Working as a makeup artist, I’m familiar with the extremes of what can be put on a face. Plastic glitter, sequins, acrylic paint, theatrical adhesives… sometimes it gets a little nasty. And while we do help models remove extreme makeup, at the end of the day it’s really on them to maintain their skin – both for their profession and for themselves.
Jane Iredale has watched this drama from the other side. As a producer and casting director for both films and Broadway, she watched actors struggle with the demands of keeping their skin looking and feeling good while being piled on with whatever needed to be used for a performance. And she saw what the results could do to their self-esteem.
She was also into natural health – skincare, herbs, and food – and during a lull in her work, she had an epiphany.
“I often ask myself, ‘What’s wanted? What’s needed?’ It’s a mantra of mine,” she told a coterie of beauty bloggers gathered by Lucky Magazine.
But that day she knew she had a great idea: what was wanted – and needed – was makeup that was good for the skin, with ingredients that supported the skin’s care instead of fighting with it. And with a $5,000 loan and one product – a pressed mineral powder foundation with sunscreen – she was on her way.
At first she went from salon to salon, as getting into department stores with only one product and no business plan was pretty much out of the question. But in the 1990’s another change was happening in skincare – laser resurfacing and other dermatological procedures were being developed, and a foundation that could help support and protect the skin while concealing redness would be an excellent compliment. So when the wife of a plastic surgeon discovered Iredale’s foundation at a spa in Ojai, the line was on its way. Now carried in salons, dermatology offices, and medi-spas as well as stores, Jane Iredale’s Skincare Makeup line is sold in over 40 countries, and offers a full range of products.
But listening to Jane talk, beauty is not all business – health is a huge part of her beauty equation. “Lifestyle and diet are absolutely key – what you put into your body is the number one consideration,” she says, “and skin is the body’s largest organ – it absorbs about 60% of what we put on it. It’s the third lung and the third kidney. So you want to use products that let the skin breathe and function normally. A lot of “glow” comes from the inside out – what you eat, hydration, and using makeup that’s good for your skin.”
And beauty can be more than products, too: “You look at Helen Mirren & Meryl Streep, and there’s beauty, but also experience and talent. Beauty is a whole mix of things.” And it’s not just for famous actresses, either. Jane also admires the women she’s met through the line’s 5-year partnership with Living Beyond Breast Cancer, an organization devoted to helping women affected by breast cancer to live as long as possible and with the best quality of life. “You hear these women’s stories(videos here) and how strong they are to get through their illness, and it’s amazing. Beauty is very nourishing to the soul, whether it’s a person or a work of art,”she says, “but character and experience deepen the experience.”
—Thanks to Lucky Magazine and Executive Beauty Director Jean Godfrey June for hosting the luncheon with Jane Iredale.