Review: Josie Maran Argan Infinity Cream

Winter outdoor running and my daily work commute have been tearing my skin up. I pile on layers of clothes for those freezing runs, but my face is the only thing exposed. Short of wearing a balaclava, some people say you should coat your face is vaseline to protect it from the wind but… that doesn’t sound so great.
When I started winter running, my skin felt like sandpaper at night. I tried the Yes to Carrots night cream but didn’t use it very long because the fragrance was way too strong, and even though my skin was dry, it still felt like the cream was too heavy for my skin to breathe, if that makes sense. Pure argan oil was still not enough to soothe the skin and tame the dry flakes. The one thing that has helped this face situation is the Josie Maran Argan Infinity Cream Oil.
josie maran infinity cream
Although the name leads you to think that it is mostly argan oil, it’s an emulsified blend of lots of oils, primarily safflower and shea butter, but it’s also packed with other good-for-you plant oils. It has a slight scent but it’s fresh, citrusy (I think apricot?) and very subtle. Right out of the tube, it feels kind of like vaseline but it melts and then soaks into your dry skin right away.
The product is made to be used anywhere on your body, but at $28 for 2.2 oz I’m rationing it. Mine is smaller because it came in a kit. My face still looks a ruddy, and on top of that I got a little bit of sun in Charleston and my freckles started to come out, but at least it feels good and my makeup can glide on like a normal person. If you are in the mood for some luxury and have very dry skin, the Josie Maran Argan Infinity Cream is divine.

Josie Maran Escape to Morocco Holiday Lights and Brights Set

I had never tried any Josie Maran products until I picked up this kit (Josie Maran Holiday Lights & Brights), which unfortunately isn’t available anymore.

josie maran 2013 holiday set

Image source: Sephora

I am now a total fan of Josie Maran products. It also helps that I’ve been watching her Youtube videos and she seems like a really sweet woman.

I love almost everything in this set. The Light Argan Oil has replaced Yes to Carrots as my nighttime moisturizer. The Carrot Night Cream is too thick on some days, and I’m sick of the strong fragrance. The argan oil is just right. My skin seems to feel more plump since I’ve been using it. And best of all, it is only ONE ingredient which is the best!

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Josie Maran Argan Color Stick in Spice

My second favorite item is the Argan Color Stick in Spice. It smells like tea tree, just like my many homemade skincare concoctions. I didn’t have much experience using cream blush but now I have the hang of it (I hope?). It does look very natural because it has no glitter or shimmer. It stays on all day too. The shade is too brown to use on my lips. At $22 for the full size product, this is one that I can actually afford to buy again. I have my eye on this set though. Maybe after the holidays if there are any left…

Then there is the Illuminizer. This champagne colored creme is more flattering on me than other highlighters I’ve experienced. The shimmer particles are very fine which give it kind of a candle-light glow effect. I have a miniature of Benefit High Beam and it seems unnaturally shiny. I think High Beam looks great for photo shoots but in real life I feel like it looks too space-age. The Josie Maran Illuminizer is a little more natural. I’m still a little afraid to use it often for fear of looking too sweaty or too done up but I think it gives a nice look. One awesome way to use this to pump a drop in your hand, add a few drops of oil, then mix it up and put it in your hair.

The only thing I did not like from the kit is the Luscious Lips High Gloss lipgloss. I liked the minty fragrance but that was all. The gloss is very thick and sticky. While the color on my lips was nowhere near as bright and rosy as it is in the tube, it certainly lives up to its high gloss label. It reminds me of the super glossy lips that were popular in the early 2000s. It just felt like goop sitting on my lips and my hair was constantly getting stuck.

This set was a steal for $24 during the VIB sale. That’s kinda how it goes right? It’s like drugs. The first one is free/cheap. I don’t know how I’ll be able to afford this habit because the full size products are above my budget. On the other hand, it may be worth paying more for these products. The items have very few toxic ingredients and are cruelty-free, and she claims to use fair trade practices when sourcing ingredients from Morocco and gives a lot of proceeds to good causes. I can’t think of any mainstream brands that would even utter “fair trade.”

I leave you with this confession – I made some profits selling Urban Decay palettes on eBay so I went ahead and bought myself this set too:

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Josie Maran Escape to Morocco – Holiday Hair and Beauty set

This set is all skincare stuff so I’ll get a deeper look at whether the argan-infused stuff lives up to the hype.

Have you tried Josie Maran products? What about other argan oil products?

Review: Coastal Scents African Black Soap

I received a sample of Coastal Scents African Black Soap in my Conscious Box. I’ve been using it to wash my face for a week now. In my college years, I had always wanted to try black soap because I’ve heard it’s very good for acne, eczema, and any other skin ailment. Back then, I think I could only order it online by the pound (!) so I forgot about it. These days, you can buy it at Whole Foods, Target, and even some drug stores.

What is Black Soap?

African Black Soap by Coastal Scents

African Black Soap by Coastal Scents

Black soap is minimally processed compared to conventional soaps. The soap itself was very soft; like if I wanted to I could squish it together. I think this is because instead of being boiled off, poured into molds, and cured like regular soap, this stays semi-solid and is pressed together by hand. That’s why the soap appears chunky. There are generally no preservatives, chemicals or enhancers used in black soaps, so the result is a as natural of a soap as you can get. This also means that the magic of the natural ingredients like plantains, tree barks, and cocoa pods are retained, giving your skin the benefits of the vitamins in those ingredients. Supposedly, the the plantain skins contain vitamins A & E, and iron. Vitamins A and E are traditional acne-fighting vitamins. Even if it’s true that the soap contains these ingredients, I am skeptical as to how much is in there and how much is left on your skin after washing.

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