Monday, September 19, 2011

Jane Iredale PurePressed Eyeshadow — Review and Swatches

As promised, I am reviewing Jane Iredale PurePressed Eyeshadow ($19), which is a mineral formula in pressed form. There are not  many blog reviews about this line, which I think is sadly overlooked. You can do a full face using all  Jane Iredale products, and you'd look very polished, indeed. Some of us may have preconceived notions about mineral makeup being inferior, but does the below photo look like a hot mess? I didn't think so.

Single eyeshadows come in compacts similar to Chantecaille eyeshadow singles: a thin, faux-metal pan with a frosted, semi-opaque plastic lid. Whereas Chantecaille compacts are shiny silver, Jane Iredale compacts are brushed gold. Both have the same lightweight feel and the compacts are the same size. Chantecaille eyeshadow pans are larger, but they also cost about $10 more.

While the Jane Iredale color range is not vast, I imagine most of us coukd find something suitable. The majority of colors is made of neutrals, which is nice for those of us who gravitate toward a more natural, "no makeup" look. You'll also find deeperbrighter colors, especially in the eyeshadow palettes (duos and trios) and the new Steppes.

When I first discovered Jane Iredale, I used only the PurePressed Base and concealer. Back then (early 00s), Jane Iredale products were hard to find. They weren't yet sold online, and you could only get them at specialty boutiques, generally spas or high-end hair salons.  About three years ago, I discovered Jane Iredale was sold at one of my favorite e-tailers (, and since Dermstore has a 100% color guarantee, I decided to try the duo eyeshadow in Taupe/French Toast (sadly discontinued). Taupe was the first brown eyeshadow I allowed anywhere near my eyes after a disastrous experience with a too-warm Dior quint in 1987 (yes, that's right, 20 whole years). I wore only greys and dusty lavenders, but something in me still felt like I needed to keep searching for the right brown.

No one was more surprised than I when the Taupe/French Toast duo changed my fear of brown eyeshadow. Since then I have collected a few of the Jane Iredale brown-based singles (click images below to enlarge).

Cappuccino: a matte neutral milky brown.

Dawn: a neutral, shimmering bronze.

Slate Brown: THE perfect taupe, a cool-leaning brown and grey in equal measures. I often use Slate Brown as brow filler and as a very soft eyeliner, smudged into the lash line.

Taupe: A mid-toned, cool-neutral brown with mauvish plum undertones—interestingly, not as traditionally taupe as Slate Brown. This Taupe is the same shade that was previously sold in the Taupe/French Toast duo.

Cappuccino and Dawn are sold as warm colors, and Slate Brown and Taupe are neutrals, though I find both Slate  and Taupe to be cool enough for me. Each would be suitable for fair to medium skin tones, but the colors might be too subtle on darker skins, unless used as a base shade.

Here are all four browns swatched together on top of the PurePressed Ivory base, with Brett PureMoist LipColour color (reviewed here) on top for good measure.

Swatched together, I can see the differences much more than by looking at the colors in the pan. Cappuccino is a milk-chocolate, Dawn appears as a bronzed topaz bronze, and Slate Brown contains the most grey, while Taupe really shows its rosy undertones. Taupe seems like a matte version of Dawn, but it is more cool.

The texture of Jane Iredale eyeshadows is silky but somewhat powdery, so I find it easiest to pat the color on with a shader brush, especially if I first mist the brush head with distilled water Jane Iredale Pommist spray. Color lasts several hours, but I can make it last all day (and get the purest color) when I apply it over an eye primer, my favorite being Paula Dorf Eye Primer, Light.

Ingredients: Mica, Boron Nitride, Dimethicone, Pinus Strobus (Pine) Bark Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract. May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Carmine, Manganese Violet, Ultramarines, Chromium Oxide Greens.
When I was looking at the official Jane Iredale web site, I was interested to see that she has come out with an eyeshadow layering system, packaged in a way that reminds me of Le Metier de Beaute Kaleidoscopes. Jane's version is called Steppes. Below are stock images from the new Fall 2011 collection, in individual cool and warm palettes. Both look gorgeous, and the packaging is vastly improved over the slightly more lurid goGreen, goBlue, and goBrown Steppes. Though two out of three levels contain two eyeshadows per level, the top level offers a full pan of the base color. Smart.

