In honor of Earth Month we’re turning the sustainable spotlight on some of the pioneers in the green beauty industry in a series called Naturally Beautiful. To kick things off, we’re going to help you get to know a bit more about green beauty pioneer, Jane Iredale, president and founder of Iredale Mineral Cosmetics, Ltd.
Born in England, Jane came to the United States as a young woman, attending New York University and University of Albany-SUNY, starting a burgeoning career in the entertainment world and eventually moving on to start her makeup line, jane iredale. “I had a career in the entertainment industry in New York, but 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,” Jane told us. “I’d seen the bad effects of makeup when I worked with actresses and models as a casting director and as a producer, so it suddenly occurred to me that there was a place for healthy 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, in wellness, in beauty, and in personal expression, so the leap into makeup was a very natural one for me to make.”
Amazing Base, Jane Iredale’s first launch in 1994
With the launch of her mineral foundation, Amazing Base in 1994, Jane began to start down that path of making women’s lives better with makeup. But it wasn’t always easy. “One of the challenges was skepticism,” Jane explained. “After all, why would people believe that a mineral powder could do all I was telling them it could? It required a lot of hours standing at trade show booths covering red noses and knuckles. It was the plastic surgeons who first saw and understood the benefits and they are still some of my biggest supporters. Some of the surgeons used to keep our Amazing Base in their assistants’ desk drawers – now they have their own aesthetic centers.” Jane went on to share that “another challenge has been sticking to our mandate of producing as natural a makeup as possible and at the same time satisfying the consumer who wants variety and innovation. Sometimes it’s really hard to give her what she wants without compromising our formulas. It’s easy if you’re free to use anything that’s out there, but we’re not. Our consumers vet our ingredients with a magnifying glass and they ask a lot of questions, for example, I was asked once if the green tea extract we had in one product was caffeine-free. Once you declare your company’s intention, then you will be held to it because today we don’t own our brands, the consumer does.”
But despite the challenges she met along the way, Jane maintains that she wouldn’t have done a thing differently. “The path we took gave me the opportunity to get to know our professionals and our consumers intimately. I listened to their wants and needs and gradually a brand was born.”
This desire to satisfy the wants and needs of professionals and consumers has helped Jane create a truly green line of mineral makeup, a type of makeup that despite misconceptions otherwise, is not all created equal. From drugstore collections to prestige lines, it seems nearly everyone has a mineral offering, and while Jane truly loves what some other brands have been able to do, there are still come lines that use talc, chemical sunscreen additives, synthetic preservatives, and more in their product. She explained, “It’s important to read the label to see if the brand you’re about to buy, fits with what you want from a healthy product.”
If cleaning your beauty routine is something you’ve always wanted to do, Jane makes it easy to start! Look out for ingredients such as synthetic preservatives (parabens and phenoxyethanol), phthalates, talc, and nano-size minerals. The minerals used in jane iredale cosmetics are tested under laboratory conditions to ensure purity, safety, and efficacy. Jane also recommends avoiding sulfates, often found in hair care products. “I actually shampoo with our Truly Pure Shampoo & Conditioner. It’s so soft I don’t need a separate conditioner, and I don’t have to worry about polluting our water system with sulfates.”
Jane went on to share the things you should look for in your green products. “We use a lot of plant extracts – most of them are certified organic.Their benefits, taste, and smell are in my blood because I’m an avid gardener. Many of them, like pomegranate extract, have active antioxidant properties and help to reverse sun damage. Because our brand is rooted in science, I love it when I find botanicals that combine the natural and scientific worlds. We source most of our plant extracts from Europe where there is a long heritage of appreciating and understanding their benefits”
When asked which product she was most fond of in her collection she said the PurePressed Base Mineral Foundation. “It’s a foundation, powder, sunscreen, and concealer all in one and nurtures the skin at the same time. You don’t need anything else. This is the one I would choose as an introductory product because it has instant gratification and shows what sets minerals apart.”
What’s next for Jane Iredale? In a word? Innovation. She shared, “We continue to innovate each year and create products that are on trend with fashion colors and consumer demands. We’ve had a best-selling lip product which is a lip and cheek stain called Just Kissed® Lip and Cheek Stain, originally in a shade called Forever Pink. Now we’ve figured out how to do it in Peach and I love it. It really does stay put and feels moist and luscious. I think it’s going to be a big hit. We also just launched our first hand cream, HandDrink, which is a gorgeously fragrant cream with organic rose essential oils. It’s formulated to protect hands from the damaging effects of UV rays while it brightens and hydrates. Our hands say a lot about us. A simple gesture can speak volumes, and I hope this cream inspires women to care for their hands as they do their face.”
Stay tuned as we highlight even more amazing green beauty pioneers this month!