Thursday, September 8, 2011

Jane Iredale PurePressed Foundation

I find it somewhat surprising that Jane Iredale products are not reviewed more often. The only blogger I know of who reviews Jane Iredale is Witoxicity, though there are probably others out there that I have missed.

Iredale's line was launched in 1994, long before I had ever heard of mineral makeup, and long before Bare Escentuals hogged all the press via Sephora advertising. I have tried several of the other mineral brands that have come to market since, but I always go back to Jane Iredale.

My first Jane Iredale purchase was in 2000, after I read that the line was developed to be gentle to troubled skin, especially for people who'd undergone surgeries and skin treatments, like chemical peels. If this makeup could soothe and conceal that post-treatment boiled-lobster skin, I had high hopes that it would take care of my nagging pink cheeks and chin from mild rosacea, which I wanted to conceal while still looking natural.

I was not disappointed. Not only did the PurePressed base cover the redness, it hid shadows and smoothed over pores while being the perfect base for my oily skin. I didn't know much about loose mineral powders then, but gut told me to choose the pressed foundation in the compact. As far as I know, Jane Iredale is still the only brand that offers mineral foundation and blush in pressed form. I have since learned that oilier skins do best with the pressed foundation, and dry skins should get the loose. The foundation stays true all day without oxidizing, and it does not rub off on collars or scarves.

I've read complaints about skin irritation and itching from other mineral brands, but I have never experienced that with Jane Iredale -- even over completely bare (moisturized) skin. I almost never bother with primer.

Ten years ago, there were fewer colors from which to choose. I went to a boutique at night in the middle of winter and was incorrectly matched to Honey Bronze, far too dark. I have since found much more suitable colors for my skin tone in both Ivory and Light Beige. According to the JI makeup artists, you are supposed to use two colors and apply the lightest to the center of the face and the darker color along the hairline. I believe her starter kits contain two pressed foundations, but I couldn't be bothered. I suspect that's a marketing gimmick to get customers to buy two when one should suffice.

This isn't cheap makeup. A PurePressed foundation compact rivals the cost of Chanel and Guerlain, at $52, though you can buy refills for $40, which last me 3-4 months with daily use. The price points are not outrageous because the of the quality. Packaging is also nice, and each new version of it is improved upon. My original purchase was a navy plastic compact. Next came gold-plated compacts, where the gold rubbed off, and pans were glued inside. The current version is nicest of all, with a brushed-gold compact that has some heft. As I mentioned above, it is also refillable. It is also heavy.

After I started blogging and became curious about other foundations enough to try them, I always came back to Jane Iredale. This makeup does exactly what I want it to do with very little fuss, and it never causes skin eruptions. It evens out my skin tone in the most natural way, without looking flat. And even if my skin starts out a bit matte immediately after applying, the finish becomes a bit glowy within an hour or two.

If I don't feel like waiting an hour, I can immediately add a bit of glow with Jane Iredale's Balance Antioxidant Hydration Spray. I spray a flocked sponge and press it into my skin. 

Good stuff!

To apply the Jane Iredale PurePressed foundation, I use her Handi brush, a flat-topped kabuki that is exquisitely soft. I've been using this brush daily for 12 years, and it still looks and performs great.

The tips do not feel blunt or sharp on my skin, so this brush never stings or irritates. Moreover, there has been absolutely no shedding. I love the maple handle, which allows for easy gripping (unlike some brushes that are slippery).

Jane Iredale foundation comes in a decent range of colors for all skin tones. Colors are grouped by Neutral, Cool, and Warm. As with most brands, Warm has more options.

Bottom line: Still a favorite after more than a decade..

In an upcoming post, I'll review the other Jane Iredale products I like, including concealer, lipstick and eyeshadow. Does anyone else like Jane Iredale products? What are your favorites?

Photo credits:,, and items from my own collection


  1. Excellent enabling, yet again!

    You know, Becca now makes a pressed mineral foundation, but only in a few colors. I'm using one that's a little too dark for NC10-15 (Bliss), but I do like the finish and wear.

  2. Hi Sarasotagirl! I bet the Becca mmu is nice. I have their TM in Porcelain and pressed finishing powder in Bisque, both of which I love. My issue with Becca is having nowhere nearby to try it on. I got really lucky with Porcelain, as Becca customer service recommended Sand for me, but my gut told me it would be too dark. Maybe it wouldn't have been, but Porcelain was perfect.

    I will probably resist venturing forth into mmu-land yet again and stick with the devil I know. I have repurchased the JI PurePressed foundation at least 8 times in the last 10 years. That's unprecedented for fickle old me!! (Or at least it was the first time, hee.)

  3. I didn't check them out the two times I had the opportunity to this year at makeup shows. I wont make that mistake again, that pressed foundation sounds great for my oily skin. Oh and that handi brush looks really good!

