THL Talks: Josie Maran on Creating Organic Beauty Before It Was a Trend


Model make-up lines are one trend and eco-beauty is another, but one runway veteran put the two together before either was a commonplace idea.  Josie Maran’s eponymous skincare and cosmetics line  launched in the fall of 2007, well before partnering with a developing nation’s women’s co-ops was commonplace and “parabens” was a practically a dirty word.  We caught up with Maran to talk about how she got started, along with how she sees the green beauty going mainstream.

The High Low:  You got into the business of ethical, eco-conscious beauty before it became the runaway trend it is now.  Can you tell us a bit about that?

Josie Maran:  Ten years ago, when I was traveling the world on modeling shoots, I was always asking my makeup artists what was in the stuff they were putting on my face, and the answers always horrified me.  I asked if they could substitute healthy, natural cosmetics and they said no such thing existed. Then I discovered argan oil, and started creating high-performing, luxurious, healthy formulas based on “The Moroccan Miracle Moisturizer.” When I first had the idea to start this company, I traveled the world looking for natural ingredients and for chemists who would walk out on this limb with me, and create formulas as effective as those that use toxic ingredients.  Luckily, I found both.  It’s still challenging to source those ingredients, but our product development team is committed to going the extra mile — or the extra 6000 miles.

THL:  Do you see green and sustainable beauty becoming a bigger player overall in the cosmetics industry?  What do you think it’ll take for it to become more mainstream?

JM:  Yes — it’s already happening, and all it will take is time and awareness — a winning combination. When I was a kid, the word “recycling” wasn’t in anyone’s vocabulary. Then it was a fringe-y idea. Now it’s totally mainstream, and city trucks routinely pick up recycling bins. “Chicological” cosmetics are as inevitable now as recycling was then.

Josie Maran argan oilTHL:  Speaking of beating the trends, you’ve also always had a charitable bent.  Was that in place at the start?  How did you begin working with the Moroccan women’s organizations that help produce argan oil?

JM:  My parents and most of my family members were social activists, children of the 1960s, very concerned with being part of the solution, not part of the problem. Once I discovered argan oil on a modeling trip to France, I traced it back to its origins in the Moroccan desert, and I was amazed to find that not only was the oil a miracle, but it was being produced by women’s co-ops that were accomplishing miraculous things for their families and communities, too.

THL:  It’s also great that you’re producing in the U.S.  Was that part of the original business plan?

JM:  Yes, it was always my intention to produce as much as possible within the U.S.

THL:  As far as beauty products across the spectrum go, are there any ingredients you would say to definitely, absolutely, always stay away from?

JM:  Lots! To name the top offenders: parabens, petrochemicals, talc, synthetic fragrances, phthalates, and sulfates.  All of these are on our official JMC “No-No List,” and we never, ever use any of them.

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