If you’re a fan of a natural, no-makeup makeup look, or of the women (read mastermind) herself, Bobbi Brown’s new makeup line is going to be right up your alley. As a fan of both, this beauty launch is one of the most exciting in a long time, and comes with high expectations. I’m taking a deep dive into every product and how I’ve been using them. Come for the first impressions and overload of images, stay for the Bobbi Brown fan-girling. Let’s take a stroll down the beauty that is Jones Road.
Fans of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics may associate Bobbi with the department store staple, but she has long since departed the iconic brand. Jones Road is an entirely separate start-up from the makeup artist and entrepreneur. The aesthetic may be a little different, but what hasn’t changed is a focus on making women look their best, while looking most themselves. I’ve often seen Bobbi quoted as saying nothing is more beautiful on a woman than confidence. Jones Road is the sort of makeup gives you that bit more confidence. Yes it’s called miracle balm, but it’s not marketing spin. This makeup is easy to use and put simply; it just makes you look good. Better. It’s makeup that enhances, but doesn’t cover. It shows off what is best and unique to you.
In this way, there are similarities to the early staples of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. When I think of the classics; corrector and concealer, a touch of thin eyeliner, a wash of black mascara, a sweep of Shimmer Brick, a dab of Ballet Sparkle…its makeup to define and enhance your features. With my beloved Pot Rouge sitting beside a pot of Miracle Balm I can’t help but notice the evolution of Bobbi’s creations. They’re not strangers, but Jones Road is very much the wiser big sister. If you’ve grown up with Bobbi Brown but grown out of the heavy, Insta-beauty of the last decade, Jones Road is for you. Pot Rouge now has a cleaner, more sheer and luminescent sibling in Miracle Balm, one thats environmentally minded and very 2020.
Jones Road Beauty products are “clean” formulations. Readers of this blog will know I’m not a fan of this marketing term, as I wrote about Victoria Beckham Beauty, but I am a fan of the intention behind it. Clean, as used here, doesn’t mean completely natural (ie, free of synthetics), but that they’ve eliminated a number of ingredients they consider potentially harmful. The EU already has stringent regulations governing cosmetic formulations, and Jones Road have taken it further by eliminating “over 2,700 potentially harmful ingredients” as well as parabens, phthalates, sulfates, petrolatum, PEGs, cyclic silicones, EDTA, or BPA. For a longer list of what they leave out, check out Question 1 of the Jones Road FAQ. This extra step they’ve taken is a great move forward in consciously crafted beauty and stands behind the integrity of Bobbi herself. As if you needed another reason to worship.
If you’re already a fan of consciously formulated beauty – yes I’m resisting using the clean term – you may be familiar with brands like RMS, Kjaer Weis, Manasi 7, Ilia, and Westman Atelier. There are similarities across some of these brands in terms of product type and packaging. Think lots of cream, glowy products in little pots and pans. In fact, the beloved luminizers and cream cheek colours of RMS would happily share a table with Jones Road Miracle Balm. But they are different. Miracle Balm is something unique.
When I tuned in to Bobbi’s Masterclass, I poured over a number of clips where she applied this glowing, bronzy light onto the model’s skin, all from a round, white pot. I would rewind, fast-forward, pause, zoom in, scour over the product pages but to no avail. She remained suspiciously silent on Instagram DM requests for details. This mystery product remained nameless until just a couple of weeks ago when Miracle Balm debuted on Instagram.
There was some confusion among commenters; how to use it, which shade to use, what is it? It’s absolutely not a foundation or tinted moisturiser. Think of it as a lightly tinted, sheer highlighting balm. Really sheer. Not obviously shimmery, it provides its luminescence from the moisturising, balmy texture. It can also act as your cream blush or bronzer, and an overall skin face tint.
Miracle Balm instantly became a product that I dread being discontinued. I need this in my makeup bag for life. Those with especially dry skin may enjoy this pressed onto all areas of the face but I prefer it applied locally – think cheekbones, bridge of the nose and sides of the temples above the brows. I like it equally on bare skin and layered above a light foundation. When I apply Miracle Balm as my first step I find I need less makeup overall – reaching only for a little concealer under my eyes and on areas of redness. Once I’ve got a hint of colour and a touch of glow, I’m ready for the day. It creates the appearance – and feel – of youthful, hydrated, radiant skin.
So often what makes skin appear dull or aged is simply dehydration – or an excess of powder. Miracle Balm brings the skin to life. It’s like that I’ve just had a facial plumptious look. It even has a spa-like fragrance.
If you’ve ever felt that 3pm dryness from an air conditioned office this balm is the trick. Likewise if you’re a frequent flyer – pandemic pending – and suffer that tight, mid-air dehydration, reach for Miracle Balm. I’ve often rubbed a dollop of face cream between my palms and pressed it onto my face mid afternoon to refresh my base – or to correct my foundation when too matte or cakey. If you’re similarly inclined, Miracle Balm is your new friend. If you have especially oily, or teen skin (aka the authentic youthful glow), this may not be your jam because it does remain dewy on the skin. It’s not tacky to the touch, but it’s definitely there.
