See Jane Grow Up

Older (i.e. young) Jane, 2000

Jane Cosmetics began life in the mid-Nineties as an inexpensive line of skincare and makeup aimed at teenaged girls. What made the line most appealing was that no single item cost more than $3. I first tried Jane products about nine years ago. I had just paid a visit to my first WalMart as the chain spread beyond its southern roots and came up north. I had only seen Jane products in magazine ads, and on seeing them in person, the funky packaging and cheap prices grabbed my attention. I purchased some of their GoodSkin skincare products, including a facial Soap Stick, a toner, and a moisturizer, as well as a few makeup items. The Soap Stick consisted of a stick of solid soap in a round tube that you pushed up from the bottom as you used it up, just like a solid deodorant. It was a brilliant concept, eliminating the need for a separate soap dish, and perfect for travel. But as brilliant a concept as it was, the soap inside the tube was too drying, and the moisturizer was not moisturizing enough. These products were just not intended for my then-30-something face. Yet it seemed that while the price points were perfect for the teenaged girls who made up the company's target consumer, these teenaged girls weren't buying enough of the brand. Sales were not up to snuff for the Estee Lauder Company, who owned Jane. To make matters worse, the budget stores and drugstores that carried the line didn't display it prominently. Jane Cosmetics were overshadowed by more established brands, as well as more blatantly tweenybopper lines like Mary Kate and Ashley. The brand was in danger of being eliminated altogether.

Newer (i.e. older) Jane

In 2004, an investor who had faith in the brand bought the company with an eye towards updating it. Her plan was to make the line appeal to women of all ages while still maintaining lower price points. This investor, today the company's CEO, vowed that she would replace her Chanel makeup, one piece at a time, with the new Jane products that she helped to introduce. She kept her word. Today Jane has re-emerged as an inexpensive yet quality drugstore brand, so much so that the ladies from The View voted Jane Cosmetics the best drugstore brand in 2007.

I decided to re-visit Jane Cosmetics, in an effort to break my high-end cosmetics addiction. In today's economy, I, like many people, just can't justify spending $30 on a foundation anymore. So back I went to my local WalMart. I purchased two Jane products: Nearly Foundation tinted moisturizer, and Blushing Cheeks powder blush. The Nearly Foundation comes in three shades, and contains an SPF of 30. With Oxybenzone, it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. I purchased the lightest shade, Fair. The shades are very pink-based, which is perfect for my skin with its pink undertones, but may not be neutral enough for yellow-undertoned women. But I am very pleased with it. The shade blends into my skin invisibly, and the coverage evens out the redness on the areas of my face where I break out. For $4.47, it has already replaced my LORAC ProtecTINT tinted moisturizer ($32). The Blushing Cheeks powder blushes are just like the powder blushes I bought nine years ago, proving the theory that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. And at $3.22 (at Walmart), the price hasn't changed much in those nine years, either. It comes in eight shades, with pinks, peaches, and neutral shades, so there's something for everyone.

In keeping with their intention to appeal to a broader consumer demographic, Jane Cosmetics has also added mineral makeup to their line. Their Be Pure Mineral Makeup includes liquid mineral foundation, pressed and loose mineral powder, mineral eyeshadow, and mineral powder blush. And Jane's media and marketing are also updated to appeal to women rather than teenagers. Their new advertisements feature young women rather than teenaged girls. Their website,, no longer has cute, Illustrator-generated graphics, music that starts playing as soon as you open the page, and the girl-power user forums typical of many websites aimed at young girls.

While the line no longer prices everything for $3, the new prices aren't much more expensive than that. Jane no longer makes skincare products, which is a shame, because I really did like the concept of the Soap Stick. Perhaps some day Jane will re-introduce them, with more moisturizing formulas. Until then, I'm happy knowing that I can get quality makeup at rock-bottom prices during this economic recession. Jane Cosmetics are available at WalMart, as well as drugstores such as Walgreens and CVS.



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