Jane Iredale Eye Steppe in goCool
Jane Iredale Eye Steppe in goWarm
Below is a video of Jane Iredale day-into-night look using the Steppes goWarm eyeshadow set.

And as I mentioned earlier, it's easy to use Jane Iredale products exclusively to achieve a gorgeous, full-face look, from subtle to sultry.

Bottom line: Several items in the Jane Iredale line have been repeat buys for me in the last 10-plus years, so I'd call them essential. In fact, if I were forced to buy from one line only, this is the one that would beat out Chanel, Laura Mercier, Chantecaille, Ellis Faas, Bobbi Brown, and so on. I don't know what I would do if this line went kaput, but such a fate seems unlikely.

See The Unknown Beauty Blog for an excellent review on Jane Iredale eyeshadow in Taupe and Witoxicity's blog for reviews on other Jane Iredale products. If you have written Jane Iredale reviews, please comment and let me know so I can read them!

Photo credits:,, and items from my own collection


  1. JI makes my favourite shadows! They last all day without creasing, and the pigmentation is good. Last November, Iredale won a packaging award for its Eye Steppes product, so perhaps LMdB jumped on the bandwagon afterwards.

  2. Giraffe, I am glad she won an award. The palette is so beautiful.

  3. I like the JI taupe also. It isn't warm like many of the taupes out there and it doesn't look gray. It is that taupe that is so hard to find.

  4. Olivia, I hadn't realized you'd reviewed my favorite JI eyeshadow. What an excellent review, and so true about makeup for period pieces. Another one you might enjoy (which I could see being used in similar costume dramas) is Alima Bramble. I am going to review that soon, but I don't want to hit everyone with nothing but minerals. Not that there's anything wrong with that. ;)

  5. These are beautiful. They layering system looks interesting. Hopefully, the salons here will have them.

  6. Ava, the Steppes are available at both and They'd ship for free at each, and both e-tailers have a 100% color guarantee! I am thinking of the goCool, but it might be just touch too purple for me. (A grey and/or taupe thrown in would have been perfect.) I wish a goNeutral Steppe were available.

  7. It's sooo lovely to see you writing about Jane Iredale! I feel less lonely now. Also, thanks for the kind mention. :) I bet you have practically the entire line of JI products in your vanity drawers! As far as eyeshadows are concerned, I have only a trio and the Daytime Eye Shadow Palette and I think the latter is the most useful neutral palette I've ever owned.

    I've been lemming over the Steppes ever since they were launched. Not only are the colours gorgeous but the packaging really does melt one's heart, doesn't it?

  8. Taupe is a really strong addition to my massive eyeshadow collection. Color wise, “Taupe” is a matte medium taupe, with slight mauve undertones. To me, Taupe is very little mauve, more brown-grey – more or less straight-up taupe, in other words.
    It’s still a tiny bit short of being my “perfect taupe,” on account of the pink tones, but it’s very, very good.
    Like a good little obsessive, I think I’ll try Slate Brown.

    1. Hi Carla, it's fascinating how colors show up on different skin tones. Taupe really shows its pink undies on me. :)

      Sadly, Slate Brown has been discontinued, but I just did a quick search on eBay and I found it, BNIB, steeply discounted, and with free shipping. Though I have not purchased from seller sansgirlygirl before, she has a 100% rating.

      I've since added a few more Jane Iredale eyeshadows to my collection. I use one or a combination of the Cloud 9 trio and/or singles in Platinum (a shimmering lavender) and Pink Smoke, which JI also discontinued but is still around ... though in vastly dwindling supplies. I guess, when it all pans out, my strong preferences are for pinks/purples, since those colors suit my skin tone better.


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