The #ITGTopShelfie interview series focuses on the beauty routines of Into The Gloss' lovely, accomplished, and loyal community of readers. Submit your own on Instagram—post your Top Shelfie (tag us @intothegloss!) and include the hashtag #ITGTopShelfie for a chance to be featured on ITG.
“Hi! I'm Katerina Mountanos (@katinamountanos). I’m a mom of three beautiful little kiddos and the founder of Kosterina, a wellness company centered around high-antioxidant extra virgin olive oil from Greece. I am first generation Greek-American—my family comes from a beautiful town in southern Greece called Koroni, where I spent nearly every summer of my life. (My husband and I also got married there in 2014.) We now have a home in Koroni overlooking the water. During the year, we live in Manhasset, Long Island. We made the move from our New York City apartment after I had my son last year, and I love the extra space, both literally and figuratively, to slow down. Now my favorite thing to do is sit out on my front porch in the early morning with a cup of coffee, or late at night with a cup of tea.
After becoming pregnant with my first child, I began to question ingredients much more. I was shocked to find out that even the olive oil I bought at the store was filled with extra things. I founded Kosterina on the simple belief that olive oil is a superfood and a key component of our health and longevity. Our hero product is early harvest, high-antioxidant extra virgin olive oil from Greece, and we recently expanded into making chocolate with EVOO. (Our Almond Butter & Vanilla EVOO chocolate bars are literally my dream come true.) On any given day, I'm working on a very wide range of projects, from developing high level branding strategy to coordinating supply chain with our farmers in Greece. But my favorite part of my job is product innovation: creating healthy products that are also next level delicious. I try to do anything I can to push a consumer towards clean eating and clean living. I see similar issues with food as I do in the skincare industry, and hope to one day launch a line of clean skincare made with EVOO.
I'm continuously inspired by my Greek ancestors, most of whom lived to be over 90 and honestly had the best skin I've ever seen. I truly think that EVOO, and other Mediterranean superfoods like walnuts and honey that are filled with antioxidants, helped them glow from the inside out. So reducing stress, eating nutritious foods, and connecting with loved ones are the core tenants of my beauty routine, and I actually go pretty basic with skincare. If I’m wearing a lot of eye makeup, I use a little bit of extra virgin olive oil first to remove it. It doesn’t pull at the sensitive skin under my eyes, and the makeup slides right off. Then, I really love Drunk Elephant's Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser, which makes my skin feel so clean and gets rid of makeup, sunscreen, anything. Whenever I’m in Greece I always pick up Apivita’s Creamy Foam Cleanser and Exfoliating Face Scrub, which are both made from olives. (They’re really high in antioxidants!) I use the face scrub in the shower and I find it really helps keep my skin clear. I use La Roche-Posay’s Toleraine Ultra moisturizer in the morning under makeup and at night before bed, and I add in a few drops of EVOO for extra antioxidants and nutrients. Olive oil is literally my answer for everything. I’m such a Greek cliché.
I have dark undereye circles, which is very common in olive skin tones. I remember the day I first discovered concealer, at the Lancôme counter at Bloomingdales: the beauty advisor put it on my face, and I was instantly transformed. Now, I don’t go anywhere without Too Faced Born This Way Sculpting Concealer, Clinique SPF 30 CC cream, and Becca Under Eye Brightening Concealer (in that order). Then I use two different bronzers, Make Up For Ever Pro Bronze Fusion and Tom Ford Soleil Glow. For eyes, I draw a slight wing with Glossier's Pro Tip Eyeliner, curl my lashes, and then apply Benefit’s They’re Real Mascara. But I think my all time favorite beauty product is Make Up For Ever’s Artist Rouge Light lipstick in Satin Rosewood. Other lipsticks I love are Tom Ford matte lipstick in Ruby Rush and Flame—worth every penny because they literally stay on all day or all night. My team has already come up with the title for my future memoir: Pen, Paper, and Lipstick, because that’s what I bring with me to every meeting.
I’m stuck in a vicious cycle of hair dryer, flat iron and curling iron, so my hair is very dry. I think Vital Proteins collagen helped me grow my hair longer, and lately I’ve been loving Obliphica’s Seaberry shampoo and hair mask. The key ingredient is seabuckthorn, a berry that has powerful antioxidant benefits. And once every few weeks I put a generous amount of olive oil in my hair and leave it on for about 30 minutes to strengthen and seal in moisture. I cannot do my nails on my own for the life of me. In fact, my first startup was a company called Manicube that offered 20-minute manicures in corporate conference rooms for working professionals. My background is in finance, and in those offices I saw many personal care services tailored to men, like shoe shining, barbers, and suit tailors. I wanted to find a way to level the playing field for working women who see their weekly manicure as a necessary chore. Now, my go-to manicure is one coat of Essie’s Marshmallow, and a second coat of Waltz. I’m looking forward to returning to this routine the most.
When starting a company, by definition, there is an endless amount of work that you could possibly do. At some point, I have to turn off work and focus on my family. I do not practice inbox-zero—the mail app on my phone has over 100,000 unread messages. But my kids are all three and under, so I don’t have too many opportunities to really unwind. I think of myself as a life-long learner, so I love listening to podcasts or reading before bed. I also make room in my schedule for movement as often as I can—these days, I've been really relying on my Peloton bike. I don’t think I really unwind except for when I’m in Koroni. The small town in southern Greece is largely untouched by tourism, and it’s truly a no-stress environment.”
—as told to ITG
Photos via the author