This month marks the 25th anniversary of the global mineral makeup brand Jane Iredale. Editor Trudi Brewer caught up with the mineral makeup maverick to find out what’s changed and what clean beauty brands she rates.
London-born Jane Iredale (JI) never set out to make mineral cosmetics. After immigrating to New York City in the early 90's it was a career in the film industry she was chasing. "As a casting director and producer, I got to know all aspects of an industry obsessed with appearances. A large part of the appearance tool kit was makeup. However, it didn't take me long to realize that makeup was a second-class citizen. It didn't matter what was in it, as long as it covered the skin, and stayed on long enough to get the shot. Worse was that makeup was contributing to problem skin, and problem skin threatened careers and undermined self-confidence." Iredale's next move was a career in the beauty business but quite by chance. As with most great beauty innovations they often start with one bright idea - and this is how her eponymously named cosmetic company started. "One night at three o'clock in the morning I had an idea. How about a makeup that's good for the skin?" The result was Jane Iredale Amazing Base (a loose mineral powder with an SPF20), born from that idea, and it's still a top seller today. Fast forward to 2019 and JI cosmetics are available in 53 countries across the globe. Embraced by dermatologists and plastic surgeons for its ability to cover, soothe and protect the skin, and by women of all ethnicities and ages, for being both functional and effective, and above all 'clean'. A cosmetic free from the nasties found in some makeup, which a quarter of a century ago was both a rule-breaking and unique concept. "I'm a no-fuss kind of person, I also wanted my makeup to be easy, and multi-functional, in order for woman to feel their best, in the shortest amount of time," says Iredale who believes, "Makeup is at its best when it doesn't try to make a woman conform to the latest fashion trends, but embraces her natural beauty and allows her personality to shine." With that notion, Iredale says "The possibilities are endless." Editor Trudi Brewer shares the next chapter in the JI story.
Congratulations on 25 years of JI, what are you most proud of to date?
Having an impact on the industry, so that clean beauty is at the forefront of product development and thereby changing women’s lives for the better.
What has been your biggest surprise in business?
No real surprises. I always felt that if you treated people fairly and with kindness then they would reciprocate and that’s what’s happened. Whether it’s our staff, partners or consumers, most of them respond with sincere caring.
What are the best sellers in the range?
PurePressed Base overall because we have so many shades, but as a single item, Forever Pink Lip and Cheek Stain, and Smooth Affair Primer.
The top selling Jane Iredale products
Jane Iredale Smooth Affair Facial Primer & Brightener, $106. Jane Iredale Just Kissed Forever Lip & Cheek Stain, $67. Jane Iredale Liquid Minerals Foundation, $99. Jane Iredale Amazing Base Loose Mineral Powder, $84.
Natural cosmetics have come a long way, partly thanks to you, and partly thanks to technology, what other brands do you respect?
I respect brands that are authentic and not greenwashing. Brands that come from an honest place and not a place of wanting to cash in. Eminence is an authentic natural brand, so is Tata Harper.
What is your favourite product and why?
PurePressed Base in Warm Sienna. I’ve worn it every day since we launched it 23 years ago. It’s so easy to apply, stays where I put it all day long, gives me coverage and sun protection. It perfectly suits my on-the-go life. Definitely my desert island product.
What has been the most difficult product to make?
Liquid Minerals Foundation. There are so many good-for-the-skin ingredients in it that are all protected by liposomes so they don’t oxidize or interact with each other. The liposomes are made in South Korea so we have to ship them separately and then put them in the gel. Getting the gel into the bottles without breaking the liposomes apart is a feat in itself.
What are you most excited by in the world of natural cosmetics and the future of natural makeup?
The excitement comes from knowing we’re making a difference in people’s lives. The clean cosmetic world is growing stronger and stronger because the consumer is demanding it as she becomes more informed about her own body and what she puts in and on it. It’s rewarding to know that this isn’t going to go away. The genie is now out of the bottle and its presence will be felt profoundly in all areas of the industry.
What's next for you and the brand JI?
What’s next for me is to continue to guide the brand towards holistic health while bearing in mind the consumer’s desire to have products that work. It means treading a fine line which is always challenging. How to get the cleanest product while making it efficacious. The brand will continue to evolve as all healthy brands do. I see it encompassing, even more, the notion of feed, fortify, and finish. First, feed the skin from the inside, fortify it with good skin care and finish it with makeup that enhances the other two – and looks beautiful at the same time.
What advice do you find yourself sharing all the time?
Do what you say you’re going to do. Which is another way of saying, "Under promise and over deliver.”
What's your best beauty tip?
Enjoy being yourself. In the end, people don’t care what color lipstick you’re wearing. What they care about is how you make them feel and that has to come from deep inside you. They will think you’re the most beautiful person they have ever seen.
JI mineral makeup is free from parabens, talc, phthalates, synthetic fragrance, fillers, and GMO ingredients), they are preserved using natural ingredients, and certified cruelty-free (wearing the leaping bunny logo with pride). “The brand is not sold in markets where animal testing is required, says Iredale who also invests in the extensive testing of her products for safety, stability, efficacy providing effective makeup solutions that create the not only the look of healthy, radiant skin.” Jane Iredale cosmetics are also dermatologist and allergy tested and the SPF products are recommended by The US Skin Cancer Foundation.