Search iconsearch jane iredale products.
Close icon

This section doesn’t currently include any content. Add content to this section using the sidebar.

Image caption appears here

Add your deal, information or promotional text

Makeup Blog

Skin-gredients: 4 Complexion-Boosting, Hydrating Ingredients You Need to Know

  • 5 min read


When we began 27 years ago, I would ask seminar attendees how many of them read ingredient labels. I was happy if one hand went up. The same question today creates an incredulous buzz: “Doesn’t everyone?!” It’s true that a lot more attention is paid to what’s on the ingredient label than ever before, from food to personal care, but I wonder if most of the scrutiny is focused on what’s not in a product rather than what is in it. It’s easier to search for parabens and palm oil than to begin to grapple with the rest of the list.

Understanding Cosmetics Labels

I can understand that because some of the ingredients on cosmetics labels are obscure and difficult to pronounce. There’s an old maxim that says, “If you can’t pronounce it, you don’t want it,” but this is far from true. Why? Cosmetic manufacturers abide by a rule established in the early ‘70s by the Personal Care Product Council in the US, which standardized worldwide nomenclature for ingredients. Known as the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients, or INCI, it’s a mix of scientific, Latin and English names found on cosmetics labels. Latin is always used for botanicals, for example, so you’d be forgiven if you read Gaultheria Procumbens and didn’t know it was good old wintergreen or saw Sodium Cocoate and didn’t know it was coconut oil.

There’s also another challenge: ingredient lists on cosmetics labels don’t tell you how much of the ingredient is in a product. The best you can do is to understand that ingredients are listed in descending order. So, a wonderful ingredient might be promoted as contained in a product but actually included at such a small amount that it is inconsequential.

What is Makeup Made of at jane iredale?

We’ve always aimed to make our ingredients consequential; that’s why we’re The Skincare Makeup brand.From the beginning, it was about creating healthy, beautiful-looking skin, not by masking it but by feeding it with the best possible formulas we could devise. This meant sourcing unique, top quality ingredients that enhance the health of the skin. Many of these ingredients are commonplace today, but when we were pioneering clean makeup, some of them weren’t popular enough to have an INCI name. Of all of the skin-loving, hydrating ingredients in our formulas, there are four that always garner the most interest: Avocado Oil, Hyaluronic Acid, Apple Extract and Pomegranate Extract.

Hydrating Ingredient: Avocado Oil

avocado oil
I’m going to start with Avocado Oil because not only do I love it as an hydrating ingredient for my skin, but I eat so many avocados that I’m beginning to look like one! We use it as an ingredient in Just Kissed® Lip and Cheek Stain, PureGloss® Lip Gloss and Triple Luxe Long Lasting Naturally Moist Lipstick. The avocado itself is a powerhouse containing potassium, sodium, magnesium, folic acid, niacin and vitamins A, B6, C, and K. It is also very high in fiber and low in sugar. As an oil, it’s an excellent source of antioxidants, but it’s major claim to fame for cosmetics is its hydration properties. Avocado Oil softens and traps humectants onto the skin, which is why it can be even more effective when combined with Hyaluronic Acid (more on that ingredient later). Lips need all the hydration they can get since they’re simply extensions of the mucus membranes that line the mouth. They have no sweat glands and no hair follicles – nothing to protect them except what you put on them. So, it makes sense to coat them with products that protect and moisturize, and it makes even more sense to use an ingredient that will actually benefit you if you eat it!

Hydrating Ingredient: Hyaluronic Acid

hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic Acid is having a moment, but it’s been around for years, and we use it as an ingredient in both our Liquid Minerals foundation and BeautyPrep™ Hyaluronic Serum. Let’s understand one thing first: Hyaluronic Acid, or HA, isn’t an acid. It’s a polysaccharide hydrator and an incredibly effective hydrator at that. About 15 grams of it is naturally present in the body. A gel-like water, it’s an important part of the composition of connective tissue, most prevalent in the eyes and joints. For the skin, it acts as a hydrating ingredient by holding moisture and helping to create that firm, plump skin that we all crave. Unfortunately for us, the levels of our natural Hyaluronic Acid decrease as we age by almost 50 percent. UV rays, pollution and tobacco smoke speed up the decline, so we’re left with dry, sagging, aging skin. Ugh! But there is hope.

We can replenish HA levels with products that contain this hydrating ingredient. They help to restore our natural hydration and strengthen the skin barrier function. Believe it or not, HA molecules bind to and absorb up to 1,000 times their own weight in water. With daily application, HA can help plump fine lines and wrinkles, increase moisture retention and repair the skin’s lipid barrier. No wonder it’s having a moment! And that isn’t all, it combines well and enhances other ingredients for extra hydration. So, with a daily dose of our Hyaluronic Serum layered with Liquid Minerals, you and your skin will be very happy.

Hydrating Ingredient: Pomegranate Extract and Antioxidants

pomegranate extract

Another important benefit you can give to your skin is daily application of an antioxidant. When used as ingredients in skincare and makeup, antioxidants fight free radicals, those nasty atoms looking for their missing electron that happily steal from your healthy cells and cause all kinds of problems. Pomegranate Extract is a hydrating ingredient and contains potent antioxidants used as an ingredient in PurePressed® Base Mineral Foundation, PurePressed® Blush and our beloved hydration spray, POMMISST™. It’s derived from the ancient fruit thought to be the actual apple in the Garden of Eden, and polyphenols in the extract provide the antioxidant. Studies show that Pomegranate Extract can help detoxify the skin from free radicals; help repair the skin from environmental and UV radiation damage; aid skin regeneration; and help protect the epidermis. If you’re drinking juice, choose pomegranate. It has skin wow-factor!

Hydrating Ingredient: Apple Extract

apple extract

Last but certainly not least is Apple Extract, used as an ingredient in our Smooth Affair Brightening Face Primer, a best-seller since the day we launched it. In addition to being an antioxidant, Apple Extract is also an exfoliator loaded with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). As we age, we don’t turn over the dead cells on the epidermis as quickly or as efficiently as we used to, resulting in drier, less vibrant-looking skin. Exfoliators break up the proteins that hold dead skin cells together, allowing for quicker, easier sloughing and resulting in a youthful glow. Apple Extract exfoliates without a scrubbing ingredient like microbeads (some microbeads are plastic and deadly for the environment), and it’s also rich in vitamin C, phenolic compounds and flavonoids, all beneficial for the health of the skin.

Happy reading of those ingredient labels and thanks for listening.


Jane Iredale

Jane Iredale

Founder of Iredale Cosmetics, Inc. Jane Iredale was born in England and moved to the United States as a young woman. She first attended New York University, then obtained her master’s degree in English and Philosophy at the University of Albany-SUNY. During her undergraduate studies she started her career in the entertainment industry, working first as a casting director and then as a writer and producer in both New York and Los Angeles. She moved on from film, television and theater to create her eponymous makeup line, jane iredale. With the launch of the mineral foundation Amazing Base, in 1994, she introduced a makeup line that would nurture skin, not irritate it; a makeup line that she could feel good about producing, and women could feel good about wearing. The business is run from the charming town of Great Barrington, MA where the company’s campus comes complete with organic gardens and direct access to a riverside walking path. She lives in town with her husband, and dog, Cookie.