Jones Road Beauty Review (Pros and Cons)

March 25, 2022 (updated August 9, 2022)

There’s been a lot of buzz around the new Jones Road makeup line. Mostly because it’s the latest venture by iconic makeup-artist-to-the stars Bobbi Brown. But is Jones Road really “clean beauty”? For some, the answer is YES…and for others, it’s a resounding NO. We dig in to give you a brand overview, complete with pros and cons and an ingredient breakdown, so you can decide for yourself.

woman holding jones road beauty product in her hand

By: Lisa Fennessy

Reviewed by: Kate Noonan

IN THIS POST:

Why is everyone talking about Jones Road? For one simple reason. It’s brought to us by Bobbi Brown, a big-time mainstream makeup mogul who is purportedly dipping her toe into the world of “clean beauty”. 

Bobbi Brown made a name for herself as a makeup artist in the 1980s by applying natural makeup looks during a time when makeup was very pink and very blue (we’re talking neon liner and bright blush). Since she couldn’t find the texture and shades she was looking for, she ended up creating her own makeup line, “Bobbi Brown,” which was later acquired by Estee Lauder for reportedly close to $75 million dollars. 

All of this to say, when it comes to makeup, Bobbi knows what’s up. But does she know what’s up when it comes to “clean beauty”? Yes…and no. Asking if Jones Road is “clean beauty” is a loaded question because what is clean to some people isn’t clean enough for others. 

But without getting into the weeds, I will say this: If you are a Bobbi Brown makeup lover, Jones Road is definitely a better choice than the original Bobbi Brown brand. But if you are someone who values total ingredient transparency, this line may not be a good fit for you. 


Jones Road Flat Lay with Hand

Defining clean beauty

I think what most people don’t realize is that “clean beauty” is not universally defined. Each brand (think Jones Road, Aveeno, Honest Beauty), each retailer (think The Detox Market, Beauty Heroes, Follain), each blogger (like yours truly) and each publication (think Goop, Well + Good, Byrdie) decides what clean beauty means to them—and then markets it as such.

We even see this discrepancy between clean beauty certifications too, where one certification will allow ingredients that another one wont (like MADE SAFE® allows phenoxyethanol, while the COSMOS standard does not, for example).

What this means for us as consumers is two things. First, it’s really easy to get duped into thinking you are buying one thing when in actuality you are buying another. Second, we either have to get familiar with ingredients to make informed decisions on our own OR find a source we align with and trust to do the leg work for us. That could be TOG, it could be the COSMOS Certification, it could be the Clean at Sephora program. In the end that will be up to you but we do have a few resources that can help get you there. Be sure to check out:

👉Beauty Certifications 

👉How Brands Choose Beauty Certifications

👉The TOG Beauty Credo

RELATED: What ingredients does TOG always say “no thanks” to? Check these out.


Jones Road Flat Lay Super Close Up

Jones Road’s definition of clean beauty

To illustrate, let’s take a look at the Jones Road’s “clean standards” taken from their website:

jones road clean beauty standard screenshot from website

As a consumer, I’m reading this like, “wow, looks really good.” And it is! But with “no, no, no” statements like this, you can’t read them for what’s there—you have to read them for what’s NOT there. No brand is going to make a statement like this👆and then add, but we do however include synthetic wax with possible residual PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) carcinogens, red 40 and yellow 5 pigments with concerning carcinogenicity data (1-15), all of which we see in the Jones Road line.

Taking this one step farther, Jones Road claims “no petroleum” in their products, but the synthetic wax we see in their Lip and Cheek stick; the hexylene glycol in their mascara; and the hydrogenated polydecene in their Eye Cream are all petroleum-derived (meaning at least one or all of the starting materials are petroleum-derived) (3-5,12-17,19). This is the only way these materials are made. 