Despite being fair skinned, I love the Bronze shade to warm up my complexion. It gives instant summer, beachy vibes. I apply it a little higher on my cheekbones than a powder bronzer, across my nose and on my forehead for a sun-kissed look. The colour isn’t at all too orange and is forgivingly sheer. The balm itself is firm to the touch in the generously sized pot, which allows for haphazard swirling of the fingertips. This isn’t fussy makeup. I use Bronze very much as I do Chanel’s Golden Light Baume Essentiel – the dewy bronze highlighting stick. While the Chanel may not tick the “clean” box, it is a touch stronger on the tint, but also much lighter on the moisturisation. I’d reserve Chanel’s just for the bronzing areas whereas you could use Miracle Balm all over. Nevertheless, it’s a good option if you find the never-quite-set texture of Miracle balm just too balmy.
Dusty Rose is likewise beautiful applied on the apples of the cheek as a hint of rosy blush. It can work on all complexions but deep skin tones will likely find the tint too subtle. It’s also a nice, but extremely understated, tinted lip balm if you’re down with the relatively strong fragrance and taste. Tawny is deeper and more red in tone than Bronze, but as Miracle Balm is such a sheer formula you can’t really go wrong with shade choice. When I’ve applied self tan, I use Tawny in the same way I ordinarily apply Bronze. The slightly red tone often gives a more authentic sun-kissed look. But if you have a lot of redness or rosacea-prone skin, I would avoid Tawny and choose Bronze. For the most part, all three shades are versatile and almost universally usable and flattering, so don’t stress too much over your checkout choices.
If you’re not a makeup wearer but all about skincare, or just a fan of colourless cream highlighting, Au Natural is an un-tinted option that gives all the same glow and moisturising benefits. A hint of glow on the brow bone does wonders when you’re looking tired or feeling dull. If you like a glossy eye look, a touch on the eyelids isn’t at all gloopy. Rub some on the backs of your hands for instant hydration post sanitiser, or use on dry cuticles and chapped lips. The main take-away from Miracle Balm is that it’s sheer. In fact sheer might just be the word to describe Jones Road Beauty in general. The tint is very subtle; think more dewy, skin perfecting balm – a skincare/makeup hybrid – than a colour makeup product.
Jojoba seed oil and argan seed oil are stars among other emollient ingredients like castor seed oil and beeswax. Capric Triglyceride, usually made from combining coconut oil with glycerin is also present as are Coconut Alkanes. Although widely used, anything coconut-oil is contentious in complexion products – just ask Chanel after they reformulated their much loved Soleil Tan De Chanel last year. I find the barrier-like qualities of many of these ingredients benefit my skin but those with a particular aversion will need to tread carefully. If you’re not on friendly terms with oils or other ingredients, don’t be scared off. Rather than slathering your entire face in Miracle Balm try it out repetitively in one area to determine any reaction on your skin.
I’ve talked less about packaging and luxe appeal than usual because Jones Road – especially in terms of Miracle Balm – is very paired back and basic. But it’s all in a 2020 purposeful way. You also get a lot of product. If I could change one thing it would be to stick a round mirror into the inside of the lid. Why are so many cream/balm compacts missing a mirror these days? RMS, I’m looking at you and your Luminizer Quad. Yes, Miracle Balm is a sheer formula that can be applied haphazardly, but the wasted lid space is a wasted opportunity in my opinion and an in-lid mirror would streamline a travel makeup bag nicely.
While we wait for the full drop of products, a Start-up Kit of four products got the ball rolling.
I’ve never been particularly excited about an eye pencil, but a black liner is a makeup bag staple. The Best Pencil fits the bill; not too hard and not too soft, it also smudges really well. It’s kind of perfect. I generally reach for a bronze shade, but The Best Pencil in Black does the job of defining eyes without complaint and suits a universal demographic. In future, being able to customise your own start-up kit would earn major points – hint hint, Jones Road. The one disappointment? The packaging doesn’t wow, in the way that a Victoria Beckham pencil does, but feels more utilitarian.
I’m not raving about the single-pan Best Eyeshadow in Dark Brown, mainly because of just how dark it is. It is good for lining and smudging across the eyelid. Blended all over the lid the shade looks almost charcoal – great if you’re a fan of a full smokey eye look, less so if you like it natural. It’s big for a single shadow, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for more shade options. It’s said you could use Dark Brown as a brow powder – but this will work only on very dark brows.
The fair skinned among us, and those who like a brighter eye may prefer the Just A Sec Eye Tint in Golden Peach. This formula feels remarkably pillowy and bouncy to the touch and the colour is a universally flattering gold shimmer. The texture is unique; not quite a cream, but definitely not a powder. It’s also not as crumbly as other clean eyeshadow pots.
