Californian-born Josie Maran has racked up plenty of high profile jobs over the span of her long and fruitful career. From gracing three consecutive Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues to serving as the face of Maybelline cosmetics, it is a wonder how the busy mother of two managed to add founding a natural beauty company to the list.

Her Josie Maran Cosmetics line focuses on creating high quality, all-natural, and cruelty-free skincare and beauty products with a common key ingredient—argan oil. Argan oil has been used for cosmetic, medicinal, and culinary purposes for centuries by the Berber people.

More recently, the western beauty industry has been let in on the secret of this miracle oil—which is loaded with essential fatty acids and Vitamin E to help nourish skin, hair and cuticles. Traditionally, nuts from the majestic argan tree—a symbol of Morocco—are manually cold-pressed for the collection of their precious oil.

Demand for argan oil has been so high that the Moroccan government organized several women’s co-ops to increase production. The process, albeit labour-intensive, has been made immaculate by the women of southwestern Morocco—the only region of the world to which the argan tree is native. In return for their unparalleled performance, they receive just compensation, good working conditions, and even benefits—including free reading and writing classes.

The latter is particularly crucial when one considers the gaping disparity—nearly 26 percent—between adult female and male literacy rates in Morocco. Additionally, being able to pull one’s financial weight in the household upholds Moroccan women’s overall self-image in a longstanding patriarchal society. On top of cold-pressing, women in these argan co-ops also work to replenish forests of any lost trees. Argan oil is thus a wholly sustainable product that respects the rights of those behind its production—allowing users to attain a soft, glowing complexion as angelic as their environmentally and globally conscious purchase.

While numerous cosmetic companies fill their products with hazardous chemicals that damage the planet and hail from questionable production methods, Maran pushes the envelope in rising above the status quo. While countless beauty campaigns sell goods by preying upon women’s insecurities, Maran’s company is literally fueled by female empowerment. It is as Maran once famously stated, “I believe in balance. I believe that doing the right thing can be glamorous. I believe in beauty without the baggage.”

– Melrose Huang

Sources: Josie Maran Cosmetics, Today, Elizabeth Street, Trading Economics

Photo: Go4Celebrity