This Is The Only Foundation I’ve Used For A Decade — & My Skin Looks Better Than It Did At 25

Photo: Courtesy of Sarah Crow.
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As the only redhead in my family, there were a lot of things I had to learn the hard way. Unlike my tan-capable siblings, I cannot, for instance, sit in the sunlight without disintegrating into a pile of dust. My hair, once shed from my head, is visible to everyone who happens upon it on their carpet, furniture, or tangled within the mechanism of their vacuum, rendering it useless. And, the more pressing concern I've had to deal with on a regular basis: My colouring means that finding a foundation that doesn't make me look either jaundiced or as though I'm auditioning to be a mime has been a close-to-impossible proposition. Please see my makeup-free skin below, for context.
While I have resigned myself to a life of staying in the shade wearing SPF and clogging the brush of all my friends' Dyson vacuums, as someone whose skin colour ranges from "ghost white" to "newborn piglet" on any given day, going foundation-free for the rest of my life has never been an option. As luck would have it, I happened upon my personal holy grail foundation, Jane Iredale PurePressed Base Mineral Foundation, over a decade ago, and I haven't worn anything else on my skin since.
To be completely transparent — because in the wild world of the internet, who knows what's true? — I'd like to state for the record that I've never once received a product from this brand for free or at any sort of discounted price. I have no relationship with Jane Iredale's publicity team and at no point will I rip off a mask, Scooby Doo-style, and reveal myself to be Jane Iredale herself.
For many people, finding a game-changing beauty product follows a predictable course: You scan the aisles of your local Sephora for beauty products until you find something you like, you buy it, and then you keep using it. For me, the discovery of Jane Iredale PurePressed foundation came from an unlikely source: one of the worst bosses I ever had. In my early 20s, I worked as an assistant to a very fancy person who liked me to test things on her behalf before buying them. While this sometimes led to tough conversations about why I could not, in fact, take someone else's birth control pills to see if they'd make me gain weight, it also led me to the discovery of some products I'd never happened upon before.
One of these was the Jane Iredale PurePressed Base Mineral Foundation, a product that, at $85 for a refill plus the $32 compact, cost approximately as much as I spent on groceries in a calendar month. Despite the price, I was hooked the second I tried the foundation, swearing up and down that I would do what it took — sell my plasma, consume fewer electric blue drinks served in fish bowls — to ensure I'd never be without it again.
Aside from being the best colour match for my skin I've ever found (out of 26 shades, I wear the second to lightest, Bisque), the foundation has earned my undying affection for another reason: It's the one — and I mean one — foundation that does not immediately slide off my skin. When left to its own devices, my skin generally feels like I've been slathering it with Vaseline all day. Is this some kind of dermatological issue I should have gotten checked out before my thirties? Probably. Does it mean I'm also saving tons on highlighter? For sure.
But back to the foundation. It goes on like a normal powder — I personally apply it with the Jane Iredale Handi Brush. Once on, it looks like human skin, not like the stage makeup some powders create and definitely not like the human-disco-ball hybrid many luminous mineral foundations turn my perpetually greasy face into. The foundation works for my not-particularly-acne-prone skin with a relatively light coating. A few swirls of the brush on the foundation disc is all it generally takes to cover my full face, which lets me get months of mileage out of each disc. The coverage is also buildable, so if you have something on your skin you're trying to conceal or like a more full-coverage look, it's easily achieved with the product, as well. In fact, while Jane Iredale does sell a number of concealers, I don't personally wear any when using this foundation.
However, since oil control is such a pressing issue for yours truly (and anyone who wants to look at me without being blinded by the glare coming off my skin), I generally pair the foundation with the brand's Smooth Affair Mattifying Face Primer, to which I am equally indebted. The primer, while being significantly more liquidy than others I've tried, is simply the best one I've ever used. It's truly the only primer I've ever found that keeps my foundation in place, no matter what I throw at it — including, but not limited to, rain, eyeglasses that constantly fall down the bridge of my nose, and slices of pizza so large that they simultaneously touch both of my cheeks and my mouth as I consume them. The only caveat I might give to anyone thinking of buying this primer, however, is that it must be dry — and I mean completely dry — before you apply makeup over it. Otherwise, you may experience a kind of pilling effect, as I have in the past.
Once I've found a brand I love, I rarely stop at buying one or two products, so please allow me a moment to evangelize one more item from the brand: the Just Kissed Lip and Cheek Stain. In the photo above, I'm wearing the product in Forever Red, but I also own it in Forever Pink, a natural-looking shade I also wear regularly. So, while I can't come in and overhaul your makeup collection personally, may I humbly suggest taking Jane Iredale for a spin? If it can make me look half human, there's hope for us all.
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