In fact we found not one, not two, but over 25 petroleum-derived ingredients in the Jones Road line, including: phenoxyethanol, pentaerythrityl tetra-di-t-butyl hydroxyhydrocinnamate; C30-45 alkyl methicone; C30-45 olefin; ethylene/acrylic acid copolymer; triethoxycaprylylsilane; dimethicone, dimethicone/vinyl and dimethicone crosspolymer; and carbomer, and azo dyes red 40 lake, red 28 lake, yellow 5 lake, poloxamer 338 (6-8,13,16-20, 23-28).

In addition, Jones Road claims to have no PEGs in their product, but we see PEGs in their Cool Gloss via poloxamer 338. Poloxamer 338 (AKA PEG-PPO-PEG 338) is made by bonding petroleum-derived PEG and poly (propylene oxide) (28). This is the only way to make this ingredient. 

The overarching point: These ingredients aren’t our favorites and some of them do make it onto our NO THANKS list. HOWEVER, the bigger issue is that this brand is claiming to avoid these ingredients, and with a little digging, we found that to be false.

RELATED: Is The Ordinary clean beauty? No (and Yes)


What Jones Road had to say…

Our resident molecular biologist and cosmetic chemist, Kate Noonan, emailed Jones Road in an attempt to get more information, but the brand’s customer service representative ignored our question and instead responded with a copy-pasted ingredient list from their website (we concede that this might have been too in-depth of a query for the average team member to respond to, but Kate also wasn’t offered any additional avenues to explore to get our question answered).

screenshot of jones road ingredient list inquiry

At TOG, the number one thing we value is transparency and we are seeing several issues with transparency here, from misleading marketing to closed-lip customer service. 


Some additional things to note that stood out to me about Jones Road:

  • Organic vs. non-organic ingredients: When ingredients could be chosen organic, like castor oil or jojoba oil, they aren’t. 
  • Recyclability: Unit cartons are made from 100% recyclable Forest Stewardship Council®-certified post-consumer fiber. Product shippers are also recyclable. There were no comments on the inner packaging. (Some are glass and some are plastic.)
  • Inclusivity: We see 25 shades of The Face Pencil, which is more inclusive than many new brands on the market. 
  • Pricing: The price range is $22-$38.
  • Age inclusivity: These products seem to work just as well for a 16-year-old as a 60-year-old. 
  • Gray hair: However, the brow pencil does not come in a cool black or gray to compliment gray hair.
  • Cruelty-free: All Jones Road products are cruelty-free, but not vegan, per their FAQ.
  • Human rights eval: I’m also wondering if the mica they formulate with is ethically procured.

RELATED: Is ILIA Beauty “clean beauty”? Get my full review here.


Jones Road product review 

So you can see, there is a lot to consider here. I think what would be most helpful is to run through some of the more popular Jones Road products and I can provide a quick look at what I like and what I don’t about each product. I tested a handful of products (all of the ones listed below), but if there is a product you are curious about that’s not included here, leave a comment and we can potentially add it in later.








Jones Road products we didn’t try—but want to

The only other thing I really want to try from this line is their Hippie Stick, which is currently sold out. I personally love a good multi-function product and the Hippie Stick also happens to be the only makeup/skincare product in the Jones Road line that is not formulated with any petroleum-derived ingredients. 


Final thoughts on Jones Road Beauty

So, is Jones Road “clean beauty”? Even after all this research, my answer is—it depends. If you’re a Bobbi Brown makeup fan and you’re looking at this line as an alternative, then absolutely, this is a better choice. 

If you’re someone who wants their lip gloss and cheek color to be tinted with berries and twigs, this is not the line for you. 

If you fall somewhere in the middle, then you have a choice: What matters most to you?

Is it safety of ingredients? If so, this line is better than most conventional brands.

Is it transparency and honesty? If so, you might want to avoid it.

Personal truth bomb: I reread this post before publishing and I felt conflicted. Here I am saying I enjoy using a product from a brand that’s not being truthful. That doesn’t sit right with me. But also, I think this is a good example of real life decision making. I also think the friction around these types of decisions will only grow stronger as the gap between “conventional beauty” and “clean beauty” trends smaller and smaller.

