How Therapy Keeps Karissa Bodnar and Her Beauty Company on Point

The 30-year-old founder and CEO of Thrive Causemetics on self-care and smoky eyes for her mission-based brand.

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(Image credit: Hearst Owned)

Welcome to Beauty Around the Clock, Marie Claire's weekly peek into the daily lives of some of the most game-changing women in their industries. Ever wonder how they get it all done in a day? Here's your answer.

Rise and Shine

Getting more than seven hours of sleep is optimal for me and I just got the Oura Ring which is an awesome accountability tool for sleep. When I first wake up, I check my email (so bad, I know, just being honest) and then exercise.

Morning Rituals

Between skincare and makeup, I spend about 30 minutes unless I have an event. I’m totally biased, but I love the skincare products that Thrive launched this year: I start my routine with our Bright Balance 3-in-1 Cleanser, which removes waterproof makeup so it’s perfect for both morning and night. After cleansing, I apply our new Liquid Light Therapy All-in-One Face Serum, then Defying Gravity Transforming Moisturizer and the Defying Gravity Eye Lifting Cream. All the formulas absorb quickly and are lightweight. I finish off with our Liquid Balm Lip Treatment—it’s super nourishing. I wash my hair two to three times a week, so on a non-wash day, I take about ten minutes to blow dry or flat iron out any kinks. If it’s a wash day, that takes at least an hour—I have really thick, coarse hair.

Power Start

I’m obsessed with Bhu Bars and love a plain, black coffee.

On the Move

I exercise first thing in the morning, it helps me start the day off energized and if I don’t do it in the morning, I know it won’t get done. Our whole company is doing Peloton workouts together to stay connected while we are apart! My favorite instructors are Robin Arzon, Ally Love, Olivia Amato, Cody Rigsby and Jess Sims.

Beauty Signature

I love a subtle smokey eye using neutral shades and my current go-to is Thrive Causemetics Perfect Eye Palette Warm Neutrals. You can use the burnt orange shade named Frida along your waterline to create a really unexpected pop of color that enhances your eye color. I also love playing around with different fragrances, but if I had to pick just one, it would be Acqua di Gioia by Giorgio Armani.

Zoom Beauty Hack

Right now it’s all about letting your skin breathe while we’re home so I keep my makeup routine pretty minimal for video conferences. I’ll apply a light layer of the Buildable Blur CC Cream set with the Filtered Effects Soft Focus HD Setting Powder to eliminate shine from my bright lights. I’ll then apply our Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara in Crystal, concentrating on the base of my lashes to add some definition to my eyes while keeping things natural. Last, I brush my brows up and I’m ready to go.

Self-Care Solution

Exercise and therapy help me to maintain my mental health. Therapy in particular has had a really positive impact on both my personal and professional life, so much so that I eventually convinced my therapist from Seattle, Erin Brower, to leave her practice and join Thrive Causemetics full-time as our Chief Wellness Officer. She works with me and our employees to shape a company culture that I always envisioned but didn’t fully know how to achieve without her help.

Beauty Icon

Audrey Hepburn

Business Icon

I look up to so many women that have paved the way for me to do what I love to do now—Leslie Blodgett, Blythe Jack, Carol Hamilton, Suzy Welch, Pamela Baxter...I could go on for days.

Business Beginnings

I worked as a makeup artist from the age of 18 to help put myself through college. I then went on to be a product developer and marketer for several major beauty companies, learning how to source the best ingredients from around the world. When one of my closest friends, Kristy, passed away at just 24-years old, I knew what I wanted to do: Launch a community-focused cosmetics company that would help all women thrive and feel empowered, both in how they look and how they live. My lowest points have always been when people have told me that I’m “too young” or need an “adult in the room” to be able to build Thrive Causemetics. [Bodnar launched Thrive in 2015, at age 25.]

Career Advice

Feel the fear and do it anyway

Worth It

Laser hair removal


Pore strips

Night-Out Look

I’m so slow getting ready for a night out, so honestly, it takes me two hours. My go-to nighttime look is hair down, blown out with a smoky eye, lots of mascara and a bold lip. As a makeup artist and product creator, I love mixing it up and trying new things, especially products we're working on.

Wind-Down Ritual

My skincare routine is pretty much the same at night as in the morning, minus the SPF. At least three nights per week I use Overnight Sensation Brightening Sleep Mask on top of my moisturizer.

Lights Out

I’m usually in bed by 10 p.m. catching up on emails and reading my Kindle before finally going to sleep at 11 p.m.

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