Most people’s early experiments with makeup come care of their mother’s lipstick stash, and Sheena Yataines was no exception—but, thing is, her mom just happened to work at fancy beauty brands like Clarins and Clinique. “My friends still bring up memories of coming over to my house to play with all of the piles of samples my mom would bring home,” laughs Sheena. Between those early makeover parties and launching her own line of holy-grail lipsticks, Kosås, in 2015, Sheena took some pretty formative detours, though. First, she studied molecular biology, until observing a spinal tap put an end to any med-school aspirations. So, instead of an M.D., she got an MBA—and then, just to be sure she wanted to be an entrepreneur, she tested the fine-art waters as a painter’s apprentice.
It was while mixing pigments for skin tones in the studio that everything gelled. “It suddenly became clear to me why it was so hard to find a good nude lipstick,” Sheena explains. “In art, you would never just mix red and white to make pink—there are blues, a lot of yellow, a little bit of brown involved. So I put that color theory to work and created eight basic shades that really do look good on everyone.” And all those STEM classes didn’t go to waste—each one of Kosås’s rose- and terracotta-based shades has a creamy, non-waxy texture thanks to a precise combo of absorbent oils like orange and rosehip and heavier, sealing emollients like shea butter. The result? Endlessly flattering shades that feel wayyyy better than whatever you used to swipe from your mama. —courtney conway