Josie Maran Argan Enlightenment Illuminiser - review and swatches


I received this sample liquid illuminator in one of my Mecca Beauty Loop boxes, and I was thrilled to see it because I'd been wanting to try it and had almost bought it a couple of times: I'd seen it raved about on youtube and I'd planned to buy it once I'd knocked off the illuminators I'd included in Project Pan. Don't you love it when something saves you a purchase?!

Even better, the inclusion saved me a bad purchase: I just don't like this product, and I've recently seen that I'm not the only one. More on all that below.

Josie Maran claims/product details:
  • A concentrated liquid illuminiser that injects radiance, luminosity and dimension to the complexion
  • Brings an inner glow to skin 
  • Champagne illuminessence mimics the natural radiance of healthy skin
  • A surge of hydration and nourishment is supplied to the skin through the inclusion of Argan oil, while Madonna Lily and Poet's Narcissus work to brighten and even skin
  • Now in a new and improved package
  • RRP $37 AUD for 15ml

Both this deluxe sample and the full size come in a glass bottle with a pump. I like having a pump but this one lets out too much product for a single application if you're spot-highlighting. The Becca ones do too, but I can squeeze those into a little pot and keep the excess for future applications. With this one I can't: if I do that, the excess dries overnight and becomes useless because it's impossible to apply and blend (I couldn't even use it for swatch purposes).

Below I've swatched it in natural light (outdoors), unblended on the left, partially blended in the middle and blended out on the right:

Same shot, direct sunlight:

And again, natural light (indoors):

Below I've shown what happens if you don't work quickly enough, because the product does dry down after a minute and it becomes hard to blend out (you can see the patchy bits where that centre blob has clumped up when I've tried to blend it):

There it is again, direct sunlight (it looks darker and golder here so it mightn't work for paler skintones):


This product doesn't work for me unfortunately, for reasons I'll go into below. I've gone so far as to give it a disappointing products tag, because I was expecting much more from it given the hype - plus I thought it would be more versatile (liquid highlighters usually are), but this one isn't and I've put it into Project Pan because I want to see the back of it sooner rather than later.

It's a golden illuminator that's quite concentrated and metallic, which some people will like but I'm not a fan of overly metallic products and I can't use this as a spot highlighter because it doesn't look natural on the skin. Even if I only use a little bit, my cheekbones look like they're wearing reflective gold helmets, which isn't the look I'm after. It emphasises texture too.

The consistency is also thicker than other liquid illuminators I've used, which means that it's harder to blend out (or at least it is for me), and it also dries down so you'll need to work with it reasonably quickly or you won't be able to sheer it out and it will clump up. For this reason I suggest working with one area at a time, rather than dabbing it where you want it all in one hit before working with each section. If you do that, the later sections may have dried too much before you can blend them.

Since I can't use this as a spot highlighter, I tried it mixed in with my foundation - but I didn't like it for that purpose either because it made my face look too shiny (and this is coming from someone who loves the look of glowy skin). This means the only way I can use it is to mix it in with my moisturiser, because by the time I add primer and my base product over the top, you can't see it so much.

Another thing to note is that this does contain noticeable glitter bits, so it doesn't just offer a sheen - you'll see flecks too. This mightn't be a problem for some but it will be for many, so I'd test this first because it mightn't be for you.

Also, I've seen a few people say that they can't use this as a spot highlighter because it lifts their foundation and turns it patchy. I haven't had this issue, but it's worth mentioning anyway because enough people have said this that it might be a common problem.

All in all, I don't like this product and I've given it a disappointing products tag. While I'll be able to use it beneath my foundation via Project Pan, it's not something I'm enjoying and I'm looking forward to finishing it so I can go back to Becca.

Not for me.

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