Friday, September 22, 2023

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Josie Maran Enters the OTC Clean Beauty Market With Argan Apothecary


Josie Maran is synonymous with argan oil, and now, the clean beauty pioneer is bringing the same approach to over-the-counter products targeting eczema.

Over-the-counter beauty products (OTC) means no prescription is required even though the products contain scientifically-proven medicinal benefits. Similar to antibiotic or cortisone creams you can purchase without prescriptions, Josie Maran’s new vegan beauty range, Argan Apothecary, aims to tackle sensitive skin issues, starting with eczema.

“This is a huge opportunity. I’ve been doing clean beauty for 14 years,” Maran said in a statement, “and it’s amazing that nobody is doing [clean OTC beauty]. We are planning on going big with [the category],” the founder and CEO  said.

Maran said inspiration for the product came as her stepdaughter struggled with eczema. The body butter also includes aloe leaf juice, shea butter, and argan oil, Maran’s signature ingredient.

Oatmeal skin benefits

The new product, the Intensive Daily Repair Body Butter, contains 0.8 percent of colloidal oatmeal—an FDA-approved ingredient for dry skin. The targeted nutrient can help to soothe skin irritated by eczema and serve as a protective barrier.

“Intensive Daily Repair Body Butter is a transformative, plant-based, air-whipped body butter that delivers quick relief to irritation and itching due to extremely dry skin and eczema, while supporting a healthy skin microbiome,” reads the product description. “Free from steroids, cortisones, petroleum, fragrance, or harsh synthetic ingredients, this daily moisturizer borrows from nature’s mastery and uses prescription-grade colloidal oatmeal to relieve irritation and itching, as well as skin-memetic Argan Oil which helps repair and protect skin. With regular use, skin is restored back to its calmest, happiest state.”

Image courtesy Melisa di Rocco on Unsplash

A 2015 peer-reviewed study found colloidal oatmeal diminished pro-inflammatory cytokines in vitro, and topically, oat skin protectant lotion showed significant clinical improvements in skin dryness, scaling, roughness, and itch intensity.

Colloidal oatmeal is featured in other eczema-targeted products including those from Aveeno and Honest Beauty. Unlike other products aimed at reducing skin inflammation, Maran’s Intensive Daily Repair Body Butter does not contain steroids or other harsh ingredients that can cause reactions.

Maran says in independent clinical trials, 100 percent of participants saw improvements in skin that was dry, red, and flaky after just two weeks of use. All participants also said their skin showed improved hydration after just one use.

Another independent study saw 96 percent of users say the OTC product brought immediate moisturizing to dry, flaky skin; 99 percent say their skin felt soothed. Ninety-four percent said they felt relief from minor irritation from eczema and said it minimized the appearance of red, irritated skin.

Argan oil

While colloidal oatmeal is the hero ingredient in Maran’s new formula, it’s based on her signature ingredient, argan oil. Made from the kernels that grow on the argan trees throughout Morocco, argan oil has topical and internal benefits, namely to improve the health of skin, hair, and nails. Maran was one of the first brands to highlight the oil. It’s been used for centuries to protect skin from sun damage—an important consideration in the warm North African climate.

Argan oil has also been widely regarded as an effective treatment for a number of skin issues including acne, wounds, infections, dermatitis, and stretch marks. It’s also praised for its moisturizing and anti-aging benefits.

Argan is almost exclusively harvested and manufactured by women, making it a target for Fair Trade efforts to empower and support the communities.

The Guardian reported on the argan industry in 2015, particularly how responsible sourcing efforts support the women behind the oil. “Women regain the capacity to decide, to manage their income and to invest in the future by sending their children to school,” Professor Zoubida Charrouf of the Université Mohammed V-Agdal in Rabat, said. According to Charrouf, women can earn as much as $250 a month, plus bonuses, and that can give them more financial independence.

Dana Elemara founder of argan oil distributor Arganic told The Guardian the argan oil trade “has made changes that will have an influence over the way that society sees women there.”

Sensitive skin

Sensitive skin represents a growing segment of the beauty industry.

According to a 2019 study, approximately 70 percent of the population consider themselves prone to sensitive skin issues, with about 50 percent of these patients demonstrating uncomfortable symptoms.

“The reality is that the modern environment we live in is full of stressors and allergens, which can cause more reactive skin. Hormonal changes and high levels of stress can lead to skin becoming more sensitized, as well,” founder of the eponymous skincare brand Tata Harper told Glossy last year.

The Intensive Daily Repair Body Butter will be available on Sephora, Ulta and at

You can shop it now.


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