Above all else, what really gets under my skin is the lies. When it comes to my body, I want to make the final decision about what I put on it—and through mismarketing or “greenwashing,” Jones Road has attempted to take that away from me. And I don’t like it. I don’t like it for you and I don’t like it for me.

But in the end, we are not here to make the choice for you (#youdoyou). But what we can do is continue to provide well-researched information and resources that go deeper than the greenwashed marketing claims you’ll see on many brands’ websites, social and packaging, highlight things to consider and share our own thoughts.

The bottom line: You get to decide what you want to put in and on your body—and brands should give you all the information so you can make the most informed decision for yourself. 

Have you tried Jones Road? What do you think?

Xo, lisa in cursive

TOG Team Note: This article contains affiliate links. TOG uses affiliate links as a source for revenue to fund operations of the business and to be less dependent on branded content. TOG stands behind all product recommendations. Still have questions about these links or our process? Feel free to email us.


REFERENCES:

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  10. “Red 40” is contaminated with p-cresidine (reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen): Lancaster FE, Lawrence JF. Determination of total non-sulfonated aromatic amines in tartrazine, sunset yellow FCF and allura red by reduction and derivatization followed by high-performance liquid chromatography. Food Additives & Contaminants. 1991 May 1;8(3):249-63.
  11. “Red 28” ingredient, “Red 28 lake”, contains benzidine (the starting material for its production), for which “there is sufficient evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of benzidine,” according to the WHO IARC: Sponza DT, Işık M. Toxicity and intermediates of CI Direct Red 28 dye through sequential anaerobic/aerobic treatment. Process Biochemistry. 2005 Jul 1;40(8):2735-44.
  12. “Red 28 lake” (congo red lake) is a carcinogen: Raymundo AS, Zanarotto R, Belisário M, Pereira MD, Ribeiro JN, Ribeiro AV. Evaluation of sugar-cane bagasse as bioadsorbent in the textile wastewater treatment contaminated with carcinogenic congo red dye. Brazilian Archives of Biology and Technology. 2010 Aug;53(4):931-8.
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  14. “Yellow 5”, and “Red 40”, which are found in Jones Road Cool Balm, were positive for causing genotoxicity in the in vivo comet assay: Sasaki YF, Kawaguchi S, Kamaya A, Ohshita M, Kabasawa K, Iwama K, Taniguchi K, Tsuda S. The comet assay with 8 mouse organs: results with 39 currently used food additives. Mutation Research/Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis. 2002 Aug 26;519(1-2):103-19.
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  17. “Hexylene glycol” is a petroleum product: Dickerson JG. Properties and Applications of Solvents Synthesized from Petroleum Raw Materials. In3rd World Petroleum Congress 1951 May 28. OnePetro.
  18. “Hexylene glycol” in wound dressings causes burn victims to fall into comas: Fisher, AJG, Sender, B., Engelbrecht, JA & van der Riet RL. Burn coma due to dressing impregnated with hexylene glycol. South African Medical Journal. 1968 Sep 1;42(37):975-6.
  19. “Hydrogenated polydecene” is a petroleum-derived ingredient: ウ、マーガレット , assignee. Japan patent JP 5613416 B2. 2014 Oct 22. 17 p.
  20. “Phenoxyethanol” is a petroleum-derived ingredient: Helmut Fiege; Heinz-Werner Voges; Toshikazu Hamamoto; Sumio Umemura; Tadao Iwata; Hisaya Miki; Yasuhiro Fujita; Hans-Josef Buysch; Dorothea Garbe. Phenol Derivatives. Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. 2007 Weinheim: Wiley-VCH. doi:10.1002/14356007.a19_313
  21. “Phenoxyethanol” (2-phenoxyethanol) causes DNA damage: Ryu JC, Kim YJ. Evaluation of the Genetic Toxicity of Synthetic Chemicals (XIII)-Single Cell Gel Electrophoresis of Benzoyl Chloride, 2-Propyn-1-ol, and 2-Phenoxyethanol in Chinese Hamster lung Fibroblast. Environmental Mutagens and Carcinogens. 2004;24(2):79-84.
  22. “Phenoxyethanol-induced contact urticaria: Orjales RN, Vazquez CC, Gonzalez FC, Paris MB. 2-phenoxyethanol-induced contact urticaria and anaphylaxis. Journal of investigational allergology & clinical immunology. 2010;20(4):354-5.
  23. “Pentaerythrityl tetra-di-t-butyl hydroxyhydrocinnamate” is a petroleum-derived ingredient: Martin D, inventor; Novartis Corp, assignee. United States patent US 3,644,482. (4-hydroxy-5-alkylphenyl) alkanoic acid esters of polyols. 1972 Feb 22 [cited 2022 Mar 15].
