January 19, 2011

Josie Maran Matchmaker Argan Serum Foundation Review, Swatches, Photos

I do think the idea of “color” matching foundation formulas sounds cool but end up making us laugh a little. Foundation that magically turns into our perfect shade? Mmm always skeptical when it comes to these product eh? Almay does one as does a few other companies. In some cases they can work if they actually match your skin tone however in most cases, let’s be honest, they prob aren’t that perfect match we are seeking. Considering blushes and lipsticks also embrace this technology and fail at it, is it really any wonder that foundations can’t cut it either?

Josie Maran Matchmaker Argan Serum Foundation is the newest product to embrace this “technology” with a breakthrough color match technology that supposedly reads and instantly adjusts to match to your skin tone for your own unique shade of foundation!

Does it work?

A color matching foundation serum that magically adjusts to your skin tone!

Dry skin users will adore the texture and formula of this foundation as it’s infused with Josie’s Argan Oil so you get a very smooth, hydrating feel that eases dryness and applies beautifully smooth without looking patchy or dry. My own skin is rather dry and absolutely loves this formula. It’s a lightweight foundation with a runny formula not so much creamy but more serum-like. It starts off white (if you look close at my swatch below you can see it’s white but has tiny little dots which resemble pepper, this is actually the pigment waiting to burst into the serum once you put it on your skin) but it quickly turns as you apply it to your skin. I tried out the Light/Medium which turns into a really bad shade of orange, beige…tell you more about that later. There’s also a medium/dark available which I haven’t tried, but I am curious to hear what color this changes if anyone has tried it.

The foundation came with a brush as I purchased from QVC but normally doesn’t come with one. I applied one small pump for each side of my face onto the brush and “painted” on. The pump applicator works a treat as it flows easily and just the right amount pumps out so no tricky problems with this bottle. I wouldn’t suggest a sponge or fingers here as a sponge will absorb easily and fingers won’t get the same flawless finish that a brush gets so I do recommend the brush for application!

Several problems here….

First off the color is very off. At first I thought it matched perfectly as I have a bit of beige in my skin however it turns very orange-y beige, not pretty to say the least. If you purchase this and you have creamy, fair skin this will probably come across really badly.

Secondly, it absorbs really fast without leaving much in the way of color behind. The color it does leave behind is orange-y and off plus makes my skin look tired and dull.

And thirdly, it pretty much feels and looks like you have no foundation on at all. Granted feeling like you have nothing on is great but looking like, well, not so much! I wear a good base to even out my skin tone and make my dull skin look fresher and lively however this does none of those things sadly.

  • Those who like orange shades of foundation (hey, Snooki likes it, I bet there are others that like the shade too ha!).
  • Those looking for lightweight, minimal coverage foundation!
  • Those with dry skin!

  • Those who do not fall in the realms of orange skin tone.
  • Those who need long wear coverage.
  • Those who need coverage to hide problem areas such as acne, skin disorders, etc…(this is very subtle in the pigment department).

I love the formula behind this and adore the idea however it failed to work for me sadly. I do urge you to check it out at your local Sephora as it might just turn the perfect shade for you however on me it was a bad shade of orange. I think I would have considered it a great product if it wasn’t for the very wrong shade I was sporting when I wore it. I’m not much for the Snooki, Oompa Loompa look!

Anyone try?

Do share your experience with Josie Maran Matchmaker Argan Serum Foundation!

I’d love to hear about it!

Available at www.qvc.com and www.sephora.com

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • Jojo

    Hi muse, I got the same results! It’s way too dark and way too orange for a light/med color. It just won’t work no matter what I do, and I also agree that it does not cover but that also could be contributed from the totally off color for normal skintone. I do see lots of great reviews and love JM products myself, not sure how this one got to the store. I noticed the orangeness on the model while watching this on QVC and I bought it anwyay just because I love her stuff. So dissapointed! Her tinted moisturizer is much better and seriously this product does not even need to be in the line.

    • the Muse

      glad I’m not alone jojo! I really wanted it to work but the shade was WAY too orange 🙁 I loved the TM but this was a big fail sadly!

    • tiger’s milk moustache

      it comes in three tones: fair/light, light to med and then med to dark. i used the med to dark with the korres primer underneath and it matches my skin perfectly. i have combination skin/ oily t zone and i believe the primer is what helps it to last longer. I am black with light skin and find it difficult to match foundation. it would always look too orange,yellow or red on my face. I was quite surprised with how well it matched my skin.

      I absolutely love this foundation and hopes she sticks around for awhile. 🙂

  • neutralgirl

    Man that is a bummer. I’ve heard nothing but bad reviews of this and I really wanted to get it. I kinda have a girlcrush on Josie and keep hoping her products will make me look like her…lol Fat chance I know but a girl can hope.

  • Lisa

    i really love all of josie maran’s products but after this, i know the light/medium color is way too orange for me! jersey shore anyone?
    btw muse is there any good taiwanese/korean/japanese serum u recommend?

