Is Jones Road No-Makeup Makeup Worth The Hype? We Review.
This review is not sponsored and contains the author’s personal experience. The Good Trade was gifted this product. The Good Trade editors endorse products we’ve personally researched, tested, and genuinely love. Learn more about our methodology and business model here.
I’ve always had one of those faces that is drastically different with makeup. If I don’t make the effort to draw out my features, people have often assumed that I am unwell—more than once, when I went out bare-faced and ran into people who were used to seeing me fully made up, they’d put their hands to their chests with concern. “Oh! Are you sick? Are you okay?” This prompted an exhausting compulsion to do the whole shebang—foundation, blush, eyeshadow, liner, mascara, brows—every single day, even if I was only running to the store or the gym (did I used to put on makeup to go work out? Yes, yes I did). A number of skin concerns like acne and rosacea kept me in foundation, powders, and concealers (not to mention an arsenal of skin products) for decades.
It took a pandemic and becoming a new mother to break me of my daily makeup habit. Spending months at home changed my relationship with what it means to “get ready.” More concerned with face masks and hand sanitizers, not to mention diaper bags and bottles, putting on foundation seemed bananas—it was just going to smear onto my mask, and no one could tell anyway. So without even noticing it, I just stopped.
And then a funny thing happened. Preparing for a Zoom one day, I put on what I used to wear to the office, and I looked in the mirror and flinched. It looked like stage makeup, something clownishly over-the-top. What I had thought was a “natural look” seemed suddenly garish and excessive. So I did something I could never have imagined before: I washed it all off. It turns out, there wasn’t anything wrong with my face—I just wasn’t used to it. But going months without doing my usual makeup routine changed everything, and suddenly, I no longer wanted to change my face so much.
So began a hunt for clean, subtle beauty products that could give me a little polish here and there without warping what I look like. Anything promising to be a “no-makeup makeup” caught my eye. It wasn’t long before Jones Road Beauty got on my radar, specifically the Miracle Balm. Instagram ads that showed creator Bobbi Brown calling this the ultimate product that could replace everything from your moisturizer to your hair cream piqued my curiosity in a major way. Couple that with the killer reviews and the fact that their extremely curated selection of products are all clean and high performing had me hook, line, and sinker. When the opportunity came to review their goods, I jumped.
Here is my honest review:
What The Foundation– $44
What I’m looking for in a foundation is even, natural coverage—I want my skin to look like skin, but I also want my coloring and texture to appear even, smooth, and just shy of dewy—and a super easy, foolproof application. I’m always drawn to the products that show models just smearing it all over their faces with their hands (I am not the target audience for a contouring tutorial lol). Though this foundation does require some tools, the product itself has become a must-have for me.
First: this foundation is thick. This is a little off-putting when you imagine it as a makeup product only, but it is actually skincare—it’s technically a tinted moisture balm. Packed with nourishing ingredients like jojoba oil and sodium hyaluronate, it feels rich and luxurious on my skin. I only used the tiniest amount (what was on the protective lid, actually) for the first time and it gave me complete coverage. It has a lightly tacky texture that my hair kept catching in at first, but by the end of my routine it wasn’t a problem. The hue, (which I matched successfully online), the coverage, and the feel is really nice. There is a scent (what I would call “fancy department store makeup”), but it’s fairly light and I didn’t notice it after a few minutes.
My biggest concern about this foundation is how to keep it from getting contaminated with bacteria from my fingers since it’s in a little pot. You can buy a special spatula from Jones Road, but I am just using a face mask applicator that I already had—I simply wash it along with my hands when I’m done. I alternate between using a foundation brush and my fingers, depending on how lazy I’m feeling, and I’m happy with results either way.
The Miracle Balm– $38
If you’re on Instagram you’ve probably seen the ads for this stuff, and if I’m honest it was the product I was most looking forward to. In my opinion, it is a gamechanger—though there are some things you should know!
The balm is an all over, versatile product that can be used to moisturize and blur, or to add some color to your skin. Depending on the color and your skin type, it can replace your moisturizer, foundation, blush, and bronzer. (Bobbi even says she uses any leftover product to smooth flyaway hairs!). It comes in nine colors, with recommendations for both the desired effect and for skin hues. I went with “Flushed,” which is meant to provide exactly that—a light, naturally flushed and subtle sheen for all skin tones.
It comes in a wide, shallow tub that I think is going to last me for the rest of my life. It looks like a giant lip balm, but you can’t simply swipe a little bit and go. You *must* break the surface. The pigment will not be activated if it isn’t broken and rubbed into your fingers first. The texture is like hardened coconut oil, so be ready to apply a gentle pressure to really get in there, though it will quickly soften in your hands. There is a very faint, pleasantly citrusy scent. After rubbing it between the pads of your fingers, apply it to your skin in a gentle smoothing and patting motion (the brand provides a ton of videos demoing this). I saw that some people use brushes, but I wouldn’t unless it’s after everything is already on your face and you felt you needed to blend it further.
It is not, in my opinion, shimmery (whew!). There is a kind of glowy quality to it and the overall effect is a very healthy flush, just as promised. It feels sublime, and I love how it looks on my lips. I’m planning on purchasing it in both Au Natural and Magic Hour and then I think I will be set for life, because like the foundation, a little of this stuff goes a very long way.
