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How Kosas Founder Sheena Yaitanes Is Redefining Makeup Minimalism


Happy Women’s History Month! To celebrate, we’re spotlighting a few beauty trailblazers and IPSY brand partners who are putting their stamp on the industry. These women are pushing for inclusivity, breaking business barriers, and innovating from a whole new perspective—and we’re all the better for it.

If you feel overwhelmed by beauty, you’re not alone. There are tens of thousands of new products being created every single year, and you’re bombarded by them pretty much everywhere you consume content. There’s a reason it’s a $49 billion industry. Sheena Yaitanes founded Kosas to be the antidote to that anxiety.

“I’ve always been a makeup lover but felt alienated by the beauty industry,” she says. “The brands I was seeing offered an overwhelming number of options, most of which were really unflattering or ineffective.” That’s where the idea for Kosas began. Her goal: creating an easy-to-navigate brand that was simple, unfussy, and really worked. The brand debuted in 2015 with their Weightless Lipsticks, a collection of nourishing, long-lasting lipsticks for everyday wear.

Six years after the launch, Yaitanes still finds inspiration in the needs of real-life women—a winning formula proven by the brand’s fast success. Kosas is now sold at major national retailers (we’re sampling their Tinted Face Oil Foundation and Lipstick and Blush Duos in our March Glam Bags!). “I saw a disconnect between what was being offered in the beauty industry and what my closest friends and other women I admired had available to them. This was essentially the catalyst for my brand.”

Want to know more about Kosas and founder Sheena Yaitanes? Keep scrolling.

1. She believes beauty is more than skin deep.

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A post shared by Kosas (@kosas)

“We think about beauty in the context of the whole person—style, story, and inner depth,” says Yaitanes. “It’s beauty on your terms, but also it’s makeup that supports your skin through deep science and unique formulations.” In fact, the brand’s name even comes from the philosophy that the self is made up of five interconnected layers, or kosas: physical, energetic, mental, intellectual, and soul. “It’s our purpose to cultivate beauty on every level,” she adds. “There’s so much more to beauty than just how we look on the surface.”

2. She’s a mompreneur.

“Before we were all working remotely, I would usually be in the office first thing in the morning,” says Yaitanes. “I also spent a lot of time in our product development labs or meeting with retailers.” Like every working mother, her day-to-day looks pretty different this past year. Yaitanes’ daily routine now includes homeschooling her daughter Electra and trying to find balance as a parent, teacher, and brand founder. “With that said, my days don’t all look the same, and I am really grateful for that. I have done it the other way, too, and I know how lucky I am. I just do whatever the calendar says.”

3. She’s all about minimalism.

Like Kosas’ brand identity (easy and unfussy), Yaitanes’ entire routine is pretty low maintenance, too, “I spend about 20 minutes getting fully ready in the morning, including showering, getting dressed, skincare, hair, and makeup.” Her record-speed routine includes a lot of face oils, a quick pass with a flat iron to remove frizz (she only shampoos every three or four days—a major time saver!), and minimal makeup. Her everyday look includes strong brows, dewy skin, and a neutral lip. “I've found that my best Zoom hack is a clear lip gloss.”

4. She takes self-care to the next level.

The only way to make self-care even more indulgent is to do it in the comfiest spot you can find. For Yaitanes, that’s her bed. “After a long day, I finally get in bed and turn on the TV,” she says. “I don't even bother looking for something to watch, I just go straight to Friends. I love doing my nightly skincare routine while watching TV in bed. It’s my happy place.”

5. She thinks it’s ok to be a little selfish.

Yaitanes’ best advice when pursuing a goal is to keep focused on what you want. “You will have many people advise you, but at the end of the day remember your purpose,” she says. “Empower yourself to pursue your passion and not one minute of it will feel like work.”

A minimalist beauty routine calls for can’t-live-without products. We can help! Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started with your very own IPSY Glam Bag. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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About the author
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Maddie Aberman
Maddie is the senior manager of editorial at IPSY. She’s been covering beauty and wellness for more than nine years. Her work has appeared in Allure, Cosmopolitan, Popsugar, Women's Health, Good Housekeeping, and Seventeen, among other publications.
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Article Last Updated March 23, 2021 12:00 AM