Founded by Sheena Zahdeh-Daley in 2015 with 4 lipsticks inspired by the earthy blends of neutrals and pinks she made in a portrait painting class. Kosas markets themselves as “makeup for skincare freaks,” complete with colorful branding and a significant focus on clean beauty, they’ve quickly amassed a large following.
Is Kosas as clean as they claim to be? We reviewed the brand to find out.
Green Heart – We approve of this brand’s products and they contain zero known toxins.
Yellow Heart – We approve of most ingredients in this brand’s products, they might contain some toxins or known allergies.
Red Heart – We suggest you proceed with caution and limit your exposure and use to this brand’s products as there are toxins present.
Kosas leans heavily into the “clean beauty” angle, and with availability at stores like Sephora, we really do some analyzing to ensure they are as “clean” as they claim to be.
Kosas appears to be transparent about its formulations, and we can find complete ingredient lists on their website for all of its products.
Below you will see a snapshot of their Revealer Skin-Improving Foundation SPF25
Kosas contains minimal ingredients that would need to be highlighted due to sensitivities, allergies, or toxins. Their website states the following that they are free from:
One thing you may see listed on some of their product ingredients is fragrance. However, they state they do not use “undisclosed” fragrance. This seems slightly vague to us.
Fragrance is usually a combination of numerous ingredients, some of which can be allergenic and endocrine disruptive especially those like Citronellol, Geraniol, or Linalool if they are not derived from pure essential oils. Also, phthalates are likely to be present. There are several different phthalates and some of them are possible carcinogens and hormone disruptors such as styrene.
Benzyl Alcohol is an aromatic alcohol that occurs naturally in some essential oils. BA can dry out the skin and cause allergies.
Benzyl Benzoate is a fragrance ingredient of high-to-medium concern when used as an isolate and is known as a contact allergen.
While mica is not a questionable ingredient itself, it is often not responsibly sourced. Kosas states on their website that “We only use 100% ethically sourced mica.” they claim to source mica from the US from privately owned mines to ensure that child-labor is never used, and that miners are paid a fair wage and treated well.
Dyes such as RED 22 LAKE (CI 45380) and RED 7 LAKE (CI 15850) are in some of their glosses, lipsticks, and blushes. Red synthetic dyes like these are very common in beauty products, even those labeled clean because the percentage is usually less than 1%.
Kosas does not state on their website that they test for heavy metals, however, Mamavation has tested the following: Kosas Lip Oil Gloss (32 ppm organic fluorine), Kosas Revealer Skin-Improving Foundation SPF 25 Medium Coverage Rich Deep Neutral Olive 430 (31 ppm organic fluorine). Anything over 30 ppm of organic fluorine is seen as high.
Kosas seems to be checking very minimal sustainability boxes but they do state on the website the following:
Kosas does not say on their website whether they give away a percentage of profits or have a non-profit themselves, but a little research shows they gave back by pledging $20,000 to organizations such as: Black Lives Matters, Black Lives Matters LA, and Color of Change.
Kosas is cruelty-free but not 100% vegan, meaning that some of their products contain animal-derived ingredients.
Kosas is not certified organic and does not look to use organic ingredients.
Kosas products are manufactured in the US, Italy, and Korea.
Kosas is not owned by a parent company.
While Kosas is not perfect, we believe they are a good alternative to brands such as MAC that are bright and heavily pigmented and contain toxins. We believe their formulas are good enough to be labeled as clean.
We would recommend this Brand.
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