Josie Maran has a long history with beauty.
From the time she was just 12 years old, Maran was working as a professional model. After years of hustling and going to countless casting calls, Maran started to take off in the industry and eventually earned a 10-year contract as the face of Maybelline.
Six years into her career, which included spending hours in the makeup chair on most days, she noticed the routine was taking a toll on her skin. Raised in a family that emphasized the importance of a sustainable and natural lifestyle, she decided to seek out makeup that met that criteria.
“I would always sit down in the makeup chair and ask the artists, ‘Is there anything natural or healthy that you could use?'” she said. “I was always told that it was impossible to make products that were [both] good enough for makeup artists and natural.”
So, in 2004, she decided to fill that hole in the market.
On this week’s episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, Maran discussed how her early career informed her work in beauty, what challenges she faced when starting her brand, and where she sees Josie Maran Cosmetics going next. Below are excerpts from the episode, edited for clarity.
Fighting for a new way of thinking
“It took a lot of hearing ‘no’ every day. I went to lots of different labs in California, where you would think the labs would be much more open, but it took three years to form a full makeup collection that was non-toxic. The chemists, especially back then, were very strict on using parabens to protect the products, and I would sit with them all day and plead for them to take it out just to see if it would work. Somehow it ended up working; they found that alternative preservatives, alternative ingredients and argan oil happened to be a perfect marriage with the color minerals. After three years of pushing and pushing and pushing, we finally figured it out.”
Re-branding Josie Maran
“What’s really cool is that I’m finally going through a major re-brand, which has been an interesting realization for me. Being so ingrained in building this brand for the last 11 years, I just kind of assumed that everybody knew who I was and knew the brand. I was just on a shoot for the re-brand, and the makeup artist was like, ‘It’s so exciting, because there are so many people who don’t know you,’ and I just thought, ‘Oh my god, you’re right!’ It had never clicked, because I’ve been working and hustling, and on QVC, I’m speaking to millions of people every day, but there’s a whole group of people who have no idea. It’s actually really refreshing to imagine it like I’m launching for the first time again.”
The importance of authenticity
“With beauty, it can be so confusing. It can be so fake, so manufactured and so manipulative, or it can be really honest, vulnerable and authentic. I think we all know what feels better. We’re just being bombarded by so many images on Instagram, and it’s getting depressing. I think people need to know that actually being real and authentic is actually the most beautiful, and I’m excited to be a champion for that, even though there are a lot of ugly days.”
Investing in CBD
“I launched 11 years ago as a green brand, and now I feel like we’re really going green. I come from Northern California, so I grew up using CBD as a medicine. My Skin Dope line is all oil-based, from Northern California, sustainably grown, 100 percent organic, locally farmed and from my hometown, so I get to bring out all of the things I really believe in. It’s really, truly healing, and I think the beauty world is kind of moving toward a more healing, holistic, wellness-and-lifestyle approach. It’s no longer just about how you look; it’s about how you feel and what you do with your life. I feel like CBD is a beautiful story about how you can use nature to feel and look beautiful.”