  24. Silicones, including “dimethicone,” “C30-45 alkyl methicone”, “triethoxycaprylylsilane”, “dimethicone/vinyl and dimethicone crosspolymer” are petroleum-derived ingredients made with petroleum refinery methyl chloride (chloromethane): SEYFERTH, Dietmar. Dimethyldichlorosilane and the direct synthesis of methylchlorosilanes. The key to the silicones industry. Organometallics, 2001, 20.24: 4978-4992. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/om0109051#
  25. “C30-45 olefin” is produced from petroleum, specifically petroleum refinery products: Greiner, EO Camara; Inoguchi, Y. Chemical economics handbook: linear-alpha olefins. IHS Chemical, 2010. https://cdn.ihs.com/www/pdf/CEH-Linear-Alpha-Olefins-sample-report-2010.pdf
  26. “C30-45 olefin” is produced from petroleum, specifically petroleum refinery products: Gray MR, McCaffrey WC. Role of chain reactions and olefin formation in cracking, hydroconversion, and coking of petroleum and bitumen fractions. Energy & fuels. 2002 May 15;16(3):756-66.
  27. “Ethylene/acrylic acid copolymer” and “carbomer” (Polyacrylic acid) are produced from petroleum ethylene and petroleum propylene, which are both collected during petroleum refining and petroleum natural gas “cracking”: WANG, Gang; LI, Zengxi; LI, Chunshan. Recent progress in one-step synthesis of acrylic acid and methyl acrylate via aldol reaction: Catalyst, mechanism, kinetics and separation. Chemical Engineering Science, 2022, 247: 117052.
  28. Poloxomer 338 is a copolymer of petroleum-derived PEG (polyoxyethylene) and poly(propylene oxide): Schmolka I, inventor, BASF, assignee. Polyoxyethylene-polyoxypropylene aqueous gels. United States Patent 3740421-A. 19 June 1973.
  29. Nylon-66 is a petroleum-derived ingredient: Anderson KJ. Petroleum Plastics. MRS Bulletin. 1992 Mar;17(3):62-.
  30. Tin oxide is produced using coal and there are health concerns starting at 10ppm in the diet: Schäfer SG, Femfert U. Tin—a toxic heavy metal? A review of the literature. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology. 1984 Mar 1;4(1):57-69. DOI: 10.1016/0273-2300(84)90006-0
  31. “CI 77742/Manganese Violet” is petroleum-derived and its synthesis requires ammonium dihydrogen phosphate: Comstock MC. Complex inorganic colored pigments: comparison of options and relative properties when faced with elemental restrictions. In56th SCAA Conference, Melbourne, VIC 2016 Sep. 
  32. “CI 77007/Ultramarines” is a petroleum-derived pigment: Brooks BT, Bacon RF. The Fluorescence of Petroleum Distillates. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry. 1914 Aug;6(8):623-5.
  33. “Aminomethyl Propanediol” (an Alkanolamine) is produced from petroleum-derived methacrylic acid: Khokarale SG, Mikkola JP. Efficient and catalyst free synthesis of acrylic plastic precursors: Methyl propionate and methyl methacrylate synthesis through reversible CO 2 capture. Green Chemistry. 2019;21(8):2138-47.
  34. “Tromethamine” (an Alkanolamine) is also a petroleum-derived ingredient (it is made from formaldehyde) and poor quality control leads to nitrosamine contaminants: Markofsky, Sheldon, B. Nitro Compounds, Aliphatic. Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. Vol. 24. p. 296. 
  35. “VP/Hexadecene Copolymer” is petroleum-derived: Griesbaum, Karl; Behr, Arno; Biedenkapp, Dieter; Voges, Heinz-Werner; Garbe, Dorothea; Paetz, Christian; Collin, Gerd; Mayer, Dieter; Höke. Hydrocarbons. Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH.
  36. Exfoliated skin readily absorbs aluminum salts “aluminum dimyristate”, “aluminum calcium silicate”, “aluminum borosilicate”) and the reactive aluminum ions separate from the fatty acids or other functional groups: Pineau A, Guillard O, Fauconneau B, Favreau F, Marty MH, Gaudin A, Vincent CM, Marrauld A, Marty JP. In vitro study of percutaneous absorption of aluminum from antiperspirants through human skin in the Franz™ diffusion cell. Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry. 2012 May 1;110:21-6.
  37. Aluminum salts break down on skin and the aluminum ions damage and kill skin cells: Hölzle E, Braun Falco O. Structural changes in axillary eccrine glands following long-term treatment with aluminum chloride hexahydrate solution. British Journal of Dermatology. 1984 Apr;110(4):399-403.
  38. Aluminum is a known neurotoxicant and genotoxicant: Kawahara M, Konoha K, Nagata T, Sadakane Y. Aluminum and human health: its intake, bioavailability and neurotoxicity. Biomedical research on trace elements. 2007 Oct 1;18(3):211-20.
  39. Genotoxicity research for aluminum: Lima PD, Vasconcellos MC, Montenegro RC, Bahia MO, Costa ET, Antunes LM, Burbano RR. Genotoxic effects of aluminum, iron and manganese in human cells and experimental systems: a review of the literature. Human & experimental toxicology. 2011 Oct;30(10):1435-44.
  40. Pennington JA, Jones JW. Dietary intake of aluminum. Aluminium in health, a critical review. 1988 Nov 4:67-100.