          • Lisa

            haha sorry i meant combination skin.. that’s what i have. i said combo for short

          • the Muse

            ok..? but you just wrote combo so not sure what you needed? sorry totally confuddled lol just shooting me off a random sentence that says combination or combo kinda leaves me confused?! ;-D

          • Lisa

            thats cool.i was just answering your question, since you asked “type of skin”for the serum i wanted you to recommend sorry if i was confusing you..but here’s another shot: do u have any recommendations of asian brand serums that fit for combination skin type? 🙂

          • the Muse

            ahh ok lisa throwing me a single word and saying COMBO! kinda makes me scratch my head and wonder what it is you are saying or asking or responding too lol. I get a bit too many comments and forget who I am talking to sometimes DOH! ;-D what sort of serum are you looking for anti-aging!?

  • Bunnie

    I am always suspicious of those “shade-matching” foundations. Too bad that this turned yucky orange, I was so excited to see the title “argan serum foundation”!
    Though the Revlon skin-matching foundation turned out well for me and do offer more shades than just light-med and med-dark.

    • the Muse

      bunnie I was quite excited ’bout it too, formula is actually quite nice on my dry skin but damn it’s orange as hell!

  • Beautiful Canvas

    Ohh, I stay away from color matching foundation. How is that possible?

    Btw, congrats of being on the NYT, how exciting!

    • the Muse

      ha beautiful ;-D I guess we can officially say it doesn’t work ;-D FAIL!

      aw thanks! really chuffed proper ’bout that!

  • Beautlfull

    i am so excited to try this foundation, when i went into sephora the only shade available was the light/medium! looking orange is never good! hopefully i have a better experience! i’ll keep you posted! xx

  • Hellokitty

    I actually bought the light medium shade and I love it! I have both pink and yellow undertones and I guess that’s why it works for me. I tried the medium dark as well and THAT was orange on my skin. The coverage is decent but doesn’t last the whole day but it really makes me feel beautiful especially during this winter season when my skin is so dry and flaky. Definitely try it in the store first before buying and good luck to all the lovely ladies out there who are interested!

  • Vyvyan

    I just bought this, and it matches very well. And no, I am not orange in any way, shape, or form. I am Asian, tho, so I do have yellow undertones, but I’m on the fairer side of the spectrum. I also live in Hawai’i, tho, so I always have a bit of a tan, no matter the sunscreen level. It’s much better in texture than Almay’s variation.
    Try it out first, everyone, then decide.

  • DivaDebbi

    Hey Muse!
    Thanks for this honest review…so happy I hit the click button looking for a review before I just purchased this. I do LOVE JM products, but I will skip this, for sure.

    Every day, I spray a bit of her Argan Priming mist in my palm and then mix it with a little Bobbie Brown foundation and Sircuit Soleil Bronzer. The glow is amazing. I thought this would save me a step.

    Adding you to my Blogroll asap!


    • the Muse

      Hi Debbie nice to meet you, my pleasure. I like her products as well but this one didn’t really do the trick sadly. It turned very orange on me and faded way quick!

  • Nicola

    Hey i just bought this from sephora and I found it matched my skin tone amazingly. I got the Medium/dark foundation and it turned out exactly right for me.

    It’s not for everyone if your going to buy this product test it out first. It’s really good for dry skin though.

  • cincin

    I bought the light/medium shade and it matches my skin really well. I am Asian and slightly tanned and I love the way it feels on my skin; goes on very smoothly too. I have acne and I find the coverage is okay for my needs. I just dab a bit more on where I need it. It has a nice and natural finish too; not too dewy or too matte. So far I think it’s great! It’s too bad it didn’t work for you.

  • Ruthie

    Hi. First time reader! I just received a sample of this foundation and I gotta say after reading reviews it wasn’t so hopeful. However I have tried on the med/dark and have fallen in love!! I been looking for a foundation that will match my skin color for a long time and I have finally found it. This tone did not turn orange but magically matched my skin. I have a bad combo oily/dry skin and it made it look great. I was hoping it would last more than 6 hours on 🙁 but overall great coverage on my end!

  • Melissa

    Hi. I myself am a first time reader. I have the light/med on my third
    bottle actually. I get great coverage with this color and in the winter
    months it mosturizes. However, it does make my skin look a little lighter
    i have to ad a powder bronzer to my skin so i don’t look so white.

    I wanted to try the med/dark. Anyone out there who has tryed it what is your skin tone? And what color to you normally wear in a differant foundation?

    • Sana

      I’ve had this foundation for about 4 months but only now started using it. I use med/dark, and it’s amazing. It adjusts to the exact colour of my skin. I’ve only ever used two other foundations which were the Laura Mercier Mineral Foundation in Classic Beige and her liquid foundation in Suntan Beige. If that helps!

      Overall, lovely foundation, but I could definitely see it working better on deeper skin tones.

  • Suzanne

    Love all the Samples Sephora offers…the sample of Josie Maran’s Argan Matchmaker Serum Foundation was among thier special Holiday sample offers. So today in a pinch I tried it. There were 2 shades in the sampe, I tried light/medium…I have olive (not orange skin…LOL) skin tone, I did not use a bush or special applicator (not a huge fan of them) just used my finger tips. I am very impressed…Loved it! it goes on smooth, did not feel heavy, and YES the color DID match! It looked natural, even coverage- even covered a little pink blochy spot. Big plus it helped control oily (t zone ) spots on my face too (it’s been 4 hours and I still don’t need to blot or powder touch up) SO All in all I loved it and even at $42 a bottle (your really only need a very small amount too… I will get it.

