to only use the scrub when extra cleansing is needed.

Along with the potentially too rough argan shell and oat powder, this scrub, which foams slightly when mixed with water due to the cleansing agents it contains, contains a potentially irritating amount of grapefruit oil. As this is a rinse-off product the fragrant oil less concerning, but citrus oils aren’t the way to renew skin!

As for the papain enzyme that Josie Maran claims does the chemical exfoliation from the inside out while the argan shell does the surface exfoliation, don’t count on it. Papain is a highly unstable ingredient that is unlikely to hold up and retain its activity when mixed with water and then rinsed from skin.


  • Leaves skin smooth and soft.
  • Turns your favorite cleanser into a scrub.


  • Argan shell powder can be too abrasive for skin compared to round beads that easily move over skin.
  • Can be OK for extra cleansing, but doesn’t replace a great AHA or BHA leave-on exfoliant.
  • The citrus oil can cause skin irritation; this scrub isn’t as gentle as it’s made out to be.
  • Papain is an unstable enzyme that likely won’t retain its effectiveness in this type of product.

Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No

Argan Exfoliating Powder is a gentle daily exfoliating treatment for your face that you activate with water or Josie Maran Cleansing Oil (sold separately). Your skin will be exfoliated, hydrated, and renewed.

Microcrystalline Cellulose, Argania Spinosa Shell Powder, Magnesium Carbonate, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Cellulose Gum, Populus Tremuloides Bark Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Meal, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Starch, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Powder, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Papain, Allantoin, Salicylic Acid, Sodium PCA, Cyclodextrin, Lauryl Methacrylate/Glycol Dimethcarylate Crosspolymer, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891).

Josie Maran At-A-Glance

Strengths: The sunscreens provide broad-spectrum protection; well-formulated daytime moisturizer with sunscreen; excellent tinted moisturizer for dry skin.

Weaknesses: Expensive; some products are potently fragranced.

The Josie Maran brand was founded by supermodel and former Maybelline spokesperson Josie Maran. Almost every Josie Maran product is centered on the ingredient argan oil, which the brand attributes many beneficial qualities, some of which are true, and some claims made stretch the facts a bit. According to the brand, this non-fragrant plant oil is said to do everything from reduce wrinkles to heal acne, while giving you younger-looking skin.

Argan oil does contain beneficial lipids and fatty acids for skin, as well as vitamin E and other antioxidants, but we should note that it isn't the only oil with such properties. Even more to the point, no single ingredient does it all for skin. It's just like your diet: if you eat only one type of food, you'd soon be malnourished. Skin is the body's largest organ, and it requires a variety of useful ingredients to look and function at its best.

Fortunately, the Josie Maran brand does include many beneficial ingredients in some of its best products, and does have some unique offerings to consider. It's worth pointing out also that although argan oil does have benefit for skin, its less beneficial to include it in products like eyeshadow and mascara. It does add a unique quality to some makeup, however, especially in a few of the brands lip formulas.

We should note that while the brand relies heavily on the natural theme in its marketing, it doesn't talk about the beneficial ingredients used that aren't so natural. There isn't anything wrong with using naturally-derived ingredients, but it strikes us as disingenuous to not tout the benefits of synthetic ingredients such as silicones, preservatives, coloring agents and film formers that also appear in many of Josie Maran products.

As is the case with many brands that use predominantly natural ingredients, there are some fragrant oils to be wary of, as these can be problematic for any skin type (but especially so for those with sensitivity concerns). However, there are a few products here that are absolutely worth considering and unique, see our individual reviews on the brand for more details.

For more information about Josie Maran, call (855) 461-6512 or visit www.josiemarancosmetics.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.

Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.

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