Magic Mitt is essentially a glorified washcloth, although it does feel softer and silkier on skin than a standard cotton washcloth. Here’s the “magic” part of this product: it is meant to be used without cleanser. Iredale maintains that all you need to do is wet Magic Mitt with warm water, place the mitt on your hand, and massage over your face. Doing so is said to remove all makeup, no need for a separate cleanser, no extra steps, no mess.
Does it work? Yes, but not as well or as magically as the claims state. Like most washcloths, massaging this over your face will help remove makeup and excess surface oils. Used around the eyes, with modest pressure, this removes eyeshadow and, yes, even mascara (though the amount of pulling around the eye area and friction on delicate lashes can lead to problems down the road, not to mention immediate issues of losing lashes). The issue is that it's easier to ensure all your makeup is removed with a cleanser than Magic Mitt, because unless you splash your face thoroughly after using the Mitt, you'll be leaving makeup residue behind.
The main problem is that many will find Magic Mitt doesn’t leave their face feeling clean. Without question, this cannot leave skin feeling as refreshed and cleansed as a gentle, water-soluble cleanser. And contrary to claim, Magic Mitt quickly becomes stained with makeup and can look grimy after several uses, even if you follow the directions and wash the mitt with hand soap after each use. Foundation, lipstick, and mascara leave telltale marks on this face cloth.
The best candidate for Magic Mitt is someone with dry, sensitive skin who finds almost any cleanser (or face cloth) they try to be too drying or harsh. In this instances, you’ll want to use Magic Mitt with a delicate touch, especially around the eyes and if you massage this directly over eyelashes to break down mascara. It is not recommended for those with oily or breakout-prone skin, nor is it a good bet for those with rosacea, it’s possible some women with rosacea will do well with Magic Mitt if used with extreme gentleness.
What about the claim that Magic Mitt won’t harbor bacteria or fungi? Don’t bet on it. The claim isn’t supported by documented testing proving Magic Mitt remains sterile if cleansed as directed, and given that bacteria and fungi are naturally present in our environment, the claim becomes somewhat silly. Besides, leaving this to dry between uses in your bathroom (as most will naturally do) leaves it damp in an environment that’s particularly conducive to bacterial growth.
Magic Mitt quickly and completely removes makeup using NO cleanser. This cleansing process promotes the health of the skin because it does not affect the skin's natural acid mantle. When this beneficial barrier is intact, it aids the skin in protecting itself from harmful and invasive bacteria.
Jane Iredale At-A-Glance
Strengths: Lip balm with SPF 15 (a rare find); some impressive makeup, particularly the powder-based products; most of the makeup brushes are good.
Weaknesses: Skincare isn’t Iredale’s strong suit; mostly bad concealers; PureMoist LipColours SPF 18 contain irritating peppermint; some superfluous specialty products.
The Jane Iredale line primarily features its mineral makeup, along with several other cosmetics. The skin-care selection from Jane Iredale is limited to a few ancillary products, although a couple of them are definite options if you're a fan of this line.
For more information about Jane Iredale, call (800) 869-9420 or visit the Web site at www.janeiredale.com.
Iredale's color line is advertised as "The Skin Care Makeup," but it isn't skin-care-like at all, at least not in the way you may imagine. Ingredients like boron nitride, mica, and zinc stearate (also known as zinc soap) have no benefit for skin, and they are the primary ingredients of Iredale's loose powders. A few of the products do include mineral-based, gentle sunscreens and a smattering of antioxidants (though the packaging will render them unstable after opening). The ingredient lists are also relatively short, which is beneficial for those with sensitivities, but that's about as skin-caring as this line gets.
You do need to be wary of some of Iredale's questionable claims, such as "Because our bases are concentrated pigment, the coverage we can achieve is far superior to normal makeup with a minimum amount of product. This is why mineral makeup should always look sheer and natural." These powders can be applied sheer, but the very nature of these ingredients results in products that are heavy-textured and that, like it or not, can look powdery and "made-up" on the skin. This is especially true if you have any dry patches, because these mineral powders, which also claim to "trap moisture," will exacerbate any dryness and can look caked and change color over very oily areas. Actually they do trap moisture, but they trap it away from the skin. That's the nature of any powdered mineral - they are absorbent and as a result can be drying.
Iredale denigrates talc, dismissing it as cheap filler material and an irritant, but talc is the essential backbone for a number of the most luxurious-feeling powders you will find, some of which have a softness and virtually seamless finish on the skin that other lines (including Iredale's) should envy. And talc is not irritating, at least not any more than the mica Iredale chose to use in its place. Even more significant, talc is a natural ingredient and a mineral. Despite this, all of Iredale's claims revolving around how mineral makeups are better for skin are marketing hype to the max. The most important element of her mineral makeup is the overall gentle, fragrance-free formula that provides outstanding sun protection.
If the concept of a powdered makeup different from the traditional talc-based powders you've seen at the cosmetics counters or drugstores appeals to you, then this line presents some fine choices. We would recommend using caution when you read (or are told) about the inflated benefits of some rather ordinary but nevertheless effective ingredients. However, with a few exceptions, there is certainly nothing in these straightforward formulations that’s harmful or irritating, and that's always beneficial.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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