By Lisa Fennessy

Lisa is the founder of This Organic Girl. Passionate about clean beauty, organic eats and nontoxic lifestyle, Lisa writes to create awareness. Conscious consumerism and informed decisions will impact the marketplace, our health and THE WORLD!

17 Comments

  1. Reply

    Monica

    Thank you so much for this thorough review! I’ve been so curious about this brand since seeing it basically blow up on social media, but it’s so hard to get to the truth behind the marketing.

  2. Reply

    Autum

    Wow! I’ve been wanting to try this brand for a while and I’m so glad I came across this review. I typically rely on Credo or Beauty Heros to do the “dirty work” for me. I’m so disappointed Credo allows this company and the lies. Such a bummer. I will not be purchasing Jones Road in the forseeable future:-)
    Thank you for your honest review!

  3. Reply

    Caroline

    Thanks for this interesting article. I have a few questions. When reading the “no” list from Jones Road Beauty, it looks like they don’t claim “no petroleum”, but instead “no petrolatum.” While I could be mistaken, my understanding is that petrolatum is an ingredient derived from the refinement of petroleum, so it could be interpreted or understood as its own distinct ingredient, rather than as a synonym for petroleum. Which might be why there are also other petroleum-derived ingredients used in their products, as you enumerate.

    I say that because this article makes strong claims of Jones Road lying to and misleading their customers, and it seems like TOG’s conclusions might in fact also be based on the interpretation of a word. Given this, I think the responsible thing for TOG would be to include some more educational information for TOG readers about the distinctions, if any, between petrolatum–which Jones Road Beauty specifically cites as not using in the picture of the no list you include–and petroleum–which TOG says they lie about. It seems like a point that would be valuable to include early in this article.

    1. Reply

      Lisa Fennessy

      Hi Caroline! Thanks for your question. When we look at Jones Road, most of the ingredients we point out in this post are petroleum-derived (petrolatum-derived), for example, the ‘synthetic wax’ as a singular ingredient in the Lip and Cheek Stick, could be comprised of up to 20-100% of petroleum/petrolatum. This directly conflicts with JR’s own clean beauty standards. We called several manufacturers of “synthetic wax” and each confirmed that the wax contains petroleum/petrolatum as a partial or the only constituent. So either Jones Road is unaware of what synthetic wax is made of or they are misleading consumers. This is the point we want to drive home here.

