Interview: Jane Iredale

When I think about women who inspire me, it’s not the celebrities of the moment but those who have built something real and who are passionate about what they do. Jane Iredale is of those people who has worked hard to create a successful beauty brand, as the founder and president of jane iredale mineral makeup.

I was lucky enough to interview Jane Iredale, and just as I expected, I really enjoyed her answers,

What makes the jane iredale brand different?

Everything we develop is a true extension of skin care. We are the preferred makeup choice of skin care professionals – five of our products now bear the Skin Cancer Foundation seal of recommendation as effective sunscreens (in the United States). We are in the business of providing skin solutions.

The jane iredale experience is one that helps women feel confident about their natural skin, regardless of age, colour or skin quality.  We have always been transparent and genuine.  I would much rather tell the truth than hedge it.  I think the consumer needs and wants a brand that she can trust.  Because we go to extra lengths to use the highest quality ingredients possible, she can trust jane iredale.

jane iredale

 How did you get started? What was your background?

I had show-biz burn-out and I was looking for something I could do 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.

We incorporated in March, 1994 and started with five shades of loose minerals. We have since expanded the line to include more than 350 products.  I spent many years working with women whose careers depended on having a flawless complexion. The heavy makeup they were using to cover up skin distractions 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, in wellness, in beauty, and in personal expression, so the leap into makeup was a very natural one for me to make.

What are the benefits of mineral makeup?

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.
There is no question that sun protection is one of the most important things we can do for the health of the skin.  The elegance of minerals is that they make this protection easy, effective and beautiful.  However, do not assume that because you have a mineral makeup in your hand that it has sun protection.  Assume the reverse unless it has an SPF rating on its label.

If minerals are applied properly, they should feel weightless on the skin so it won’t feel as if you are wearing a mask. Minerals are so versatile that practically any look is attainable.  But I think a phrase that I’ve heard more than any other to describe the finished effect is:  “It looks like my skin only better.”  Perhaps in the end this is what attracts women and men to mineral makeup.  It fits perfectly with today’s lifestyle.  It’s fast, easy and effective.  It’s multi-functional.  It allows us to feel natural and look flawless at the same time.  And for those of us who are interested in eliminating as many toxins as possible from our lives, it does that too.

Which product is your favourite in the range?

There are a number, but the one I wear every day is our PurePressed Base. It works in all climates, day and night and never lets me down. I use it every single day whether I’m speaking to an audience or walking the dog. It saves me so much time because it’s four products in one – a powder, foundation, concealer and sunscreen. It really is all those things.  It goes on easily and flawlessly and stays where I put it.  It’s also water resistant.

It isn’t easy getting all those qualities in one product.  We had to choose the right ingredients, the right particle sizes, the right processing methods and press them in the correct way.  We also had to do it without any of the traditional ingredients that are used in makeup because we wanted to remain true to our mineral makeup definition which was a product with no talc, no synthetic preservatives and no comedogenic ingredients.

 And which product is the best seller?

Our PurePressed Base has been our star product since we brought it out.

What is your number one beauty tip?

Wear sunscreen!  The sun is responsible for 80% of the signs of aging. There are excellent skin care products on the market today that can substantially aid the skin in reversing sun damage. But they do no good without sun protection. Months of hard work can be undone in one morning working in the garden with no sunscreen, hat or gloves on.

What’s next for Jane Iredale? 

We’re going to continue doing what we’re doing but hoping to get better and better at it.  We’re very engaged with spreading the word internationally and learning about markets that we haven’t yet opened.  These are exciting times with new ingredients, new technologies and new ways of marketing them.

 What does being a woman mean to you?

It means that I feel a responsibility to help improve the lives of as many women as possible. I’ve always felt this way from my childhood years when I couldn’t figure out why a woman had to give up her name in marriage to the present when I still see so many injustices perpetrated on women.

I’m always on the look-out for anything that can improve women’s lives physically or spiritually. For example, I’ve just discovered thermography – a wonderful way of screening breasts that requires no radiation – and I’m telling everyone I know, including you.

What was the biggest challenge you faced when starting your brand?

Male chemists who didn’t think it could be done and the usual lack of money. Statistics show that female entrepreneurs almost always start their companies by maxing-out their credit cards and that’s exactly what I did.

Tell us a little bit about the process of creating a new product…

I appear to do it differently from the norm. Most new products are developed with prices and margins in mind. I look first at what I want to accomplish and worry about the price later. This does cause some consternation at times but I refuse to compromise quality. I’d rather not make a product than put something on the market that I don’t feel good about.

You are a successful woman and many people would feel inspired by your story, who inspires you?

The women who work with me. They put in full days, do their jobs extremely well and then take care of a family when they go home, sometimes as single mothers. I can’t imagine that kind of responsibility. They never have any down-time. They inspire me every day with their passion and loyalty and creativity.

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