Surreal Skin Argan Finishing Balm
Josie Maran's Surreal Skin Argan Finishing Balm is a product that's described by the brand as a balm and a primer, but it works significantly better as the latter.
The balm description is odd because the formula doesn't have that type of thick texture. Instead, it's a satiny-smooth cream that melts into skin.
The brand directs you to use this as the last step in your skincare routine to prepare for makeup application, which in our view makes it a primer—and one that works remarkably well.
Used as a primer, this product's lightweight texture creates an immediate blurring effect on skin, making wrinkles and pores appear less visible. As any good primer should, this helps makeup apply more smoothly, and helps foundation last a couple of hours longer as well.
Josie Maran also offers a tip to apply this over makeup, and while that does work (you're instructed to gently pat this on top of foundation to create a smoother surface), the visual effect is the same as if you used this as a primer, which is the easier way to go because that way you won't risk smearing your just-applied makeup.
The one mark against this product is its jar packaging. While this isn't advertised as an anti-aging product, and doesn't have a lot of ingredients that would deteriorate with routine exposure to light and air, it's not the most sanitary packaging option for a water-based formula like this.
That said, there's reason to experiment with this intriguing product; it even looks great when worn on its own.
- Satiny-smooth cream has a blurring effects on wrinkles and pores.
- Helps makeup apply more smoothly and last longer.
- Fragrance free.
- Packaged in a jar, which isn't the most sanitary option.
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.