Inside Kosas Beauty: Founder Sheena Zadeh-Daly on skincare, clean beauty, and global domination

Behind the brand


By Redzhanna Jazmin

Inside Kosas Beauty: Founder Sheena Zadeh-Daly on skincare, clean beauty, and global domination

From the clean revolution to a full global takeover, Sheena Zadeh-Daly dishes on her viral beauty brand, Kosas Beauty.

Founded in 2015, Kosas Beauty derives its name from the five Koshas—the layers of the self from Vedic philosophy. It’s the idea that our physical appearance is a manifestation of who we truly are on the inside. This philosophy has long guided the Kosas brand, inspiring its cult-favourite lineup of skin-caring formulations and skin-like finishes.

Almost 10 years on from its inception, the Kosas Beauty brand has finally entered the Malaysian market. We speak to founder Sheena Zadeh-Daly about the brand’s global expansion, her personal skincare struggles, her pivot from biology to beauty, and her philosophy on balancing motherhood and entrepreneurship. Read our full exclusive ahead:



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What first got you interested in beauty and makeup? 

“I’ve loved makeup my entire life. My mom worked behind the makeup counter, and she would bring home a lot of makeup when I was growing up. I’ve also always loved art and colour. When I was a kid, I would go into the art store and just stand in front of the display of markers. I wanted a beauty brand that mixed shades with the same precision and thought found in art. 

“I also felt like the beauty industry created this mindset of hiding and fixing and I wanted to shift that to more revealing and expressing through makeup. I believe that when we’re feeling good and comfortable in our skin, we want to look our best and celebrate ourselves through makeup. The brand was inspired by my own personal skincare journey, too. I struggled with sensitive, acne-prone skin growing up and the endless cycle of makeup making my skin worse. Kosas was born for people like me, who have sensitive skin but don’t want to sacrifice really great makeup.”


What does your everyday beauty routine look like?

“My beauty routine is a very grounding and meditative part of my day. My everyday look is comfy glam, which is all about healthy skin, full and fluffy brows, and plump and juicy lips. I want to enhance my features but still look like me. 

“I start with Plump and Juicy Collagen Spray-on Serum and massage it in. I layer on BB Burst, which also acts as my moisturiser—I use one or two pumps depending on the coverage I want that day. Then I use Revealer Concealer wherever I need more coverage but also to highlight, lift, and shape my face. I set my makeup with Cloud Set Setting Powder and I use Sun Show Bronzer across my cheekbones and forehead for a healthy, natural-looking glow. 

“I shape and set my brows with Brow Pop Nano Ultra-Fine Detailing Pencil and Air Brow Tinted Volumizing Treatment Gel. I overline my lips with Hotliner (coming later this summer to Malaysia!) and pair it with either Wet Lip Oil or Wet Stick, depending on the look I’m going for.”


kosas beauty malaysia


You’ve got a background in biology—could you delve into your pivot into beauty from science and how it may inform your formulation process? 

“I majored in biology in college and it unlocked a whole new level of understanding of ingredients. It taught me the language of science—each compound has a specific name assigned to it, so when you read a product ingredient it quite literally tells you its exact composition. 

“As I began formulating, I was able to understand this language or scientific code, ultimately helping me to create better makeup products. When developing products, we need to achieve two things: the finish has to look really alive and we only use skincare actives that have a lot of data and research behind them.”


Clean beauty has no true definition or regulations in the industry—what does clean beauty mean to you? Why was it so important to have Kosas be a clean brand in both ethos and marketing?

“It was never my intention to create a clean beauty brand, but when I was in the testing phases of developing formulas it just so happened that the best ingredients were also clean. I’ve always believed in the power of plants and their natural capabilities to create beautiful things. For me, Clean isn’t about banned lists, but about using ingredients that feel really good and that do really good things for your skin. I want each product to have super nourishing ingredients at active levels so it’s both 100 per cent makeup and 100 per cent skincare.


What would you say the “starter pack” Kosas must-haves are for those new to the brand?

“The Kosas look is all about healthy, glowing skin. We call our complexion products “The Tinted Skincare Lineup” since they give both amazing real-skin finishes and are skincare powerhouses. I would say these are the three must-haves to start: Revealer Concealer, BB Burst Tinted Gel Cream, and Cloud Set Baked Setting + Smoothing Powder.”


kosas beauty malaysia


Having launched in 2015, Kosas has seen global growth in quite a short space of time, with the brand moving into the UK last year and Asia this year. What do you think has catapulted Kosas on this trajectory?

“First, it’s our skin-improving, clinically-proven makeup. Every product has super nourishing ingredients at active levels to bring real skincare benefits. As a brand, when we create something, we put sensitive skin first and do everything we can from ideation, formulation, and testing to ensure the products are suitable for sensitive and all skin types. 

“Also, our makeup look, which is both natural but transformative, sets us apart. Our first shades were created in a portrait painting class and I spent a lot of time on colour development. I want our shades to be unique and dimensional, but also super easy to wear.”


On that note, what has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in bringing Kosas global?

“Kosas has a very rich and layered story so it’s making sure those deeper brand elements are understood and translated as we go global.”


What are your biggest beauty tips for those of us living in the tropics, especially when it comes to long-lasting makeup?

“With complexion, work in thin layers and allow them to dry in between—that will help prevent makeup from slipping off. Use your fingers to apply a thin layer of BB Burst, which has a really refreshing texture and a fresh, hydrated, skin-like finish which won’t compete with the humidity. 

“Once it melts in, swipe on Revealer Concealer where you want more coverage and set with Cloud Set powder to remove shine, but not the glow.”


kosas beauty malaysia


As a mother and a business owner, what does “having it all” mean to you?

“I don’t love the phrase “having it all” because you can only ever be in one place at any moment. You can’t “do it all” all the time, it’s just not possible. But If I’m expressing myself creatively and being true to myself, then I know I’m being a good role model to my daughter. That’s when I feel the best and when I feel like I’m showing up my best as a mother. When I’m being authentic and expressing myself, my daughter sees that and respects it in a way that inspires her to do the same.”


What nuggets of beauty wisdom would you like to pass on to your daughter? 

“Beauty, to me, is all about expressing your favourite version of yourself. First, get to know who you are and fall in love with yourself—it’s through that love that you create your beauty routine. Then you’re really coming from a place of care, love, and admiration for yourself, not coming from a place of needing to fix something.”


What is your philosophy as the big boss of Kosas? What is the work environment you’re looking to create?

“It’s really important to me that we have a lot of fun while we’re creating Kosas. It’s makeup, which is inherently a fun thing, and I want that to come through in the work environment too. As we create, I want people to come from a place of storytelling and the deeper meanings and reasons we do things. I really want to create a connective, loving, fun, creative, expressive environment.”


Where do you plan on taking the Kosas brand from here?

“I want to keep creating amazing, innovative products that look beautiful and do really great things for your skin. And telling meaningful stories that tie your beauty routine to the deeper parts of you.”


Kosas is available to shop here. For more beauty reads like this, click here.

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