The Fine Art of Lipstick: Q&A With Kosås’ Sheena Yaitanes
While we’re all for getting dolled up, there’s something equally wonderful about a fresh face and bold lip when it comes to makeup. And after recently discovering Kosås, we’re now even more convinced that a great lipstick (that’s also made without junky parabens, phthalates and sulfates) is really all a woman needs.
It figures that founder Sheena Yaitanes credits her background in, science, art and time living in France with the inspiration behind her minimally-geared lipstick line. We wanted to find out more about Sheena’s beauty philosophy, as well as what it’s like to dive into the makeup industry, and are sharing our chat with her below.
DM: Tell us about your background. Has makeup always been a part of your story?
Sheena: Always. My mom worked in the beauty industry and my house was full of makeup when I was growing up. I was always in love with it and never stopped experimenting. I studied the sciences in school and worked as a laboratory researcher. Art was also a love of mine, and I spent a couple of years studying with an incredible female contemporary artist in LA. I never stopped loving makeup, though, and eventually all my skills lined up perfectly and Kosås was born.
DM: What was the catalyst to starting Kosås? How did you go from idea to company?
Sheena: When I was studying portrait painting with my teacher, we were diving deep into creating skin tones, and I saw how many different shades really go into making human looking skin. That was when I realized I needed to bring that fine art perspective into creating makeup shades. I started developing and launched the line two years later.
DM: How did your time in Paris influence you? Why do you think American women are so captivated by French beauty?
Sheena: I lived with an editor for a French beauty magazine during my time in Paris. She was such a wealth of knowledge. She showed me how to layer products, how to massage the face, and she taught me the art of restraint when it came to makeup. I think that restraint is exactly what is so captivating about French women. They know just when to stop.
DM: How should a woman choose her lipstick color? (IE: Are there any rules or shades best for certain skin tones?)
Sheena: Lighter skin tones can choose pretty freely. Medium to medium plus to dark skin tones are a little trickier. Bright shades are easier, but when it comes to nudes, I suggest not going lighter than your skin tone, and the darker your skin, the more you want to avoid cool toned nudes because they can look ashy.
DM: What are your thoughts on Photoshop, filtering apps and how they relate to beauty?
Sheena: I mean, you can wear less makeup if you’re going to use Photoshop. I see absolutely nothing wrong with editing photos. When I’m editing something I ask myself,”Is this (mole, blemish, dark circle) distracting from the story of this photo?” If the answer is yes, out it goes. That is an example of using Photoshop as a form of expression. If the story of the photo is “look how perfect I am,” then it was never going to be compelling anyway.
In terms of how a woman uses makeup daily, it starts from within. Knowing who you are on the inside so that you know what you want to portray on the outside. You can tell when you meet someone who is sure on the inside. They approach you soul first, not makeup first.
If the story of the photo is ‘look how perfect I am,’ then it was never going to be compelling anyway.
DM: How do you balance life as a mom and entrepreneur?
Sheena: I lean heavily on others for help and try not to fall into the trap of trying to do it all with either my business or my family. I make sure not to get short sighted about parenting. I think it’s damaging to take the temperature of a situation on a daily basis. I really believe that the biggest gift I give my child is the room to exist.
DM: What are you most excited about for Kosås in the future?
Sheena: I get so excited when someone tells me, “this is the color that has been missing all my life.” I can’t wait to expand the collection so that I can fill more holes like that in women’s lives.
You can tell when you meet someone who is sure on the inside. They approach you soul first, not makeup first.
DM: When you feel the most beautiful?
Sheena: Right after I take one of those very successful showers where I wash my hair, use a hair mask, skin brush my whole body, and exfoliate my face. I love feeling spotless.
DM: What would we be surprised to know about you?
Sheena: I’m SUCH a homebody. It would feel like a vacation to stay home for weeks and just have everything delivered and wear nothing but various forms of loungewear.
To find your perfect color, shop the Kosås collection HERE and also follow along on Instagram @kosascosmetics.
Images via Julia Stotz