Josie Maran Dips Into the Argan Oil for Spring’s Matchmaker Serum Foundation and Illuminizer

Published in: Makeup, Product Reviews

Josie Maran Argan Matchmaker Serum Foundation on my face, Argan Illuminizer on my cheeks, beneath my eyes and on the brow bone

Model/makeup maestro Josie Maran likes argan oil almost as much as Tabs likes gravy, and she’s launching a new foundation and illuminator made with the stuff this spring.


Argan oil, of course (not gravy). 🙂

Sheer, lightweight Argan Matchmaker Serum Foundation ($42) adjusts to the wearer’s skin tone, beginning white, but changing color as it’s worked into the skin, while shimmery liquid Argan Illuminizer ($28) is designed to give skin a bronzy glow.

Both products will arrive in stores next month (but the foundation’s already available online at and contain Josie’s signature ingredient. Some refer to argan oil as something of a miracle ingredient — a skin-soothing, complexion-clearing, fine-line-erasing, skin-tone-improving, elasticity-restoring, inflammation-reducing miracle ingredient — and if it were any more amazing, it would probably rescue stray kittens on the side. 🙂

I’ve used a few of Josie’s other argan products but never detected a dramatic difference in my skin. That said, I do still like a lot about her line, like how she handles color, the textures she uses and, of course, that her products are eco and pet friendly (Tabs approved).

I dug around for clinical studies to support the use of argan oil and its effects on skin, but I didn’t turn anything up (other than this study on its consumption and heart disease).

Argan Matchmaker Serum Foundation, $42 for a 1-oz. bottle

Available in two shades, Light/Medium and Medium/Dark, this foundation’s supposed to correct fine lines and wrinkles, and cover other imperfections on the skin, while evening out skin tone.

I gave it a try in Medium/Dark, and, first of all, I like the color adjusting schtick, even if it isn’t completely new (Almay and others have been doing something similar with their concealers and foundations for a while). The color I end with is a pretty good match for my NC35 skin, and that’s a big plus, because I’ve tried similar products that produced a shade with too much beige for my skin’s yellow undertones.

Since I haven’t had it for long, I haven’t observed it reversing any signs of aging yet (and, honestly, I don’t expect it ever will), but even if it didn’t turn back the clock a single second, that wouldn’t be half as disappointing as this: it’s DAYUM sheer — like even lighter than a tinted moisturizer.

I guess if your skin is in nearly perfect condition (jealous!) and you just need a little evening out, this might work fine for you, but for the kind of coverage I’m looking for, $42 sounds like a lot. MAKEUP AND BEAUTY BLOG RATING: B-

Argan Illuminizer, $28 for a 0.5-oz bottle

Josie cooked up this shimmery bronze liquid illuminator to give a bronzy glow to the skin, and right away it reminded me of a warmer, peachier version of MAC Strobe Cream, but with more gold and a thicker texture.


First, I like how well it blends on bare skin or atop foundation (I use my fingers). Josie says it can also be worn beneath the eyes to help brighten dark under-eye circles, much like Smasbox’s Photo Op Under Eye Brightener, but I don’t know about that… I have killer (as in bad) dark circles, and this just isn’t up to the task of covering them completely. It’s certainly no concealer, but it does add a noticeable glow that brightens up the area a bit.

The bottle could also stand to be bigger, and I’m not a fan of the pump, which has been a recurring theme with me and these pumps lately. Being as careful as I can, this one still dispenses much more product than I need, so it looks like I gotta get another sample jar.

If you’re looking for a cruelty-free illuminator and wear warm colors well, this might be worth a try. MAKEUP AND BEUATY BLOG RATING: B

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



Like this post? Tell your friends!

So far, 18 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. i LOVE the argan oil moisturizer so i was really excited to try out both of these products. but it doesn’t sound like the serum foundation will be of any use to me. i’m still interested in the illuminizer, though. have you tried mixing it with foundation before application?
    dani@callitbeauty recently posted … The Lap of LUUUXury

  2. Tiffany H. says:

    Interesting claims the foundation has!
    Tiffany H. recently posted … Tips To Making Your Fragrance Last

  3. Karen says:

    I’ve been curious about the serum foundation, thanks for the review!
    Karen recently posted … Cranberry Orange Muffins

  4. Tiffany says:

    I have a mini of the illuminizer and have been wanting to try it out. I think it’ll work better for me in summer though…

  5. ashley says:

    I think that she over exaggerates quite a bit, however, if you go to whole foods, or a local health food store and pick up a bottle of pure organic argan oil, you will be in shock. I’m 22 and my face was wrecked from hormonal acne (and everything that involves). After 2 weeks, I had ZERO breakouts, I no longer had oily skin, and I threw every single moisturizer I had in the garbage. My skin looks damn near perfect. Even though argan oil helped with scarring too, the only other face product I use everyday is mederma spf 30.

    I’ve read numerous things about argan oil, and I believe them all. From oil regulation, to anti aging. It’s insane. I’ve used pure argan oil for over a year and would never put another moisturizer on my face! Crazy, I know…

  6. Lady Di. says:

    I have to agree with Ashleys comment above. I also use Argan oil and I think it is amazing. I wear it under my moisturizer every morning and for someone who is almost 40…..It makes my skin look close to flawless!

  7. Nina says:

    i think id like to try that illuminizer out! 🙂

  8. Marie says:

    Hi Karen,

    Do you think the illuminizer is similar to Benefit’s High Beam?

  9. Tracy says:

    Well, that’s too bad that the coverage is so light. I guess it would make a good base for a powder foundation. I wish that it had some SPF in it though.
    The illuminizer sounds cool-will have to visit it in person!
    Tracy recently posted … Bare Escentuals Well Rested For Eyes

  10. Heidi says:

    Interesting that her foundation offers so little coverage. I have her tinted moisturizer, and think that the coverage is quite good.

  11. johanna says:

    that is what i figured I am NC35 too, and I do not have flawless skin thank u for saving me a trip to Sephora 🙂 I like argan oil for my hair and hands…

  12. AnieJ says:

    I don’t think this stuff is for me. I usually don’t buy into these sort of products because they promise too much. I do try products that claim to do one thing really well (hydrate, mattify, etc.) because at least they aren’t pedaling a fix-all. Maybe it’s just me…
    AnieJ recently posted … Bobbi Brown Sheer Cheek Tint in Sheer Lilac- My Valentine Blush

  13. PS says:

    I’ll have to try the argan serum. Right now I’m using Philosophy when hope is not enough facial firming serum & am quite happy with it. It doesn’t make your face break out and does slightly firm.

  14. There are noticeable results – I love the natural sheen it gives your skin. Offers a really healthy glow!

  15. Kim says:

    I’m really liking Tarte’s Smooth Operator (thank you again for the rec!) and after reading the comments, I’m thinking I should try some pure Argan oil too!

  16. Argan oil has been used for ages in Morocco and is also great as a hair mask, moisturizer, lip balm, massage oil,… you name it! The other fact I love about this oil is that it’s made by women only. It’s really a women-centered business in a society dominated by men.

  17. Yas says:

    I have skin that seems schizophrenic- it is shiny yet dry, and prone to acne. Ever since I started on my prescription anti-acne meds, my face has been extra dry (but still shiny/oily and acne prone) and the only moisturizer I have found that works, calms and most importantly DOESNT STING is josie maran’s 100% argan oil. I use it every night and it is the only thing that has kept my poor skin from flaking and burning.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge