5 Minutes With... Kevin Mendleson, Global Educator for Jane Iredale

Pink Diva meets Kevin.

This year I finally discovered Jane Iredale cosmetics and it has been well worth the wait let me tell you! A makeup and skincare brand so pure that is heals and treats skin when worn, Jane Iredale cosmetics is taking the world by storm. At Sydney's 2010 Beauty Expo I was lucky enough to meet Kevin Mendleson, Jane's right-hand man. Kevin is the Global Educator and Makeup Artist for Jane Iredale and his role is to train and educate beauty therapists, salons, spas, and everyday women all over the world. In a nutshell, Kevin has my dream job! When we met, Kevin made me feel really comfortable in his presence right away. He is a natural - he is friendly, upbeat and gets excited about the products. It is easy to see why Jane chose him as the brand's Global Educator and Head Makeup Artist because he fits this customer service role perfectly.
Here is what we discussed...

Kevin, you’re the Global Makeup Artist and Educator for Jane Iredale, how did you land this dream role?
Wow, it didn’t happen overnight (laughs). It took me about 12-14 years of work, work, work, work – it was fun work. I decided when I was selling the product in New Orleans as a stockist and decided that I didn’t want any regrets in my life so I took an opportunity having family in New York city to relocate after 31 years in New Orleans to Manhattan and it was my intention to help Jane build the brand. I had no particular plans, I said to Jane ‘just tell me what you need from me and I’ll be happy to contribute.’

One person was connected to the next through my affiliation with Iredale in New Orleans and Jane and I shared contact details. We met in Manhattan, she bought me lunch, she looked at my portfolio and asked me a few questions and the rest is a sweet Iredale relationship which has been fruitful since then. I was willing the put in the hours and the travel, she was handling all of the international education by herself and it’s a lot. The kind of organic growth that she’s had was extreme in a tight period of time so for her to be able to handle all of that was impossible. She only had so many hours in the day and so much energy so she was very generous and gracious enough to trust me to help steward that responsibility to represent her and the brand overseas. So that’s how I did it, I just said let me help! (laughs)

Tell us how you got started in the industry
I’m very impatient so by nature I like to see the results of my work immediately and I had dabbled in makeup but I didn’t really know what I was doing when I first started out and this December will begin year 18 in the industry for me as a beauty therapist so I went to do an early course in basic makeup, and I learned basic technique. This was a decade before anyone was talking about minerals. In fact is was 1994, the year when Jane started Iredale Mineral Cosmetics that I did my course. From there I just got my hands on every face that would let me touch them and just did it. I created horrible results, I created beautiful results to see what I could do, develop me hand and my eye and then my makeup evolved and my clientele evolved, the opportunities for makeup grew and that’s how I got in to makeup.

What has been your most memorable experience as Global Makeup Artist and Educator for Jane Iredale?
Image: StyleJive.com
There’s no one experience… “the” experience for me is what just happened down at the (Jane Iredale) booth: when someone asks me, ‘Can you do this for my eyes’ or they say, ‘I have never trusted someone to do my makeup before’ and there’s that moment when you have that connection and there’s this almost tangible feeling where we get excited together and say ‘God, that’s good!’

The whole point of makeup is to make you feel better so if I can make that moment where she looks in the mirror and goes, ‘Wow!’ … that’s my memorable experience always whether it’s in the United States, New Zealand or in Greece or in Poland. People are more alike than they are different.

So Kevin, why mineral makeup?
I can speak for why Jane’s mineral makeup – the products make me a better artist. I can do twice as much in half the time, with superior results and it feeds the skin, it’s part of the solution rather than part of the problem so instead of having to amp up or rectify skincare to balance off what the makeup does, the makeup is an extension of that skincare and Jane’s products have never let me down. Ever. The makeup will never make a person break out, I’ve never had anyone say this created a pimple or acne, in fact it’s always the opposite, you know. They say, ‘I’ve had this sensitivity – or rosacea - for years’ or ‘I’ve had this acne that just won’t go away’, and in a few weeks of daily wear of Jane’s product the effects start to disappear and if they don’t disappear they reduce dramatically, to a point where it’s not as much of a distraction and then it’s not an emotional burden. Women are the ones dominating the cosmetics industry and they are working, cooking, bringing up kids and in addition to that they are coping with skin issues and so the very products that they were hoping would camouflage it and make them feel better about themselves are actually creating imbalances that they don’t appreciate. And who would! So Jane’s products make me a better artist in that way – a more effective artist too.

