Photos by {accordingtoame}, Review updated to include ingredients

Last Fall, I went to replenish my beloved Josie Maran moisturizer (previously called Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 40+ and previously blogged about here, here, here) to find it had been pulled from stock everywhere awaiting reformulation. 

I had a meltdown. Reformulations and I are not friends.

I was tweeting and facebooking like a feral animal with internet access, demanding to know the whereabouts of this life-changing product and why I couldn’t get the stock that was discontinued while it was being reformulated. (Seriously, why not let it sell out? Even the Sephora salespeople said that they weren’t allowed to buy any before it was sent back!)

I spent months rationing out my remaining quantity, trying to alternate it with inferior substitutes, eventually resorting to scraping the dregs of my travel sized bottle with a tiny cosmetics spatula. Exactly one day after I used the last of it this March, the “New and Improved” version popped back up for purchase and life was a little greener again.  I immediately ordered.

When it arrived a few days later, I dismembered the box to retrieve the bottle from it’s recyclable pink cage. Packaging and bottle looked the same, save for the “new and improved sticker”, but the texture not exactly like my beloved, nor was the smell. It’s still thin out of the pump (in a good way) but it’s definitely thicker than before. It also lost its pretty sweet-tarts smell in favor of, for lack of a better term, a semi-chemically smell. I was disappointed, to say the least. And apparently so were a lot of other addicts, based on the amount of reviews complaining about the changes.  

One thing I’d like to clarify that changed with this reformulation, there’s a significant chemical change between this and the old formula, including a significant increase in the amount of silicone and siliconate products and the removal of apricot and pomegranate oils. The list now seems a bit longer as well. This is disappointing, and I assume that those changes were necessary to make the SPF more powerful and less dependent on Titanium Dioxide. 

OLD LIST, which was thankfully on Phyrra:

ACTIVE: Titanium Dioxide 9.5%, Zinc Oxide 6.0%.
INACTIVE: Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Extract*, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil*, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract**, Caprylyl Glycol**, Chamomilla Recutita Matricaria (Chamomile) Extract*, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone**, Ethylhexyl Palmitate**, Hexadecene Copolymer**, Hexylene Glycol, Isopropyl Palmitate**, Phenoxyethanol, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Oil**, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Oil*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Tocopherol**.

  • *Certified Organic Ingredient
  • **Natural Ingredient

NEW LIST, via the Josie Maran website:
ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: Zinc Oxide 6.4%* (Sunscreen), Titanium Dioxide 5.1%** (Sunscreen) 

INACTIVE INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water)**, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride**, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Polyglyceryl-6 Polyricinoleate**, Cyclopentasiloxane, Polysilicone-11, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil**, Glycerin**, Cera Alba (Beeswax)*, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Phenoxyethanol, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Methicone, Alumina, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Chloride**, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate, Parfum (Fragrance)**, Bisabolol, Dimethicone, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Laureth-12, Ethylhexylglycerin, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract*, Citric Acid**, Potassium Sorbate**, Sodium Benzoate**.


I decided despite the ingredient changes I would give it a chance. I had it in my hands, and I’d found no worthy substitute.  I put one pump in my hand.  It’s definitely texturally different, and while I do wish they had not changed it because I preferred the former texture, it does still absorb well with a tiny bit more work, and the higher SPF is a definite plus. Finding anything above 15 is already hard enough, but a face moisturizer with an SPF above a 30 is practically unheard of, especially one that’s “green.”  

After using it twice, I was over my disappointment.  Enough that I immediately used another coupon code available through the brand’s site at the time and bought myself a backup so I wouldn’t go through that panicked state again. And I will admit that I am having itchy-trigger about buying another one or two just to be safe.  “My name is Ame, and I am a hoarder.”

 One pump in my palm. In the second image I have started to rub my hands together
 breaking it down in my hands you can see it’s slightly whitish, but in the last photo 
after maybe 5 “strokes” together, it’s completely absorbed into my hand. 
That was in all of about 8 seconds, if that, including photo breaks. 

For those who have never used one before, most physical/mineral sunblocks leave a crazy white cast on your skin and are ridiculously hard to blend, rarely “absorbing” fully and usually just sitting on your skin.  This formula is nothing like that, which is why it’s so incredible.  It really sinks right in after a few seconds.

I have my morning routine down pretty pat.  After I put my contacts in and brush and floss my teeth, I mist my face with my face mist du jour or dampen with a wet paper towel, I put one pump of this Josie Maran Moisturizer in my hand, two if I am really flaky or dry, work it between my hands for a second to start to lighten it up and spread it out, and then press it on and rub it into my face and neck lightly. Within, literally, a couple of seconds my skin has absorbed it and my face feels moisturized, but you can’t even tell you’ve applied it, because it’s like nothing is there. Invisible protection.  It might take an extra swipe versus the old formula, so everyone is really freaking out over that added second.

I might give myself about a minute, two max, before I start spackling after applying my moisturizer.  And even though I don’t use a primer (haven’t found one that actually works!), I have no issues with my makeup wearing off, none related to this moisturizer anyway, before the end of the day. This moisturizer is actually the best “primer” that isn’t even a primer. 

Happy skin product family!  Ignore the mess of what appears to be paper towels on the floor.

Some of the products I tested, and rejected, in the meantime were very unfriendly with makeup in the morning, either because they had a very greasy texture and the makeup would just breakdown immediately, or because they never fully absorbed and applying makeup over them make the product “ball up” and roll off the skin.  The Josie Maran Moisturizer does not, in any way, interfere with makeup. 

However, and this is really just a disclaimer for all SPF-containing moisturizers:  I don’t use it in place of a full on sunblock for days I will be out in the sun all day/will be swimming. In those cases, I do use this on my face first as a barrier and then do a full on sunblock as well all over (Honest, Badger or Grahams usually) and over top of it, skipping makeup that day (its not going to stay on anyway…)

Another plus about this product and brand is that they’ve thought of the conveniences. You can get the Josie Maran Moisturizer in three sizes: the 1/2oz travel size for $14, the regular size 2oz bottle is $32, and the “big daddy” luxury size 4oz bottle for $54 (prices via Josie’s site, QVC might have better deals!) With most brands, you get ONE SIZE. And sometimes that one size might be within the allowable carry-on size requirements, but the container is ridiculous for travel and takes up way too much space requiring you to decant.  The travel size is absolutely a dream for travel, and you can refill it from the large size.  For couples who share the product, the big daddy will work perfectly.

Side by side of the travel size (old bottle which I clean out and refill) vs the 2oz size.

I find them to be very fairly priced, because one pump is really all you need each day (I use a non-SPF moisturizer at night), and because they’re so high-SPF and have clean ingredients. The regular sized 2oz bottle will last you a pretty long time, at least 6 months or so, possibly longer depending how many pumps you use each day.  The cost per use works out very well, especially considering the significant level of SPF in this product, which saves you a step and the need for an additional product for day-to-day. 

If I had the “pull” to make these calls, I would love to see this come out in a non-SPF version for night use, and also to see them bring the last formula back exactly how it was, as a “light” version, labeling this version the “rich” version, possibly increasing the Argan and Jojoba amounts in this version for drier skins. A girl can dream!

You can find this at Josie’s site, in all three sizes, and also at QVC (2oz is linked, occasionally they’ll have a deal on the big daddy, and in the travel size), and Sephora (right now only in the 2 and 4oz).

Are you totally obsessed with this moisturizer, too?

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