Q&A: ILIA Founder Sasha Plavsic

Sasha Plavsic founded ILIA in 2011, launching her minimalistic line of natural and organic lip products at Vancouver’s Lynnsteven. But unlike a lot of Westcoast crunchy organic offerings, Ilia is the first organic beauty brand to transcend the not-so-pretty stereotypes of Earth-Mother makeup (iffy formulas, poor wear, overall hippy-dippy aesthetics). Now, Plavsic’s chic, punchy products grace beauty counters worldwide (Colette in Paris, Barney’s in NYC, our own BeautyMark) proving that wearing organic makeup and looking glamorous need not be mutually exclusive. We chatted with Plavsic about her entrepreneurial spirit, acing tricky holiday makeup, and how to look great in literally three seconds flat.

How did ILIA start?
The idea came about when I was freelancing with a larger cosmetic company in the US. At the time there weren’t many organic brands that took a contemporary stand in colour selection and design. I saw a need in the industry and decided to take the jump with one product to see what would happen!

What’s your personal beauty ethos & how is it reflected in Ilia products?
I wear very little makeup; in the morning, I like a routine that’s simple and quick. A light, tinted moisturizer, a Multi-Stick for cheeks and lips, a touch of Polka Dots and Moonbeams illuminator over top, and dab of Nightfall mascara keep everything in check. ILIA is a brand for those who want something simple that works and that feels comfortable to use on a day to day basis.

What’s your signature holiday party look (and how do you get it)?
Go for a glow! Cheek-to-Cheek Multi-Stick is a burnt sienna shade that’s nice for the holidays. Then blend our new Gold Illuminator Cosmic Dancer over the highest point of the cheekbones, and next along the eyelids. For a soft sparkle around the eyes, use two coats of Nightfall mascara followed by our copper mascara, Macao, to coat the tips of the upper and lower lashes. A bold lip for the season is always best. Lust for Life is a blend of all our berries and will help nourish and condition lips through cold weather.

Winter is synonymous with sallow complexions and dry skin and lips; how do you suggest combating these cold-weather woes?
Our Illuminators are a magic trick for giving skin a quick pick-me-up. Our Lip Exfoliator, Balmy Nights, has ground-up volcanic stone in stick form to help remove dead skin cells. This is a great way to help restore the lips during the winter months.

What are your tips for pulling off a more dramatic look, like dark or true-red lipsticks?
When pulling off a bold look on the lips, less is more. A bare face, a touch of blush, lots of Illuminator, mascara and of course a strong shade for the lips is all you really need. A simple black eyeliner can be used here as well, but if should you choose to go heavy on the eyes, a light neutral/nude lip will work best.

What’s one quick, low-maintenence beauty tip you can pull off without a mirror?
Our Tinted Lip Conditioners are light in colour and famous for not requiring a mirror. Otherwise pinching your cheeks still goes a long way in adding instant colour!

What’s the best piece of beauty advice you’ve ever received?
Get lots of sleep and drink lots of water, and wear a daily SPF 30 on your face and chest.

What’s one beauty trend you can’t get enough of, and one you wish would disappear?
Lately I’ve become obsessed with various oils, including Kahina’s Fez Body Serum. It keeps my skin soft and moisturized throughout the day. As for a trend that I think has had a good run, BB and CC creams seem to still be going strong.

For more information on ILIA Beauty visit Iliabeauty.com