  4. Reply

    Kalinda

    Thanks so much for this review Lisa. Really appreciate all the research and details. I’ve been very curious about this brand, but was already wary about some of the ingredients even before your deep dive. I may pick up a piece or two down the line but probably won’t go crazy — transparency is key for me and I rather support a brand with better ethics.

    1. Reply

      Lisa Fennessy

      100% agree Kalinda! Thankfully ethical beauty has come so far over the past 10 years and we as consumers have so much to choose from now. Thanks for reading. xo, L

  5. Reply

    Kim

    I have tried the miracle balm, the pencils and mascara. I bought it because Goop was selling and promoting it as was Credo. It’s disappointing that I didn’t get the whole story from them. I agree the pencils are too dry and hard to rub in especially under my eyes. But I love the miracle balm on my cheeks and the mascara. I bought a Black Friday trio of small sizes in 3 different colors. Sadly once those are out, I think I’ll be done with this line. Thanks for doing the hard work on this one.

    1. Reply

      Lisa Fennessy

      Hi Kim, me too. I haven’t tried the mascara although I want to so I can review it for readers ; ) So glad you found this helpful. xo, L

  6. Reply

    Liza

    Dishonesty with a dash of corruption is how Bobbi, husband Steven, and the rest of the management team operate the company (and parent company).

  7. Reply

    tcmbos

    Could you elaborate? I hadn’t heard anything about this and I’m curious.

  8. Reply

    Courtney

    Hi Lisa,

    Thanks for the review! Question, I see “Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride” in a lot of these products and in a lot of products in general. Is “Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride“ another word for palm oil? And if so, do we know if Jones Road uses sustainably sourced palm oil or palm oil-derived ingredients?

    1. Reply

      Lisa Fennessy

      Hi Courtney! From what I understand caprylic/caprylic triglyceride is coconut oil and glycerin. But anytime you have questions about an ingredient a brand uses, I recommend reaching out to the brand directly for clarification. There can be a lot of nuance with ingredients and this way you get an answer about the exact ingredient in question. Hope this helps! xo, Lisa

  9. Reply

    Toni

    Wow, I really enjoyed this article! This is what journalism is missing these days, just the facts and I can make up my own mind. Bravo

  10. Reply

    Kathi

    It is refreshing to see an honest product review. Thank you. Your comments are greatly appreciated.

  11. Reply

    Kelli

    Thanks so much for the article! I have been trying to make more cruelty free and ethically sourced choices with my cosmetics and I am happy to have found your site! I was made aware of the problems with mica sourcing a few years back. After reading your review, I emailed them directly and asked about their mica sourcing.

    I got a response within 15 minutes, which was surprising. Although specifics were not provided, the customer service representative who responded said the following…

    “Thanks for reaching out to Jones Road. All raw materials from our vendors have been vetted to make sure they are clean and responsibly sourced ❤️. Please let us know if you have any additional questions.

    Xx–Courtney”

    I responded to thank them for their quick response and to also ask for specifics on their vetting process. I will share if they do! Thanks again for the great article.

  12. Reply

    Elizabeth Gragg

    Okay what is a good makeup that’s good for older people that doesn’t get in the creases in your face. Is boom a good makeup? Is cocoa butter okay to use your skin is there anything out there,that’s good to use on your skin like cocoa butter.

    1. Reply

      Lisa Fennessy

      Hi Elizabeth! If you are looking for a foundation, I love recommending Inika’s BB Cream. It’s so beautiful and SEAMLESS. Very light coverage and just blends it all in. I also love ILIA…their Chromatic Eye Tints do not crease. There are several oils and butters that are very nourishing for your skin. Cocoa butter is a great one. I looked at the Boom website and I could not find ingredient lists so I can’t say for sure on that one. xo, L

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