Kosas Founder, Sheena Yaitanes, on New Lip Products, Skin Care and Finally Entering Her ‘Sexy Phase’


Kosas has felt like a bit of a cultural reset in the makeup space. The products are formulated with skin-care nerds in mind but packaged with pops of color that will catch anyone’s eye, and the showstopping results are too compelling to ignore. The brand has always been a reflection of the mastermind behind it, Sheena Yaitanes, and where she’s at in her life.

Makeup is at its best when it serves as self-expression, and Kosas is just that for its founder. With two new launches, Hotliner ($19) and Plump + Juicy Lip Booster (launching 6/28), we caught up with Yaitanes who shared her skin-care secrets, the theme for her upcoming wedding and why she’s just now going through her sexy phase.

What inspired these two new launches Hotliner and Plump + Juicy Lip Booster?

“I believe lips can never be too plump and juicy. We added the Lip Booster to the lip lineup as a hard-working treatment for full, cushiony, healthier lips. Lips are one of the most sensitive parts of your body, so it was important to me that this product nourished lips with clean ingredients and worked without irritation. 

I was obsessed with getting just the right amount of glide on a lip liner: It couldn’t tug or be drying, but also I didn’t want it to be so creamy that it wasn’t long-wearing or didn’t have grip to contour the lip. The lip line gets fine lines easily, so it was also important that both products were packed with clean, lip-nourishing ingredients and felt super comfy on application.”

What are your favorite day and night combos of Hotliner and Wet Lip Oil?

“During the day, I love a soft neutral lip, so I pair Hotliner in 100 with our Wet Lip Oil ($22) in Unhooked. At night, I’ve been loving Hotliner in Peak paired with Wet Lip Oil in Unbuttoned.”

We know you love skin care as much as we do, so what is your daily skin-care routine?

“I’m always using prototypes that I’ve been working on to add to the Plump and Juicy collection. I love to cleanse using Augustinus Bader, exfoliate with Holifrog, and I use a peptide serum ($72) from Kat Rudu, and tretinoin from Musely. A brand I’m really excited to try is Rhode!”

What is something about Kosas that not everyone knows?

“The Kosas brand is rooted in color and the meaning behind colors. For example, the yellow of Revealer is representative of personal power and the confidence you get from great-looking skin. We then translate that color through lighting and backdrops.

Kosas campaigns are based on stories that I want to tell that are inspired by the things going on in my life. For example, the Wet Lip Oil campaign was shot while I was going through my divorce, and it was an opportunity for me to express a sense of freedom and liberation.”

What is something about you that not everyone knows?

“I have 15 tattoos, and you can’t even tell. I am getting married this summer and the theme is inspired by Miami because I am finally going through my sexy phase at age 38 now that I met my partner.”

It’s hard to pick a favorite child, but what are your top three must-have Kosas products? 

“Can I pick 4? Revealer Concealer ($28) Revealer Foundation ($42), Cloud Set Setting Powder ($34) and Hotliner.”

What has been the most surprising thing you’ve learned while owning your own beauty brand?

“How savvy the consumer really is when it comes to product quality. You can’t fake it ’til you make it in that department.”

What inspired you to create Kosas?

“I’ve always been a makeup lover and obsessed with ingredients, then in college when I studied organic chemistry, I felt a total unlock moment because I finally understood what the ingredients in my makeup were and why they were in there, and I also understood why they didn’t work well with my skin or felt uncomfortable. I felt that there were many alternate ingredients that hadn’t been explored by the beauty industry and that they could work better and feel more comfortable and also work better with my skin. On top of that, I have a deep love affair with color and wanted to share that with the world, and that’s how Kosas was born.”

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