4 Women, Ranging from Gen Z to Gen X, Test the Jones Road Miracle Balm to Wildly Different Results

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jones road miracle balm review
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Ever since her non-compete with her eponymous brand ended 2020, legendary makeup artist Bobbi Brown has been making a splash with Jones Road. Its premise? “Makeup, simplified,” proclaims its website. Brown herself describes the line as “a Swiss Army Knife: easy, cool, multi-purpose products that could be used to nail any look, whether it be no-makeup makeup or something with more drama.” The brand touts clean, European-Union compliant formulas that work for every skin type. One of hero products is the Miracle Balm ($38), which has been hyped as the be-all and end-all of the “no-makeup” makeup look. But does it really live up to its claims? I, a Gen Zer, was curious, so I roped in a Millennial and two Gen X-ers to try it with me. Here, an honest Jones Road Miracle Balm review. The results are wildly different.

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Jones Road Miracle Balm Ingredients

One of the chief ingredients in the Miracle Balm is jojoba oil. It’s derived from the jojoba shrub and is considered a biomimetic because the oil mimics your skin’s natural sebum. The oil is hydrating and anti-inflammatory, known to be effective for all skin types.

Additionally, the balm contains citrus, rosemary and ginger root, which contribute to its unique scent. This has been, according to reviews and our own testing group, a hit-or-miss.  

How to Apply the Jones Road Miracle Balm

To open the container, you’ll need to “break the seal”, akin to pressing your finger into a cleansing balm for the first time to float the pigment to the surface. One of our testers and I noticed that the surface doesn’t seem to contain much pigment, and you really had to dig down to reach the color.

Jones Road recommends warming the balm with your fingertips first, and then using your hands to apply the balm on your face, though you could opt for a brush or sponge. It’s suitable for the cheeks, lips and other areas of your face you want to highlight. However, the brand explicitly states that it shouldn’t be applied around the eyes.

How I Tested the Jones Road Miracle Balm

When testing the Miracle Balm, it was important to have people across age groups try the product. So, I tapped PureWow Associate Editor Chelsea Candelario, my mom and Assistant Editor Delia Curtis’ mom to give it a spin with me. Our ages range from 26 to 59 and our environments vary from dry California weather to humid Florida and New York. When trying the balm, we evaluated it based on scent, texture and efficacy. Below, each of our takeaways based on our skin type, texture and makeup preferences.

jones road miracle balm review: dusty rose and magic hour on purewow associate editor marissa wu
Marissa Wu/L: Before M: Balm R: Balm over makeup

Marissa’s Jones Road Miracle Balm Review

  • Age: 26
  • Shades: Dusty Rose, Magic Hour

My skin is normal, leaning combination/dry. I often have a breakout on my forehead and there are perpetually visible pores on my nose and under my chin. Whenever I apply makeup, I drown my skin in moisturizer, layering a serum before the cream and a few drops of the Korres Santorini Grape Velvet Skin Drink ($52) on top. If I don’t, everything flakes and clings to dry patches.

Prior to testing, I had read that many weren’t fans of the scent. Upon opening the pot, I did notice a light scent, probably a combination of rosemary and ginger in the ingredients. It wasn’t unpleasant, but it wasn’t something I’d love to inhale. The pro is that it doesn’t linger and dissipates about five minutes after application.

Breaking the seal of the balm was akin to doing so on a cleansing balm. The top of the product is very light, but as you press downward, the pigment is more pronounced. It’s pretty viscous and dry­—almost sticky. It’s not greasy and slick like you’d expect a balm to be or clingy like petroleum jelly. You need to warm it up on your hands, especially if you’re planning to use a brush.

I applied “Magic Hour” using just my fingers and found that the payoff was light but noticeable. My face had a gentle shimmer to it and the blush, “Dusty Rose”, was just rosy enough to add a wash of color. Given the formula, it was incredibly moisturizing, however, it is tacky and never sets, so my hair stuck to my face a good bit. Supposedly, you can layer it over your makeup for a “refresh”, but I found that when I did this, it just accentuated the uneven parts of my skin. Overall, the balm, when worn alone over my skincare, gave me a natural, glowy look. I hesitate to say “no makeup makeup” because it doesn’t conceal anything. However, it did provide a subtle, bronzy hint of color that I appreciated. It’s probably more ideal for winter when the weather is drier, as I could see it becoming a sweaty, transferring mess in summer months.

jones road miracle balm review: magic hour and pinched cheeks on purewow associate editor chelsea candelario
Chelsea Candelario/L: Before R: After

Chelsea’s Jones Road Miracle Balm Review

  • Age: 30
  • Shades: Magic Hour, Pinched Cheeks

I have dry, acne-prone and sensitive skin. I tend to get some redness near my cheeks. The texture of the Miracle Balm was a bit sticky on the hands and tacky on the face. It feels lightweight on the skin, but I did notice some slight irritation.

