Jane Iredale

Jane Iredale At-A-Glance

Strengths: Lip balm with SPF 15 (a rare find); some impressive makeup, particularly the powder-based products; most of the makeup brushes are good.

Weaknesses: Skincare isn’t Iredale’s strong suit; mostly bad concealers; PureMoist LipColours SPF 18 contain irritating peppermint; some superfluous specialty products.

The Jane Iredale line primarily features its mineral makeup, along with several other cosmetics. The skin-care selection from Jane Iredale is limited to a few ancillary products, although a couple of them are definite options if you're a fan of this line.

For more information about Jane Iredale, call (800) 869-9420 or visit the Web site at www.janeiredale.com.

Iredale's color line is advertised as "The Skin Care Makeup," but it isn't skin-care-like at all, at least not in the way you may imagine. Ingredients like boron nitride, mica, and zinc stearate (also known as zinc soap) have no benefit for skin, and they are the primary ingredients of Iredale's loose powders. A few of the products do include mineral-based, gentle sunscreens and a smattering of antioxidants (though the packaging will render them unstable after opening). The ingredient lists are also relatively short, which is beneficial for those with sensitivities, but that's about as skin-caring as this line gets.

You do need to be wary of some of Iredale's questionable claims, such as "Because our bases are concentrated pigment, the coverage we can achieve is far superior to normal makeup with a minimum amount of product. This is why mineral makeup should always look sheer and natural." These powders can be applied sheer, but the very nature of these ingredients results in products that are heavy-textured and that, like it or not, can look powdery and "made-up" on the skin. This is especially true if you have any dry patches, because these mineral powders, which also claim to "trap moisture," will exacerbate any dryness and can look caked and change color over very oily areas. Actually they do trap moisture, but they trap it away from the skin. That's the nature of any powdered mineral - they are absorbent and as a result can be drying.

Iredale denigrates talc, dismissing it as cheap filler material and an irritant, but talc is the essential backbone for a number of the most luxurious-feeling powders you will find, some of which have a softness and virtually seamless finish on the skin that other lines (including Iredale's) should envy. And talc is not irritating, at least not any more than the mica Iredale chose to use in its place. Even more significant, talc is a natural ingredient and a mineral. Despite this, all of Iredale's claims revolving around how mineral makeups are better for skin are marketing hype to the max. The most important element of her mineral makeup is the overall gentle, fragrance-free formula that provides outstanding sun protection.

If the concept of a powdered makeup different from the traditional talc-based powders you've seen at the cosmetics counters or drugstores appeals to you, then this line presents some fine choices. We would recommend using caution when you read (or are told) about the inflated benefits of some rather ordinary but nevertheless effective ingredients. However, with a few exceptions, there is certainly nothing in these straightforward formulations that’s harmful or irritating, and that's always beneficial.

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