Before every drugstore and department store brand had their own version of mineral makeup, there was Jane Iredale – The Skin Care Makeup. The former TV and film producer introduced her first product, Amazing Base, in 1994 and since then has expanded into a market leader with color cosmetics for face, eye, lips, and cheeks. Now, celebrating her brand’s 20th anniversary, founder Jane Iredale sells her line at spas, specialty shops, and doctor’s offices. Still independently owned, the company is run from the charming town of Great Barrington, MA, complete with organic gardens and direct access to a riverside walking path. Here, Ms. Ireland tells Beauty in the Bag how she segued from show-biz to beauty and why mineral makeup is a skin-friendly choice.
Please tell us a bit about your background. How did you find your way to the beauty industry?
I had a career in the entertainment industry but eventually got show-biz burn-out. What I’d always wanted to do was to be involved with something that would enhance the lives of women and have some healing aspect to it. I’d seen the bad affects of makeup when I worked with actresses and models as a producer, so it suddenly occurred to me that there was a place for makeup that was good for the skin. I’d spent so many years working with women whose careers depended on having a flawless complexion, and the heavy makeup they were using to cover up skin problems was actually aggravating their skin concerns, instead of improving them. I started thinking about a solution—a makeup with true skin care benefits. I have always been interested in fashion, wellness, beauty, and personal expression, so the leap into makeup was a very natural one for me to make.
We incorporated in March 1994 and started with five shades of loose minerals. Over the past 20 years, we have expanded the line to include more than 400 products and we’re now available in 43 countries around the world.
What is the advantage of mineral makeup over conventional foundation and powder?
The benefits of mineral makeup are impressive. Minerals allow the skin to breathe and function normally—a boon to all skin types but especially for those who are sensitive or suffer from acne or rosacea. Women frequently seek options to cover what they consider to be visually frustrating conditions including hyperpigmentation as well as acne and rosacea. Regrettably, they often make choices that are not effective and potentially make the problem worse. Mineral makeup is a healthy, skin-friendly alternative to traditional makeup. Mineral makeup not only provides superior coverage, but it is also UV protective and non-comedogenic and calms redness.
Furthermore, if it’s a good mineral makeup, it’s devoid of ingredients that sensitize the skin and cause problems such as blocking pores. True mineral makeup should have protective qualities like sun protection and antioxidants. It will appear light on the skin but also give excellent coverage. We do far more testing on our products than is required. All of our products are tested for comedogencity, sensitivity, and phototoxicity. They are also dermatologist and clinically tested. You can trust them. But not all mineral makeup is created equally. It’s important to look at the ingredients and the claims that are made.
Some women say that mineral makeup is drying on the skin. Are they using the products incorrectly?
I’m not sure what kind of mineral makeup they’re using but our makeup forms a barrier on the skin that helps to hold moisture in. I like to brush it over clean skin that has been moisturized. If more coverage is needed in certain spots, then I stipple with a sponge. We also recommend finishing with a light facial spray because that sets the minerals and adds a dewy look. The minerals will eventually look that way as they absorb your facial oils and moisture but the spray hastens the process.
Six jane iredale products have earned The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation. How does mineral makeup work as a sun protector?
Mineral makeup offers physical sun protection, as opposed to chemical sun protection. The active minerals, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, in our mineral foundations literally block UV rays by acting like tiny mirrors on the skin reflecting and refracting rays. This differs from most chemical sunscreens, which absorb UV rays. Once chemicals have absorbed their limit, the sunscreen ceases to be effective and may actually turn into free radicals that damage the skin.
What is your beauty philosophy?
There’s beauty everywhere you look if you want to see it. For me, the key to finding beauty every day is to appreciate your life and life in general. I can look at a flower and be overwhelmed with a sense of appreciation for its beauty. I know it does my heart good and that must impact my health.
Do you have any favorite anti-aging makeup tips to share with our readers?
As women get older they tend to avoid makeup. My advice is to wear it but in an understated way. Also, wear lip color that has brightness to it. Not thick, but like a stain with a gloss on top—very youthful and modern. Cleansing, again, should be done in moderation so you don’t keep stripping the protective acid mantel that is made from one’s sebum and perspiration. Bacteria don’t like it. So I recommend our Magic Mitt, which removes makeup and debris using only water. It never causes the skin to feel tight. If you use a cleanser, use something gentle. Exfoliating once in a while will remove dry skin cells but it isn’t a good idea to overdo exfoliation. Used judiciously, exfoliation will brighten the skin but be sure to use a sunscreen afterwards because you’re removing the skin’s first protective layer and then you end up aging the skin, which is the opposite of what you want.