Q & A with Jane Iredale, founder and president of Iredale Mineral Cosmetics

Jane IredaleMeet Jane Iredale, founder and president of Iredale Mineral Cosmetics.

How many years have you been involved in the spa industry?

This year, Jane Iredale–The Skin Care Makeup proudly celebrates its 20th anniversary. We incorporated in March 1994 and started with five shades of loose minerals. Over the past 20 years, we have expanded the line to include more than 400 products, and we’re now available in 43 countries around the world. 

How has the brand evolved in the spa industry?

Our brand has deep heritage in the spa industry, with distribution rooted in medical clinics, top spas, and salons. Plastic surgeons were the first to recognize the benefit of our mineral foundations and were confident enough to use them on skin that had just undergone laser resurfacing. As The Skin Care Makeup, we introduced something unprecedented—makeup that also nurtures skin—and I believe we changed the landscape of the industry. It is our mission to deliver personal, uplifting beauty that is as good for the skin as it is beautiful to wear, and we are committed to continued innovation in the spa category. I know the next 20 years will be even more incredible than the last.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

Having consumers tell us how much they love a product we’ve agonized over. Hearing how we’ve changed women’s lives. Hearing from single moms who’ve been able to keep a family together by selling our products. Watching our growth and the growth of the people who work for us. There’s nothing like the satisfaction in that.

Where do you think the industry is heading?

We are in a period of real change. Technology is making it possible for the industry to profoundly impact people’s lives with treatments and products. These two work hand in glove, and any good spa, salon, or clinic knows that treatments don’t work without homecare, and homecare doesn’t work without guidance by a professional. The establishment that truly understands that can’t help but succeed.

What is the most bizarre treatment you’ve experienced?

That’s easy. I love water treatments so I opted for an aromatherapy bath. The therapist put some bubble bath in the water, turned the jets on, and left me—lovely! Except that the bubbles got more and more plentiful until foam was starting to cover my face and I had to beat it down and then it started pouring over the floor. I didn’t know how to turn the jets off and getting out shivering on a slippery floor didn’t seem like an attractive option, so I waited. Eventually, the therapist came back and screamed.

What new spa treatment would you like to try?

I think I’ve tried them all. I love spa treatments.

What’s your go-to spa treatment?

Aromatherapy scrubs followed by a massage.

What’s your favorite skincare ingredient?

Hyaluronic acid.

Tell us two things about yourself we don’t know.

I love working in the garden and renovating old buildings.

What positions have you worked in that you feel have been most influential to your career?

I had a career in the entertainment industry but eventually got show-biz burnout.  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. 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 need for 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 skincare benefits. I have always been interested in fashion, wellness, beauty, and personal expression, so the leap into makeup was a very natural one for me to make.

How would you sum up your personal philosophy?

I’ve loved this planet since the day I saw my first blue sky, so I’m conscious of how my actions impact it. I try to minimize that impact in my personal life and my professional life. That doesn’t mean that I’m perfect by any means, but it’s always on my mind. Do I really need that plastic bag? Do I really need to make that plane trip? I suppose to sum my philosophy up, I’d say I believe that if the planet is healthy then every living thing will be healthy and that includes us.

If you could work in any other profession in the world, what would you be?

Landscape designer.

What’s the best advice you’ve received?

Always do what you say you’re going to do.