Isabelle K Cosmetics: The beauty of success


Photo courtesy of Isabelle Shih

2022 Isabelle K Valentine’s Day Collection

WHS is home to a variety of student-run businesses, and Isabelle K Cosmetics stands out from the pack with its handmade, eco-friendly makeup products. WHS junior Isabelle Shih founded Isabelle K Cosmetics in March of 2020 with the goal of creating high-quality, affordable makeup that is suitable for sensitive skin. These products are sold on her website,, and are advertised on Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok @isabellekcosmetics.

Shih’s passion for makeup started at a young age. “I have been making makeup since I was eight years old, just having fun and experimenting with ingredients,” said Shih.

Since then, Shih has been hard at work, sending emails to her clients and keeping up with the high demand for her products. Shih acknowledged the struggle to balance her workload with her busy school schedule: “It has been really hard managing time, getting all my schoolwork done and having time to manage every single part of [the business].”

The time commitment of Shih’s business cuts into her social life as well, but she maintains that her love for makeup makes it worthwhile.

She said, “Sometimes my friends ask me, ‘Do you want to go out?’ and I say, ‘No,’ because I have to do this and this and this for my business. It’s a sacrifice, but it’s a fun sacrifice because I am doing something I really like.”

Despite the challenges of being a student business owner, Shih continues to create high-quality makeup products for her customers to enjoy.

WHS senior Bella Broaddus said, “I have a vanilla lip gloss [from Isabelle K Cosmetics] that looks very natural. It’s shiny and not super sticky like some other glosses. [Isabelle] puts friendship bracelets and candy in the packages which make it feel personalized.”

Shih has a process to find FDA-approved ingredients that align with her company’s gluten and cruelty-free philosophy. “I find my ingredients through a lot of research. I look at other companies and their ingredient lists, and I see which ingredients are similar across all the products. I also look if any of the ingredients are harmful. Then, I buy samples of the products and mix them together,” said Shih.

Isabelle K Cosmetics has found a lot of success on social media. The business has over 1.5 thousand followers on Instagram, 5.8 thousand followers on TikTok and 26 thousand followers on Pinterest. On Pinterest, her business has had multiple Pins receive over 1.5 million views which have helped her expand her business beyond word-of-mouth.

Shih’s advice to other students interested in starting their own business is to invest in something they are passionate about because these ventures require a lot of time and energy.

She said, “Really know that you’re making a commitment. It’s not something you just do and then think that it’ll work. You really have to put in the effort and choose something that you enjoy doing.”