EXCLUSIVE: Josie Maran, ‘Clean’ Beauty Innovator, Relaunches Brand With New Packaging and Scents


Josie Maran is relaunching her namesake brand, WWD has learned exclusively.

“I wanted to check in and make sure that the line truly reflects the woman I am today,” Maran said. “Asking, ‘Were we doing enough to help the planet? What do we stand for now?’ And doubling down on the original mission of sustainability and what I call chic-ological, which was bringing together high-end, luxury, chic, beautiful products and packaging that was also eco-friendly and clean, or back then it was called natural.”

It was in 2007 that the model, actress and “clean” beauty pioneer founded her California-based skin care and cosmetics brand — long before the movement had a name. With argan oil at the core of her creations, from day one the mission has been to provide products free from harmful chemicals, with the planet in mind.

“When I started the line, [I thought] if I want nontoxic, eco-friendly, chic products, I’m pretty sure other people will too,” said Maran, who was the face of Maybelline for a decade, in countless campaigns and with roles in “Van Helsing” and “The Aviator.” “I really wanted to be the next generation of bringing goodness to the beauty industry,” she added, of early days.

She’s now reintroducing her hero products exclusively with Sephora in the “clean” category, starting off with her line of body goods. There’s the 100% Pure Argan Oil, Sugar and Argan Oil Body Scrub, and Whipped Argan Oil Body Butter (one is sold every 14 seconds, according to Maran). The latter two are available unscented, in “Vanilla Vibezzz,” “Topless Tangerine” and “Bohemian Fig.” The trio launch on Feb. 29 at Sephora stores and online, as well as josiemaran.com. Industry sources estimate that the rebrand will generate $100 million in sales for 2024.

What’s different now is the packaging and scents.

Working with William McDonough, known for his work in green and sustainable architecture, and Lance McGregor, a designer specializing in luxury beauty packaging, Maran is offering more sustainable packaging with refills. The pure argan oil ($39, 1 oz.) is lighter, with new sourcing and using a cold pressing system, packaged in a glass bottle that can be endlessly reused. And its refill ($76, 3 oz.) is in an aluminum tin providing three fillings. When it’s done, the cap (post-consumer recycled plastic) and tin can be separated and recycled.

REFILLING VANILLA VIBEZZ WHIPPED ARGAN OIL BODY BUTTER

A look at the glass packaging, PCR cap and refillable pouch.

The body scrub ($29, 6 oz.), in a glass jar that’s infinitely recyclable, has refill pouches ($49, 13.5 oz.) printed with vegetable dyes and recyclable. The lid, also recyclable, is made with mono-material plastic. The same can be said for the body butter ($36, 6 oz.) and its own refill pouches ($62, 13.5 oz.). And every product also comes in smaller travel-size containers.

“We’ve redesigned the line and stripped down all the materials to as simple and pure as it could be, where we got rid of as much plastic as possible. So it’s only glass bottles and jars. And we have PCR, so post-consumer recycled plastic tops, closures. And then for the refilling system, we really did the math on, if we’re going to refill, it has to overall be a less carbon impact. It’s meant to be that you use your bottle or your jar over and over forever, for a lifetime. It’s an heirloom piece.”

The new scents, all inspired by Maran’s Northern California upbringing — where her brand ethics are rooted — use solely plant-based fruit and plant essences. She tapped Jerome Epinette to create the fragrances. “Bohemian Fig,” for example, has top notes of oranges and lemon, with vanilla orchid at the heart and tonka beans and vetiver at the base.

“I went back to my juicy, joyful childhood and brought back all these memories and fragrances, scents of my childhood and had him elevate them and make them super sophisticated yet juicy and joyful,” Maran said. “It’s so deep in us — ethics, mission, purpose, activism, social justice, everything,” she said of growing up in the Bay Area.

The relaunch has been three years in the making.

“Sixteen years ago, ‘clean’ was a radical concept in luxury beauty. And I think the industry has come a long way since,” she said. “There’s a lot of people thinking about sustainability, but the environmental impact has only gotten worse. So, I just decided I needed to reset and go back to my DNA but also check in with who I am now. And after all that checking in and resetting, I really wanted to urgently do something about plastic, the planet, taking care of mama.”

It’s a continuous process of learning and evolving,” she added: “We’re still trying. Progress over perfection. It’s step by step, but I really had to get real with how much plastic we’re putting out there. And I really wanted to change that. It’s billions of metric tons every year going into landfills and our oceans. It’s insane.” (According to statistics from Zero Waste Week, an environmental campaign to reduce waste, the beauty industry is responsible for 120 billion units of plastic packaging waste every year.)

Maran learned when she was young about the importance of environmentalism and health, she said; with her mother struggling with chronic fatigue syndrome growing up, and her grandmother, a professor at U.C. Berkeley, battling and defeating breast cancer, she understood the role chemicals have in everyday products. Her aim was to bring those values to beauty.

With nearly 17 years in the industry, Josie Maran has grown to a team of about 70. Along with Sephora, the brand has a presence at QVC.

“We hope to really grow our community, but right now it’s amazingly, it’s all ages,” Maran said of consumers.

With the new drops will also come a new tag line: “Feel Good Naked.” It’s not about body positively but body neutrality. Expect to see the campaign on TikTok.

“I really think it’s time to have a new conversation about our bodies,” said Maran, a mom of daughters. “And I just want to stand for something more in terms of empowerment and how we’re talking about ourselves to ourselves and to each other.”

She went on, “Despite body positivity being very well intentioned, it also can feel very unattainable and leaving us feeling guilty for not feeling positive enough about ourselves….Body neutrality focuses on appreciating and respecting our bodies not for just how they look but how they can feel, and for all the incredible things they do for us. So appreciating this amazing body that brings us around in our life and gives us life.”

JM 1 OZ THE ORIGINAL 100 PURE ARGAN OIL

Argan oil at the base of Josie Maran creations, sourced from Morocco.

What’s next for the brand?

“We are going to really focus on Sephora, but I’m still focused on QVC and launching some amazing things in 2024 there,” Maran said. “In July, we’re actually launching the rebranding, repackaging of my skin care lines, so the face lines.”

At the center of Maran’s success is arguably its main ingredient: argan oil, indigenous to Morocco and Algeria.

“It empowers women. It’s 100 percent organic, sustainable, fair trade. We go back and invest in our beautiful women there, our beautiful land there,” she said of Morocco.

How did she come across it?

“I was on a trip in the South of France and met this very beautiful, older French woman at a party and asked her her secret, and she said argan oil. I was like, ‘Who are you? I need to know everything.’ We call her ‘Madame argan’ because I don’t have her name. And I don’t know where she is. If you ever find her, please send her my way.”

“We are so pleased to continue our partnership with Josie Maran and introduce their new line of sustainable body care to our clients, exclusively at Sephora,” Brooke Banwart, senior vice president of skin care merchandising at Sephora, told WWD in a statement. “Powered by their signature argan oil, Josie Maran offers effective skin care products that have a deep focus on ethical formulation and responsible packaging, which we know resonates with our community. We look forward to launching this exciting line as part of our growing body care assortment.” 



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