TL;DR—this stuff is phenomenal, but definitely watch an application video.
As a Very Pale Person with rosacea, bronzer has always been one of those products that has completely eluded me. I just… I can’t figure it out. Am I trying to fake a tan? Or am I trying to change the shapes of my face? Contouring videos are my nightmare. I’ve tried a handful of powders and one or two sticks, but I always lack the confidence to use them and so after a few lackluster tries, they end up just gathering dust in my bathroom.
I was excited but skeptical to try the Jones Road bronzer, which is called The Bronzer. It is a translucent, buildable powder that is super forgiving for this less-than-confident user. In the past, I have gone to dust my brow bones and ended up with a terrifying copper streak that could not be blended or budged, but The Bronzer was subtle and chill. It’s not a hyperpigmented, aggressive product. It is easy to apply and blend, adding a light but noticeable touch of color. I actually ended up using it as a finishing powder, which helped to remove the tacky feeling of the foundation and stop my hair from sticking to my face. I was really happy with the final look of my skin!
This! Product! I used to love the Bobbi Brown mascara, but I felt like if I wanted really built up dramatic lashes then the cost was some clumping. But the Jones Road mascara is it. With a couple of coats I got a nicely defined lash line that instantly woke up my eyes, but I could also build up a very glamorous, sooty-looking lash without a clump in sight. And the real sell for me was after putting it through the wear-test ringer: I not only napped, but I ran in the stuff, and there was nary a streak nor smear! There wasn’t even that fine dust of crumbling that sometimes happens with clean mascaras by the end of the day. It was, dear reader, exactly as I’d left it. A clean, buildable mascara that looks the same from application to removal? (And is fairly easy to remove with a simple double cleanse?) Where’s the lifelong subscription button because I am in!
The Lip Tint–$26
I am a tinted lip balm fanatic. My lips are constantly dry but I look like a dead person without some color (it is truly astounding how colorless my lips can get; I look like I have a Victorian illness). But lipstick devotees know that if you aren’t careful you can end up in an endless cycle of products that dry your lips out further, until you have crusty, chapped lips that look and feel terrible with or without color.
This is the no-lipstick-lipstick I’ve been looking for. It goes on smooth with a nourishing, soft slickness that settles beautifully into my skin. Rich in castor oil and vitamin E, you can feel the nourishing, clean ingredients soaking into your lips. The colors are sheer and buildable, so you can go for a more vibrant look (like with pink rose) or a more subtle color (I tried nude rose) just to bring some life to your face. If you don’t exfoliate your lips already, definitely do so to get the best experience from this product. My extremely lazy advice is to get in the habit of brushing your lips after brushing your teeth with your toothbrush. *shrug* Sure, you can do a lip mask or a coffee/sugar scrub, or you can save your lemon peels and rub those across your mouth. Do you. Just do something—your lips will thank you.
The Cleansing Stick–$34
I looooooove a stick: stick face masks are my absolute go-to, so I couldn’t wait to get my paws on this cleanser.
It is beautiful to look at when you first open it: a totally clear, gel-like dome that you just know you’re going to ruin with makeup. I used it in the shower, which did cause the consistency to soften and melt, so I wouldn’t necessarily recommend keeping it in there. The website says to rub it directly over your made up face, then add water to create a lather with your hands, and then wash everything away. The product smells like fresh limes. It has a surprisingly oily texture from key ingredient sunflower seed oil that didn’t immediately rinse off—if you have very dry skin you might choose to leave it on your skin. The site says to “continue with your skincare routine,” after rinsing, which I took to mean as using my usual cleanser, and that washed away the oily-feeling residue. The most important thing was that every stitch of makeup—including the perfect, immovable mascara—was absolutely gone. I moved the stick into my medicine cabinet and now use it exclusively as a pre-cleansing makeup remover, though I do sometimes apply it to my hands instead of the makeup first, just to keep the stick clean. They note that you should be careful around your eyes, and I did accidentally rub some directly into my eyes which did not feel great, though it rinsed out quickly.
So: is this the no-makeup makeup of my dreams? Yes, I think so. The products all feel fantastic and wear well throughout the day, and my skin has felt and looked great over the past few weeks. I love that a little goes a long way, making the price tag feel completely worth it. The Miracle Balm is a truly incredible product, though I am going to join the throngs clamoring for smaller sizes in multiple shades so I can try them all. The truly standout, can’t-live-without-it product for me is the mascara, which I will definitely stock up on once I’m out. For a clean, minimal, skincare-based high performing makeup, Jones Road delivers.
- Jones Road is a Bobbi Brown makeup and skincare company committed to high performing, clean products.
- Products are formulated without phthalates, sulfates, petrolatum, PEGs, cyclic silicones, EDTA, or BPA and more.
- All Jones Road products are cruelty-free. The mascara, most of the skincare, and tools are vegan.
- All products are made in the US and Germany.
- Packaging is made from 100% recyclable Forest Stewardship Council-certified post-consumer fiber.
Stephanie H. Fallon is a writer originally from Houston, Texas. She has an MFA from the Jackson Center of Creative Writing at Hollins University. She lives with her family in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, where she writes about motherhood, artmaking, and work culture. You can find her on Instagram or learn more on her website.