How does Jane Iredale compare with other makeup brands?
Image: TheBeautyAlchemist.blogspot.com
The quality of the ingredients is really important, Jane won’t compromise on quality. We are the only FDA certified highly water resistant SPF, and then what Jane would say is to put Iredale on one side of your face and put the other brand on the other and decide for yourself why you like it better. It's due to its performance – it doesn’t look like other minerals, it doesn’t feel like other minerals, it doesn’t crease or wear off over a 12 hour day like other minerals. But it’s non-comedogenic and doesn’t irritate the skin. It is highly anti-inflammatory and the SPF is really crucial – it stays on all day. You forget you’re wearing it.

Kevin then tells me a story about how a beauty therapist was chatting to a client who asked if Jane Iredale was good for her skin and the beauty therapist says to the lady, “I’m going to be REALLY honest with you… (points at her own makeup) this is from last night!” and we both start laughing.

Truth be told you can actually sleep in it – I mean it’s not one of those things we promote because your skincare is still the most important step… your pillow case may not be happy about it the next day depending on how much mascara and lip gloss you were wearing! (laughs)
Jane lives her philosophy; she’s not just milling products to feed a market. She created the market, she opened up the market and she did it with a female chemist which is important to know in an industry dominated by male chemists. Here at Jane Iredale we’re very attentive to reduce, reuse, recycle. Jane has a green team at her home office who meet on a regular basis and in addition to their regular work they reduce our carbon print, reduce our packaging.

What are your favourite products in the range?
The short answer is anything that makes the skin look glorious so the foundations of course – I love the loose and the pressed. The liquid is unlike any other liquid I’ve ever used. It makes the skin so creamy and satiny and smooth. If a client has texture issues from scarring, acne, or surgery the way that Jane has worked the particles and processed them changes the way our eyes perceive that texture so all of her skin products are gorgeous. I’m addicted to Lip Fixation – I’m fixated on Fixation! I haven’t picked up a lip pencil in months since this stuff came out. It is absolutely the most gorgeous colour stay products I have ever used and it’s completely botanical.

Tell us about some of the new products in the range:
  • Lip Fixation – completely botanically derived, no feathering or creping, the gloss is a thicker glaze so at first it feels a little bit heavy but once the body heat melts it in the lips you will forget you’re wearing it.
  • The Eye-Steps trios are really remarkable – this is the first time Jane has created collections to compliment eye colours. The beauty of these is that they interlock so you don’t have to carry them all when you are going out. You can pull them apart and mix them with other towers and carry it with you.
  • Phoenix is an introductory product for an organization in the US called Living Beyond Breast Cancer. This is the third product that is specifically for this organization. Jane donates a portion of every single sale which is designed to assist women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and are surpassing their treatment.
    It’s a nude sugar (lip scrub) and butter (lip balm), it is a milky pink and can be worn by women of all ages because it is opaque, and it is not shimmery. It’s light, feminine and pretty and it’s a great product as a gift as well because they know the organization it assists – it’s a very good cause, it’s a common cause. Jane gave it the name because Phoenix is a mythical bird which always rises from the ashes.
Do you have any tips on mineral makeup?
Work in sheer layers, don’t judge all minerals by one experience. Not all minerals are processed alike, they’re not of the same quality. Here’s a general makeup tip: if you want to try a new look, wait until the end of the day when you are about to clean off your makeup so try something really daring that you want to try but don’t want to do right before that big event – that way if you love it then you have something to look forward to and if you hate it then you can wash it off anyway.


melmeko said...

Very interesting read Tam, thanks for sharing. I have not tried any JI products but that Lip Fixation sounds wonderful, will have to track down one of those to try, oh and of course a foundation and a concealer etc etc, lol :)

Pink Diva: Makeup Artist and Beauty Guru xx said...

Thanks for reading. I love JI products - can't wait to share my love with the world!

With Love, Elle said...

ive been meaning to try minerals and thats a really great tip about trying a new look at the end of the day!

xoxo elle

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