  4. I've reviewed quite a few items from Jane Iredale and use the line often. I'm a cream blush person and I love her little tube in Clarity. I also use the TM often (though lately the BB creams are taking everyone's place).
    She has a lot of excellent products that just aren't talked about.

  5. I'm fair (NW15-20 Mac and Chanel BR10)and I dont see anything that would match my pink undertoned face.

  6. Crystal, do check them out! And the Handi brush is one of the nicest in my brush collection.

  7. Marcia, I had no idea you'd reviewed JI! I don't remember talking about it on the forum, but her stuff is almost like a secret ... or it's just so basic and non-sexy that it doesn't get the attention it deserves. I will have to look into her cream blush. I don't use the TM because even the Light was too yellow for me.

  8. Suselew, I have the same depth of color as you (NW15-20/Chanel BR10), and I can successfully wear all of Light Beige (fair with pink), Ivory (very fair neutral), and Warm Silk (fair but adds a hint of warmth). These powders are all so subtle that you can pretty much lean in any "temperature" direction and look natural, as long as you choose a color that's not too dark or light. Too light is not going to be a problem with your NW15 skin.

    DermcareDirect sells sample sizes of Jane Iredale's PurePressed and Loose powders for $8.50 each:

    I don't have a lot of experience with the loose powder because I don't like the mess, but I ordered the sample size of the pressed powders for testing purposes in Ivory, Bisque, Light Beige, Natural, and Warm Silk, finally settling on Ivory as my favorite, with Light Beige taking the #2 spot, and Warm Silk for occasional use/summer.

  9. JI PurePressed in Ivory is my go-to foundation. I apply it with a kabuki, though I have a Handi-like brush I have yet to try.

    I have many of her products -- shadows, pencils, lip products (I'm about to order Brett lipstick on your recommendation), a couple of blushes, TM. My latest discovery is her lash primer, PureLash Extender & Conditioner. Really nice item. I'm always up for JI reviews!

  10. Sue, I hope you like Brett! I always feel a bit nervous when someone buys something I review, but I guess that's what I've been doing all along when I buy something sight unseen--I go off blog and MUA reviews. ;)

    I occasionally use a dome-topped kabuki, but I get the best, quickest coverage by using the flat-topped kabuki or the flocked sponge. Or even a latex wedge.

    Obviously coverage is a personal thing, and I might like a bit more than the next person. I came across this interesting EnKore video where he demos the difference in application between the two brushes.

  11. I have JI's pure pressed in several shades and nothing quite matches my skin tone.I prefer Senna's mineral mix pressed. I wear medium in the summer and light the rest of the year and love how it looks on my skin. It really is the finest pressed mineral foundation.

  12. I have heard excellent and amazing things about the Jane Iredale foundation and so glad you reviewed it! I do believe it's the first review of JI I've read ever since I started blogging. There's a spa that sells JI makeup and I've been tempted to test them out, but the lighting is very dim in the store and I just never trusted the SAs to pick the right colours for me. I'll have to keep it in mind the next time I need a foundation. It almost sounds too good to be true!

  13. Liz, well of course it won't work for everyone, as DRTVrMoi mentions above. Given the dim lighting, why not have the SA swipe three colors on your jaw, and you can inspect the colors outside in natural light. If you're still not convinced, you could pick up one or two of the sample sized pots from DermCareDirect and test them at your leisure.

    I'd gotten away from Jane Iredale the last few months, having strayed with Becca, MUFE, Chanel, Laura Mercier, and Alima. All were fine, some even great. But then I picked up my compact of Jane Iredale again, swirled the brush in the pan, applied to my face, and was so quickly and easily transformed. I love that it's foundation and sunscreen in one, and it's just so easy. It even works as concealer.

    If it gives you any indication about how cool this base is, I can wear it to bed for days on end and never break out. I tested it because I couldn't believe their claims, but it was true. The only reason I didn't continue was because 1) I love my nightly face-cleaning ritual and 2) it was making my pillowcases grungy!

  14. The Jane Iredale pressed powder is great. I've only seen it a resort in Arizona and at Nordstrom in Seattle. Oddly, the flagship Nordstrom in Seattle sells it upstairs in their spa, not in the the cosmetics department and I didn't see any brushes. Sadly, I've never seen the line here in DC.

  15. Ava, I just grabbed on of the bazillion zip codes in DC and came up with around 20 places that sell Jane Iredale in DC, Alexandria, Fairfax, Arlington, etc. Plug your zip code in here and see what comes up!

  16. You said the magic words: "not break out." FIRMLY CONVINCED! Thanks. :D

  17. Thanks for the Jane Iredale link - her products are right in my backyard! I'll be looking for that brush. do you think it would work well with a liquid foundation?