Again, it’s a very, very sheer formula that adds sparkle and brightens without looking done up. It takes quite a few layers to amp this up to dramatic, but that’s not really the Jones Road look anyway. Wear it alone, or layer on top of shadow. It’s beautiful. And if you stalk, or rather peruse Jones Road and Bobbi’s Instagram profiles you’ll catch a glimpse of more shades of Just A Sec to come very soon. Start your countdowns.
Rounding out the kit, there’s a Cool Gloss in 02 Original. Old school tube packaging brings back 90s lip gloss memories for me, in the form of MAC’s Lip Glass and Lancôme’s later Juicy Tubes. But the packaging is where the nostalgia ends because this formula is completely new. This is not your typical gloopy gloss.
Lip gloss is having a moment right now. Cool Gloss isn’t at all sticky, but feels balmy and luscious. But it’s not balmy in the way Lisa Eldridge’s Gloss Embrace formula feels. Where Lisa’s are highly pigmented and buttery, Cool Gloss feels more slippery on the lips and the colours are once again, sheer. No makeup, makeup – remember? If you weren’t a fan of lip gloss before, Cool Gloss may well convert you.
There’s an obvious peppermint oil fragrance and flavour so haters steer clear. It’s not my preference but the minty zing does settle down and leaves a noticeable and welcome cooling effect. Cool Gloss was originally released in five shades but I’m happy to see two additional colours have recently dropped. Pink Gold Shimmer and Golden Shimmer are definitely on my Christmas list while I dream of a cool toned light pink option.
I picked up 03 Poppy Red, which isn’t nearly as bright and scary on the lips as it appears in the tube. Here’s that word again; sheer. These glosses are very forgiving and once on the lips offer just a touch of colour and shine. Poppy Red is a vibrant flush of colour but your natural lips still peek through. I.e, you don’t have to be a red lipstick person to wear this.
I’m also enjoying 05 Mocha Shimmer, but it’s a touch browner than expected. If you want a slightly pinker nude, choose 01 Nude Beige, which is sparkle free. Mocha Shimmer is a rich, milky coffee brown, with hints of gold and pink sparkle – pretty. Again the sheerness of the formula means it wears very nude and natural – with that hint of luminescent shimmer.
Finally, the mascara. Perhaps the most unexciting yet effective of all makeup products. I’m loyal to just a couple of mascaras. I generally favour a waterproof formula solely to prevent it transferring beneath my eyes. I make an exception for Chantecaille’s. I like something separating, lifting, lengthening and if it clumps, it’s out of here. My lashes need to feel soft to the touch and look fluttery – no spidery lashes allowed. Not demanding at all, right?
The Mascara in Ultra Opaque is surprisingly good. The brush is big, which takes some getting used to and I’m still cleaning up my eyelids after application. The curved wand is a plus. Without much effort you’ll get separated, non clumpy, soft-to-the-touch black lashes. There is a noticeable fragrance that I’m not keen on, for those that go around smelling mascara tubes. Given that clean mascara is reportedly one of the hardest products to create, this is a winner if you’re wanting to switch to a clean formula.
If you’ve made it to the end, or skipped to the highlight reel, here’s the low-down:
If you like a dewy skin look, and are partial to a cream or balm highlighter, you’re going to love Miracle Balm. The oversized pot packaging is fun, fuss free, and has makeup-artist finger paint appeal. Young, older, male, female; anyone can find this skincare balm useful – just don’t be expecting it to cover or conceal. For that, we’re waiting on complexion pencils expected in 2021. My top pick from the Starter Kit is without doubt Just A Sec. I’ll be eagerly adding to cart on 17th November when additional shades (and the new Sparkle Wash glitter eyeshadows) are released.
Sadly, Jones Road is currently only shipping within the US. They’re no doubt working on international regulations and postage options, but it’s a shame this couldn’t have been settled pre-launch. Such is life often in the start-up beauty game.
I’m such a fan of Bobbi Brown and the aesthetic and authenticity she brings to the beauty industry. This doesn’t feel like a just because brand launch but the result of a true passion for innovative cosmetics. You only have to read Bobbi’s interviews over the years or listen to her recent podcast, to gather that sense of trust in her – and her knowledge and expertise. She’s going to steer you right, and get you looking your best. I so admire the way Bobbi supports other entrepreneurs, gives opportunities to young people at the beginning of their journey, and how she sees a woman’s natural beauty. When buying new beauty products, it’s so refreshing to feel like the person behind it has your back.
This line feels truthful, transparent, purposeful, simplified – and perfect for our time. From the brief but accurate product descriptions free of unnecessary spin, the no-frills video tutorials, to the edited product line and universal shade range, trust Bobbi to find the space that was missing in beauty and package it up so perfectly. Looks like I’ll be retiring my Pot Rouge and Shimmer Brick and moving forward with Miracle Balm by my side.
Find Jones Road exclusively at Jones Road Beauty
Listen to Bobbi’s Beyond The Beauty podcast all about Jones Road.
Feeling nostalgic? Read about the Bobbi Brown Cosmetics I’ve used and loved.