Jane Iredale Final Headshot
Jane Iredale

Innovators

The Makeup Maven: Jane Iredale

Mary Bemis


One of the most popular mineral makeup lines to be found in spas and salons, (it can be found in 43 countries…and counting), Jane Iredale, The Skin Care Makeup, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Known as “makeup that cares for the skin,” the mineral-based line includes six products that are recommended by the Skin Care Foundation as effective sunscreens. A nice touch: a lovely sprig of lavender is included in each shipment of products—a tradition that Jane began at the very beginning when she used to snip a sprig from her garden to include in every order. We caught up with the makeup maven at her headquarters in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, where her longtime employees tend to and enjoy fresh produce from an organic vegetable garden located on the grounds.

On the spa makeup scene 20 years ago.

When we started, makeup was assigned to the afterthought category because a lot of estheticians had concerns about putting makeup on after facials or treatments. They were taught to send people out with clean skin and not to interfere with the procedure that was just conducted. Makeup was there, if the client asked for it, for weddings, for example. But it was never thought of as integrated into the facial experience. There weren’t any options out there. Now it has changed completely.

It began with a base.

Our first product, Amazing Base, was made from loose minerals that had broad spectrum SPF. At the time, we used physical actives that stood the test of time. We were ahead of our time with UVA and UVB protection. It also had water resistance…that product hasn’t changed much.

From base to BB cream.

We now have six different types of foundations. Pure Pressed Base is our number-one selling product. We brought out Liquid Minerals—nobody else has been able to copy that product, it’s really us. Later on we introduced Dream Tint, a tinted moisturizer, and the year before last we brought out Glow Time, a BB cream.

Pucker up, or how to name a lipstick.

I came out of the entertainment world, and I had some characters in fiction—novels and films— that I was very, very fond of. So, I used to honor those characters by naming my lipsticks after them. There’s Catherine from Wuthering Heights and Thelma and Louise. Sarah, named for Sarah Jessica Parker, is always a popular color. It’s a natural pinky brown.  I realized this was a chance to honor women who were not necessarily fiction or stars, but people I admire. I’ve named lipsticks for people in our own company, strong women who’ve been with us ten years or longer. Margie is one of our most popular colors, and our new lipstick we’re coming out with is named Katerina, for our Greek distributor. She’ll be thrilled.

I still have my original lipstick, the first one. I literally took a lipstick and did a smudge on a piece of paper, typed the name alongside it, went to the printer, and had it printed off. To this day, it was the best way.

Lessons learned along the way.

I’ve learned a lot of things. I think it would be very difficult now, as opposed to twenty years ago, to build a company one customer at a time. We had nothing but word of mouth going for us. We started out with just one product and gradually added. What I’ve learned is that a product must be good. You can’t fool people with a lot of slickness, especially today where the consumer really owns your brand. If word of mouth was important when we started, today it’s totally blown out of the water. If someone doesn’t like something, they can tell a thousand people with the click of a button. You need to be true and transparent to the consumer.

The spa that launched the brand.

We’re in spas, salons, doctors’ offices, and other avenues in forty-three countries—spas are very important to us. They’re in our DNA. Our first account was the Oaks at Ojai (read more here: insidersguidetospas.com/insiders/growing-the-oaks-with-sheila-cluff/). We like people in the spa world, we think there’s something that we do that helps them do something that they do. Part of our mission is to enhance the lives of women.

What I’ve learned is that a product must be good. You can’t fool people with a lot of slickness, especially today where the consumer really owns your brand. If word of mouth was important when we started, today it’s totally blown out of the water. If someone doesn’t like something, they can tell a thousand people with the click of a button. You need to be true and transparent…

True colors.

I have warm undertones, so I always tend to wear Warm Silk or Warm Sienna, yellow-tone pressed base foundation. I wear Copper Wind or Whisper blush. I like Lip Fixations and go for coral-red colors. The older you get, the more you need color on your lips, or you’ll look washed out. Less is more now. I like to wear a little Eye Gloss, it puts a nice sheer kind of glow on the eyelids that stays all day long.

Back to nature.

The natural trend was big this past season, but what’s the alternative—the unnatural look? All the editorials are wonderful and fun and creative and add life to everything. When you’re working with models, they’ll do anything for the shoot, but when they go home they take that makeup off! And don’t forget that the first thing a bride will say is, “I just want to look natural.” We’ve become more and more  conscious of what we put into our bodies, and what we do to our bodies. It tells a different story if our makeup isn’t fitting our lifestyle. That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun in the evening…

 

 

 

 

 

Mary Bemis

Mary Bemis

Mary Bemis is founder and editorial director of InsidersGuidetoSpas.com. She is a longtime spa journalist and a founder of both American Spa and Organic Spa magazines. A true spa advocate, she believes in the healing power of spa and the benefits of living a spa lifestyle.

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