Thirty Years On, Jane Iredale Continues To Redefine What’s Possible With Mineral Makeup

By Ashleigh Cometti
Jane Iredale has spent the last thirty years building her beauty empire. Here’s what’s next for the line of “skincare makeup”.

The makeup maven Jane Iredale shares her secrets to staying relevant after three decades in business.

Decades before the clean beauty movement materialised, or the term “green beauty” became a buzzword, there was one woman setting foot in previously uncharted territory.

Unknowingly, Jane Iredale’s mission to create

That was in 1994, when Jane, while working between New York and Los Angeles as a casting director and producer alongside the likes of Lauren Hutton, Jaclyn Smith, Susan Sarandon and Sarah Jessica Parker, grew increasingly weary over actors struggling with problematic skin under the heaviness of stage makeup.

Her quest culminated in a single, mineral product that is now considered revolutionary for its time — the Jane Iredale Amazing Base Loose Mineral Powder. Success came quickly, with dermatologists and plastic surgeons praising its ability to soothe, cover and protect skin. It remains a best-seller today.

Built under the tagline “the skincare makeup”, Jane sought to differentiate her brand from the masses by cocktailing good-for-skin ingredients with highly pigmented, pure mineral powders that promised the same level of coverage and performance as their chemical-based counterparts.

Thirty years later, Jane Iredale’s eponymous mineral makeup line turns over upwards of US$50 million ($83m) in revenue annually, has developed more than 400 products, and is distributed in day spas, salons, luxury resorts, medical offices and select retail stores in more than 50 countries around the globe.

Complexion products remain the brand’s bread and butter - with its selection of primers, foundations, hydration sprays accounting for roughly one-third of the business and amassing loyalists the world over.

“It is incredible to think that we started this mission to improve the makeup women used 30 years ago and we really have helped so many women all over the world,” Jane says, reflecting on her entrepreneurial journey thus far.

“The products we dreamt of and make today truly have changed customer’s lives and we are elated to celebrate that.”

Earlier this week, Jane Iredale revealed the captivating campaign imagery behind the new Ready To Bloom collection.
Earlier this week, Jane Iredale revealed the captivating campaign imagery behind the new Ready To Bloom collection.

And celebrate she will, starting with a new floral-inspired collection called Ready To Bloom, which launches this week. More than just a colour collection, Jane says Ready To Bloom acts as a homage to the beautiful beginnings of the brand and the future confidence she hopes to instil in women.

“The collection was inspired by florals and the use of natural and botanical ingredients in our products since our inception,” she says, adding the shade range of peach, apricot and coral are intended to impart a sense of warmth, happiness and femininity to the wearer.

“It also nods to our future, with the name itself suggesting we are still changing women’s lives and have so much further to go. We will continue to develop products and solutions for women to feel their best in their own skin.”

The future of the brand is looking bright. In 2019, Jane’s profitable beauty conglomerate attracted the attention of San Francisco Equity Partners, who purchased the brand under the proviso that former CEO Jane would still be involved in its day-to-day operations.

The private equity firm appointed as new CEO Chris Payne, whose credentials at L’Oreal, Clarisonic and PCA Skin proved him a worthy successor.

A period of stagnation is often table stakes with heritage beauty brands, especially after decades of trying to engage a consumer set with ever-changing preferences.

But industry veteran Chris felt motivated to honour the brand’s heritage roots and current consumer base, whilst also appealing to the next generation of makeup aficionados.

It comes as a little surprise, then, that Jane Iredale experienced a meteoric rise in 2023, opening 396 new doors and reporting a 93 per cent revenue increase.

The new Ready To Bloom collection extends to five peachy-toned products for lips, eyes and cheeks.
The new Ready To Bloom collection extends to five peachy-toned products for lips, eyes and cheeks.

Back in 1994, creating a category from scratch wasn’t without its challenges, Jane says, adding she struggled to cement the credibility of mineral makeup initially.

“Fortunately, it was the doctors who first realised the benefits of mineral makeup. Their acceptance and use of our makeup on their patients, helped us over that first hurdle,” she says.

Education came next, a slow process considering the lack of conscious consumerism at the time.

“Thirty years ago, people weren’t even reading ingredient labels, let alone understanding what formulas were damaging to their skins and what were beneficial. Educating on ingredients became essential,” she says.

One of the foundations to her success? Securing makeup artists to help her continue this mission to educate and inspire women when it came to application techniques.

“Mineral makeup is different - easier in many ways than traditional makeup - but different. Women aren’t born with a makeup gene; they need guidance. Our makeup artists are educators; we have always placed emphasis on that,” she says.

Today, laboratories and ingredient manufacturers are much more willing to experiment, especially now that there’s such a large market for clean ingredients which benefit the skin.

“It’s no good innovating if there isn’t a market for it,” Jane says. “Now there is and it’s growing every day.”

It’s a much quieter existence for the UK-born Jane these days, with both she and her namesake brand HQ based on an organic farm in rural Massachusetts.

As far as product development goes, Jane says that while she’s not as involved as she used to be, her successor in the NPD space Nicole Mosco continues to involve her in every product launch.

“She has just sent me samples of a new product which I’m very excited about. In fact, I’m using it every day and wondering how I lived without it,” she says.

This is exactly what it all boils down to for Jane. Thirty years and a deep understanding of her “why” — the women that use it.

“Inspiration for our products has always come from the desire to enhance the lives of women. So apart from making sure that the formulas are beneficial for the skin, we also want to produce products that make lives easier through their speed and effectiveness,” she says, adding that the brand will continue to innovate in the makeup space for years to come.

“Makeup lines shouldn’t be static. There’s always room for improvement and that next great product.”

Jane’s makeup routine

Jane’s own approach to makeup sees her prioritise the position and placement of base products to ensure a radiant finish.

Complexion: “After I’ve cleaned and moisturised my face, I apply the Smooth Affair Brightening Face Primer, $116, then Dream Tint Tinted Moisturizer SPF in Medium Light, $105. I brush a layer of Amber PurePressed Base Mineral Foundation, $85, over that.

Blush: I’m using the new Flourish [launching soon] as my blush. Our head of Artistry and Education, Shawn Towne, told me recently that blush placement is going back to the 1950s. So now I apply it on the outside of my cheekbone and up into the hairline. It’s important to update makeup, otherwise it can be ageing!

Lips: I find myself using Just Kissed Lip & Cheek Stain in Forever Red, $70, on my lips almost every day.

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