How Sasha Plavsic of Ilia Beauty Is Challenging the Conventions of Clean Beauty

Welcome toSecond Life, a podcast spotlighting successful women who’ve made major career changes—and fearlessly mastered the pivot. Hosted by Hillary Kerr, co-founder and chief content officer at Who What Wear, each episode gives you a direct line to women who are game changers in their fields. Subscribe to Second Life on Apple PodcastsSpotify, or anywhere you get your podcasts to stay tuned.

Today, the term “clean beauty” is everywhere as consumers continue to place the utmost importance on understanding what exactly is formulated in their everyday beauty products. And while clean beauty is garnering a lot of attention now, the concept was at the forefront of Sasha Plavsic’s mind 10 years ago when she launched a clean, skin-centric beauty line, Ilia. After discovering how many ingredients were deemed unsafe in a lip balm she used daily, Plavsic knew she had to create the change she wanted to see. Thus, Ilia Beauty was born. After beginning with a lip balm back in 2017, the brand has since expanded into a full complexion-and-color range. The formulations are not only free of harmful additives but also enhanced with active levels of skincare ingredients that protect and revive the skin. 

Consumers fell in love with Plavsic’s simple ethos, and since 2017, Ilia has doubled its year-over-year revenues every single year. The brand is consistently one of the top three growth brands at Sephora, and the Super Serum Skin Tint is the all-time best-selling foundation. For the last decade, Plavsic has learned that not every natural ingredient is good for the skin, nor is every synthetic bad, and believes clean beauty is where those two worlds collide. Through her journey at Ilia, she continues to innovate and push the beauty boundaries beyond convention. 

Ilia’s minimalist branding—echoing Plavsic’s formulation approach—seemed to resonate just as deeply with consumers, and today, it has over 500,000 loyal followers on Instagram. It checks out that in Plavsic’s first life, she studied design and typography in London and New York, eventually leading her to a career in the branding space. Plavsic held positions at an eyewear retailer, the aromatherapy company Saje Natural Wellness, and Urban Decay before she started a brand of her own. Tune in to the latest episode of Second Life to hear how Plavsic gained the confidence to make the leap and how she continues to evolve both her brand and the beauty industry at large. Keep scrolling to shop some of Ilia’s best sellers.

Up next: Meet Shiza Sahid: The Co-Founder Behind Beloved Cookware Company Our Place

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