  • Denise B.

    I was very intrigued by this after seeing it presented on QVC. Fortunately I waited until I could try it in person at Sephora; Light/Medium turned immediate Oompa Loompah Orange on me! Fair/Light, however, is perfect. I wanted the brush too, though, so when Easy Pay Day rolled around a few weeks ago, I ordered it. I am wearing it today for the first time. First impression: it feels delicious. I applied it with my fingers, after first putting on moisturizer and primer. The coverage is VERY light. As in my freckles are showing light. I applied It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores powder over it. It’s a nice fresh look for day. Whether I continue to use it will depend on how my skin reacts to it. I do like how hydrating it is on my middle aged combination skin.

  • Mackenzie

    I tried this in the stores but from hearing the mixed reviews I was not willing to spend nearly $50 on something that “may” work. HOWEVER, I have recently started using the ULTA Skin Matching foundation and it seems to do what the Josie M. should do. I am very pale with pink undertones and love this, AND I got it and a tinted moisturizer for $5 a piece.

  • DN

    Very late response to this post…but I absolutely love it. However, I have extremely fair/porcelain skin, so I used the Fair/Light shade, which wasn’t orange at all. I have pink undertones and have a hard time finding something that isn’t too yellow for my skin. This was perfect. I’ve never had a foundation work with my skin tone so perfectly. Based on reviews it sounds like those with medium to dark tones won’t like it, but I encourage anyone who is very fair to give it a shot.

    I also encourage anyone who is interested in trying it to go to Sephora and ask for a sample. They will happily give you a few days’ worth so you can try it before you commit. That’s how I discovered it.

  • Denise

    Since buying the liquid I have also purchased the Josie Maran Matchmaker Powder Foundation in Fair/Light. I layer it over the liquid and LOVE the coverage and finish!

  • cassia

    Hey, I use it in color fair/light and it looks absolutely divine on my skin. No yellow color at all. And I really love it.


  • Jamie

    I currently use this product every day and I think it is seriously the best foundation ever made! And I’m no stranger to testing tons of different types and brands. I think your problem is that you went to dark in your shade. I would say I typically have light to medium skin, but I bought the Fair shade. If my skin ever starts looking too white I’ll bump up to this shade, but I honestly think this is too dark. I also apply it with my fingers very sparingly and use two layers (it’s buildable) It takes a few minutes to set into your skin tone and you have to spread it well. I hope you will give it a go with a lighter shade. This is a terrible review for such a great product. Josie Maran is amazing!

  • Heidi

    I just tried this in sample form, and I LOVE IT. I have the fair shade…I cannot believe how smooth my skin feels. I love that it moisturizes but doesn’t feel heavy or oily, and dries with a nice matte finish. It absorbs so nicely! I was a little doubtful of how well the “magical” color matching technology worked; I’ve tried the Almay one and was not happy with the results. But this truly is magical! Such light coverage to make your skin look even and flawless. Perfect for those “good-skin-but-still-need-to-even-my-complexion-out” days. My only complaint is that now that I know how much I love it, I HAVE to put the money into buying it! 🙂

  • Erika

    I tried this as a sample from Sephora and loved it from the first minute it touched my skin. Regular foundations tend to cake and move on my oily skin. I have wrinkles from sun damage in my youth (I’m 31) as well. Even the best tinted moiaturizers tend to sink into my fine lines and make them more noticeable throughout the day. I’ve been looking for a replacement for the Origina Vitazing moisturizer, which I really enjoy the color of, but it leavs my skin very greasy throught the day. So I am used to a product that goes on white and turns to a glowy brightening effect with tint on my skin. I used the “patting” technique to put this on with my fingers: use a couple drops on the first two fingers of each hand, deposit it over my cheeks, forehead, and nose. Then I go back and pat – not run or spread – this into my skin, concentrating on the innermost part of my face first, working it out towards my hair and jaw line for blended, natur coverage. I used Mac Mineral Skinfinish Natural over my t-zone and a blush/bronzer/highlighter over my cheekbones. This product is so soft and felt so good over my oily skin. I am so glad I tried it! I use the light/medium color and it doesn’t look orange at all. I highly recommend it with finger application. I hope it works as well for others as it does for me!

  • Cereeb

    At 54 I am new to wearing a foundation. With fair, sensitive and dry skin I have had problems over the years with every foundation I have tried. I can’t believe it has taken me this long to find a foundation that I can tolerate…feels great, and the light/medium is perfect on my fair skin…no orange tones at all! I am thrilled with this product!!!

  • Raras

    You probably got the wrong shade. There’s a Light/Fair shade that suits caucasian complexions better. The Light/Medium shade is for Latinas/Asians I think.

  • Sky

    I love all Josie’s products especially this one.
    It moisturizes and keeps me looking healthy and glowing.
    Argan oil is the secret.

    love, love, love it.