Sheena Yaitanes is the brains behind the beauty, literally. Yaitanes is the founder of Kosas, the visionary collection of elevated color cosmetics. Consciously formulated with prestige ingredients, their botanically-rich formulas flatter a true range of skin tones and illuminate every look. The name comes from the philosophy of the five interconnected layers, or “kosas” of the self: the physical, energetic, mental, intellectual and soul. It’s their purpose to cultivate beauty on every level. We chatted to the stunning Yaitanes about building Instagram’s favorite lip brand.
Congratulations on Kosas’ success! What was your original inspiration for the brand?
SHEENA YAITANES: I had never, ever met a lipstick that felt good. I had never, ever met a foundation that looked good throughout the course of an entire day. I would have to scour the earth to find a simple peachy-orange blush. I didn’t want to scour the earth anymore. I wanted it all in one place, and I knew it was possible if someone took responsibility and made it happen.
Women were (and still are) my inspiration. I saw a disconnect between the beauty looks of my closest friends and other people I admired and what was available. The name Kosas comes from the philosophy of the 5 layers of the self. The physical layer is just one layer and there’s so much more to beauty than just how we look on the surface. I believe makeup should be flattering, easy and good for your skin. It should be comfortable. It should let you express yourself. It should make you feel your best. Our clean formulas don’t sacrifice performance. They work better than before. Truer colors. Impeccable feel. Ultra comfortable wear. Nourishing for your skin. This is the makeup that I have always wanted.
What’s your daily beauty routine like?
SY: Morning: If everything is going well and I’m running on time, I take one extra minute before my shower to dry brush. It’s so quick and makes my skin look and feel dramatically better, so I love doing it. I cleanse my face in the shower using True Botanicals Clear Hydrating Cleanser, and I take a minute working it in and massaging my face. I use True Botanical Nourishing Wash on my body. Out of the shower, I massage my face with Dr. Roebuck’s No Worries Hydrating Face Moisturizer. I get dressed while that absorbs, which also helps me decide the makeup colors that will work best. My makeup routine takes less than 5 minutes. I use my fingers to sweep 4-5 drops of Kosas Tinted Face Oil (I wear Tone 5.5) all over my face, then I use a blush brush to sweep Kosas Powder Blush and Highlighter Duo in Contrachroma along the tops of my cheekbones to quickly sculpt my face and then I apply a lipstick that works with my outfit. Right now I’m reaching for Kosas Weightless Lip Color in Phoenix almost every day, which is the perfect, fiery, ultra flattering red that lights up my entire face.
— Evening: The first step is to remove my makeup. I first use True Botanical Pre Cleanse to melt and emulsify my makeup, then I mix a little bit of Dr Roebucks Noosa Creme Cleanser with a squirt of Bioderma Micellar Water in the palm of my hand and cleanse my entire face. Right now, I’m loving the Dr. Roebuck’s True Blue Hydrating Serum. It’s the first hyaluronic serum I’ve used that doesn’t seem to dehydrate the surface of my skin. Just before I go to sleep, I rub 2 drops of pure, Persian rose water between the palms of my hands and pat my face while inhaling the scent, then I repeat with Hawaiian sandalwood oil. Lastly, I apply Kosas LipFuel Hyaluronic Lip Balm in Baseline to keep my lips hydrated overnight.
Your packaging and branding is so unique! Tell us about it?
SY: I’m not a super girly girl, even though I love makeup and skincare. The overall look of Kosas packaging embodies that. It’s beautiful but not pretty, with a little bit of a sporty, casual, edge. I also love to play with textures, mixing matte with glossy, mixing materials for different hand feel, adding elements to the packaging that gives feedback, like a magnetic click, or steel balls for shaking. It makes the makeup feel more like a living thing.
What’s the best beauty tip you’ve ever been given?
SY: My mom taught me to be a little careless with dark lipstick. There’s something freeing about the messiness.
As the founder, how do you think you embody the Kosas brand?
SY: Without a doubt, my personal embodiment of Kosas is that I do not spend a lot of time putting on my makeup on an ordinary day. I need quick, I need reliable, I need makeup that works every time. That’s what I hoped to bring to all women with Kosas.
What’s been your favorite part of building the Kosas brand?
SY: It’s been such a wild ride. 5 years ago at my kitchen table, I could never have imagined the company as it exists today. I love creating product, I love the scared/excited feeling I get when we launch something new and most of all, I am so proud of my team. I could not be luckier to have the opportunity to work with them every day.
What are some of your favorite spots in LA?
SY: I am a pretty extreme homebody, but when I do venture out, I love a Grand Spa in Koreatown, the Starbucks drive-thru on Highland and anything Nancy Silverton has ever touched.
What are you most excited about for summer 2019?
SY: I’m most excited about launching 10-Second Eyeshadow. We’ve been working away at the product for the last year and it’ll be so exciting to get it out into the world.