The first time I grabbed some of the product, it didn’t show up on my skin. After doing some research, I found you had to practically dig into the product to get any pigment. I also figured out that it would be easier to apply using my hands. Good luck trying to get any product using a brush or beauty sponge.

Regarding the scent, it was way too strong when I applied it on my cheeks. However, I do appreciate that it doesn’t linger once you’re wearing the product for a while.

I think the balm (especially the shade “Magic Hour”) has way too much glitter. I expected more of a blush or bronzer with these shades, but I was left with more highlighters in my collection. There’s little to no pigment in "Magic Hour," but I can see it being a great highlighter for some. When it comes to "Pinched Cheeks," a little goes a long way. It also took a while to blend, but I appreciate that it was less glittery. Though, as someone with dry skin, it didn’t moisturize my cheeks at all. It also doesn’t give any blurring effect and I wonder if it just works better for fair skin, applied over foundation/tinted moisturizer first or a specific skin type. Overall, it just looks greasy on my skin and enhances my large pores and acne-prone areas.

jones road miracle balm review: purewow associate editor marissa wu's mom tries Golden Hour and Happy Hour
JoAnn W./L: Before R: After

JoAnn’s Jones Road Miracle Balm Review

  • Age: 54
  • Shades: Golden Hour, Happy Hour

I have normal skin with freckles and wrinkles and no major issues like acne, dryness or redness. Day-to-day, my makeup is minimal, I don’t wear foundation and usually just apply eyeliner and sometimes lipstick.

The Miracle Balm does have a very light scent, though it wasn’t noticeable while I was wearing it, which is good because I don’t like heavy scents on my face. The first time I tried it on my bare face, it felt a little oily and heavy, but the second time I put it over my moisturizer it felt lighter. The shade “Golden Hour” did heighten the color contrast between my neck and face, but don’t be mistaken: This isn’t foundation. It didn’t cover any freckles or wrinkles, and I didn’t really observe the promised “blurring” effect. In summary, the balms were moisturizing and gentle. I didn’t experience any irritation, but it had a sticky, tacky finish.

jones road miracle balm review: purewow assistant editor delia curtis' mom tries au natural and dusty rose
Laurie C./L: Before R: After

Laurie’s Jones Road Miracle Balm Review

  • Age: 59
  • Shades: Au Naturel, Dusty Rose

I have normal skin with a medium complexion. My main skin concerns are trying to hide signs of aging (wrinkles, lines, firmness) and hyperpigmentation. Typically, I prefer matte makeup and use KVD Beauty’s Good Apple serum foundation ($42)with Tarte Sculpt Tape ($36) for contour and the Elf Halo Glow Beauty Wand ($9) as blush. When I first received the Jones Road Miracle Balm, I was hoping that it would enhance my makeup look. (Editor’s note: the brand says the balm can be applied over makeup for a “refresh”.)

First things first: the scent. I wasn’t a fan and found that it smelled waxy, almost like a box of crayons. Once “warmed up,” the balm felt greasy. I followed the directions, applying it on my face with my fingers, and tried a Beautyblender sponge. Afterwards, I felt like my face was soaked in an oily substance.

I was so afraid to let this sit on my face because I thought each of my pores would be blocked and I would break out. After applying, I immediately washed my face using a deep cleanser. I also put some of the balm on my hands, when I ran water over them, the water beaded up. I guess it would be a great moisturizer for my hands, but not my face. The balm didn’t feel super light, and for me the only reflection and blurring was from the oily shine.

Who Is the Jones Road Miracle Balm For?

Given the various experiences with the Miracle Balm, here are some key takeaways I observed:

  • The balm’s pigments show up better on lighter skin. The most noticeable was on me and my mom, and we have fair to medium complexions.
  • The payoff is light. If you’re expecting a foundation, you’ll be disappointed. As shown below, the colors aren’t extremely saturated and remind me more of the Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi drops.
  • “Dry” skin can vary—both Chelsea and I have dry skin, but she found the balm didn’t work for her, while I thought it was moisturizing.
  • The skin-toned balms perform best as a highlighter, while the blushier pigments do add a hint of color.
jones road miracle balm review color swatches
Marissa Wu

After reading tons of reviews and testing it myself, I think it’s important to understand what the Miracle Balm is and set your expectations accordingly. In reviews I’ve read, plus feedback from my own mom and Delia’s mom, there seems to be a misconception that the Miracle Balm is going to perform similarly to a foundation, which it doesn’t. Because I went into testing expecting something light, I think that’s why I was, in general, pleased with the results. But, given how different everyone’s experiences are, I’d recommend trying it in-store before buying if possible, so you know what you’re committing to. In sum, I think Miracle Balm is good for people with drier or maturing skin who like the dewy look, but aren’t necessarily looking for full coverage and just want a touch of color.

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