Kosas is a clean beauty brand with products that are makeup meets skincare. Find out how founder Sheena Yaitanes created the cult-favorite Kosas Tinted Face Oil and more.
Welcome to Beauty Boss, a reoccurring series in which we spotlight the power players driving the beauty world forward. Consider this your chance to steal their get-ahead secrets, and grow from the real-life lessons they’ve learned on the job.
It takes just 10 seconds to experience the magic of Kosas' cult-favorite Tinted Face Oil Foundation. The makeup-skincare hybrid blends effortlessly, giving your face a "your skin, but better" look. The ease of application is the premise behind all of the brand's products, including lipsticks, blush and highlighter palettes, and its latest launch, eyeshadow, which you guessed it: goes on in 10 seconds flat.
The Tinted Face Oil is a fan-favorite, but founder Sheena Yaitanes started her line of clean, minimalist makeup products with a collection of lipsticks. After studying organic chemistry in college, she honed her painting skills by apprenticing with a fine artist. Fast forward to years later, she wondered why the perfect lipstick didn't exist — so she made one, available in shades ranging from bold and bright to neutral. And thus, Kosas was born.
Here, we caught up with Yaitanes to talk the challenge of making clean lipsticks, how to make products that are quick and simple to use, the perfect five-minute makeup look, and more.
Tell me how you got your start in the beauty industry.
I grew up around makeup and beauty, and gravitated to it at a very young age. I studied it even when I didn’t know I was studying it.
What inspired the concept of Kosas?
My drive has always been to make it easy for women to find makeup that works, really works, every single time. I believe makeup should be easy to use, perfectly flattering, comfortable, and good for your skin.
Why did you start with lipsticks first, and was it hard to sell the idea of a line that only had one product category?
Lipstick collections were the hardest to wade through. Literally hundreds of colors, with no guidance on which one to choose. It was so intimidating and could leave you feeling like you made the wrong choice, so I wanted to completely streamline that process by pouring all the development into just a few colors that are universally flattering.
What does your daily makeup routine look like?
It’s very quick. I move fast when I’m doing my makeup and I use my hands a lot, so I always keep tissues nearby. Today, I used a few drops of Tinted Face Oil in Tone 5.5, Tropic Equinox on my cheekbones (I went a little overboard, it was a mood), 10-Second Eyeshadow in Element, and Weightless Lip Color in Phoenix. It’s a super bold look, but still took less than five minutes.
The clean beauty genre has changed so much in the past few years. What do you think still needs to change?
I’d love to see more diverse points of view across clean, and maybe less emphasis on the clean aspect as the main story. We are definitely starting to see them, but there is still a little bit of sameness across the category.
How many incarnations does a product go through before you land on the shades? Is it harder to create a wider shade range when ingredients are clean?
It’s never the same situation twice. Sometimes we nail a color on the first pass, and sometimes it takes 20 different tweaks until we get it there. There are some limitations with regard to color, but nature is amazing and there are many paths to a color, so we always find a way.
VIDEO: Beauty School: How to Properly Cover A Pimple
What Kosas products are you most proud of making?
Moments like Tinted Face Oil and our new 10-Second Eyeshadow are particularly emotional for me, because they are a totally new approach, and because of that there is a certain risk involved. So, when they land and solve problems for women, I feel so proud.
What's next for the brand?
We will keep making things that we can’t not make.