  18. Ava, I am glad to hear you have a JI salon nearby! I think the Handi would do a good job at buffing out the finish of a liquid foundation, but it might be too dense to use to apply and spread it around because the natural bristles would suck up all the liquid. I found that the best tool for blending out foundation is the BeautyBlender sponge. I can't believe I spent almost $20 on a silly sponge, but it was the first tool that let me go back to using liquids, after years of avoidance because they all settled in my pores.

    The Handi does exactly what it is designed to do, which is apply mineral pressed powder to the face without having the powder fly all around the place. I could practically put my face on in the dark and do it in around 10 seconds!

    Enjoy your trip, and I'd love to know how you do! I'll be watching your blog for a review. :)

  19. Hi hi, i chanced upon your site while researching for Jane Iredale.
    As i have very open pores and blemishes, am wondering if this pressed powder actually does help to conceal and hopefully heal my skin at the same time.

    Should i be using the sponge so that coverage is heavier or the handi brush would do its job just fine?

    Thank you so much!

    1. My skin has changed a lot the last 5 years, but when I started using JI PurePressed Powder, I was *extremely* oily, and my pores have continued to widen over time. We oily-skinned people don't get wrinkles--but many of us end up with craters!

      I used to apply a very thin base layer of foundation to smooth over pores and then dust the JI powder on top. I had been using Vincent Longo Water Canvas Cream-to-Powder Foundation, but when facial primers made their big splash (and his was one of the first), I liked them better because they didn't add color. My favorite is Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Instant Perfector, Invisible Bright. I like it the best of all low and high-end primers I've tried, but I am sure you already have a primer you love. I don't put much stock in mineral *powder* primers, as I prefer to minimize the amount of powder I apply to my skin.

      As for the Handi brush, it is outstanding for coverage, as it lets you control how much to put on, and you can (and should) apply powder in very fine layers. If you want better coverage, you could also use a flocked sponge: Swipe it across the surface of the powder, and then press/roll it onto your face. Then you could use the Handi to dust off excess, and as a final step, sweep with gentle downward motions over your entire face, because that's the direction our facial hair goes.

      When using mineral powder, always start with as light an application and build up. If you apply too much at once, the makeup can look cakey, but you can quickly remedy that by using a setting spray, like JIs delicious Pommist. Spray the flocked sponge and then dab dab dab. In fact, it's a good practice to do that anyway because the spray leaves a lovely glow, without making the skin look oily. (In otherwords, no powder face.)

      If you haven't chosen a powder yet, I'd recommend the PurePressed over the Amazing loose. The loose powder is more suited for dry skins and is meant to be very sheer, because dry skins tend to have much smaller pores. The more you manipulate the loose powder, once it's on your skin, the shinier it will appear. I never found that the pressed got shiny, no matter how vigorously I buffed.

      As for buffing, if you have any surface redness, such as rosacea, your skin will probably redden by using the brush, but after a few moments, it should calm down again.

      To conceal blemishes, you might want to consider her Circle/Delete concealer. I reviewed it here, and it is really outstanding, for undereye area, as well as all over the face. She also has a concealer called Disappear, which is meant to actually treat blemishes. It contains either green tea or tea tree oil, which I believe have anti-inflammatory properties. I prefer C/D but Disappear is good when you need to bring out the big guns. I think it might even conceal tattoos.

      I don't believe any makeup (except the most opaque) conceals our flaws 100% without ending up like we have a face full of makeup, but what mineral makeup does (at least for me) is to even out the skintone so my flaws become less obvious. If they are less obvious to me, then surely no one else is really seeing them! We makeup lovers, who scrutinize our faces at distances so close each morning we'd never let anyone else get near (unless they were kissing us) are the most critical judges.

      If you want to test JI powders, sells samples for ~$8.50, and I am pretty sure they sell both pressed and loose form. The pressed are about the size of a Stila eyeshadow and come in a little screwtop pot.

      I hope that helps.

  20. Thank you for your wonderful tips! I have both the amazing base and pressed powder in soft ivory but the coverage doesn't seem much. I was told that I needed to get perhaps the warm silk so as to conceal more of the redness and blemishes as the color is more yellow based. And the amazing powder's coverage is heavier than the pure pressed?

    1. I don't find that these powders conceal redness--they just help ameliorate the appearance of it. I can't really say if the loose powder has more coverage, but it seems like it would because it's easier to pick up more on the brush.

      Warm Silk is a wonderful color, which I used to apply to the perimeter of my face, with Ivory in the center, where WS acted more like contour. If you find WS is too dark, you might consider Bisque. You probably want to stay away from Light Beige if your skin is already pink. I found that, even though the color was a near perfect match (though a tiny bit too dark), it made my skin look more rosy than I wanted.


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