Tia Roqaa – the founder of Roccabox, the "beauty experience in a box" – chatted with us about everything beauty. Tia exclusively shared her experience and opinion on the industry, and played with us.
1) For many of us, this love - sometimes a real obsession - for 'everything beauty' started very early. When did you fall in love with beauty? Did it influence your career path in PR?
“I always dabbled with beauty, but it was when I started working across several global beauty brands, representing them for a top London PR agency, building relationships with beauty brands, trying out products and really understanding them enough to then sell then pitch them to the media, is when I really fell in love with it. I worked for fashion brands too but beauty became my niche and I then moved to an in-house position for a global beauty and wellness brand.”
2) Have you had an easy relationship with your natural beauty (i.e. throughout your teens)?
“I’ve gone through periods of struggling with my skin, and I particularly suffer from hormonal issues, so I find this impacts my relationship with skincare. It started in my teens but it still continues to affect my skin’s behaviour on a monthly basis, so my approach to skincare continues to grow and evolve. I think that’s true of most women: they tend to discover skincare at a point when they are tackling an issue. Whenever I chat to women with skincare issues - whether that’s acne, or pigmentation, or scarring - what stands to me is how much it impacts your mental health. I think this goes to show how important skincare products can be. This is partly why skincare forms such an integral part of our Roccaboxes.”
3) Is there a cosmetic product you adored but got discontinued, then letting you down?
“Benefit discontinued their Bathina Body Balm and I really can’t work out why: it was everything you wanted in a body balm and left the most gorgeous, flattering super-sexy sheen on your limbs and collarbones. It was my pre-party essential in my late teens and early twenties: I used to slather it on before a night out!”
4) Roccabox was born out of your frustration with your in-store shopping experiences. In your opinion, what are the worst aspects found in traditional shopping?
“I think it can be intimidating, for a start. I’m a confident person and pretty sure about what I want but even I find myself being influenced by sales assistants. This isn’t always in the consumer’s best interest. For me, the most frustrating aspect of beauty shopping in a shop is that you don’t feel comfortable or encouraged to try out the products. Now, with COVID restrictions, it’s discouraged even further. But really we don’t get to experience the feel of a product, or the scent, or the formula, or the shade until we’ve had a play around with it - so how do we really know if we will like it, or whether it will be suitable?”
5) Is there a message, an inspiration you would like to spread through Roccabox?
“We want the world of beauty to be as accessible, inclusive and inspiring as possible. When I refer to the world of beauty I mean the products as well as all the education, the news, the trends. We want to inspire people to have the confidence to experiment with beauty, to discover new brands and products and formulas and ingredients. We also want people to find purpose in beauty that goes beyond vanity: beauty serves us in so many other ways. We want to use our platform to educate as well: so many women are still intimidated or unsure or given conflicting messages and we want them to see us as an authority on education and guidance to getting the most out of products and ingredients and beauty routines.”
6) What should beauty companies do to make everyone feel comfortable in their own skin?
“Diversity and inclusivity are key and that needs to be reflected across the board: from the products being created by the manufacturers to the messages they communicate in their advertising, marketing, branding. Gender, age, race, identity: none of these should be barriers to our enjoyment of beauty. Crucially though brands have to do more than just ‘talk the talk’: they need to be authentically inclusive and play to a diverse audience. Beauty should be about acceptance and realising that our differences are beautiful. We don’t - and nor should we - have the same idea or vision of beauty.”
7) Is there a hot latest trend you feel overrated or simply not yours?
“I love seeing which make-up trends are going viral on TikTok - they’re really fun and always quirky, although they usually tend to be a little bit extreme for me! The two I’ve spotted lately that I definitely won’t be trying are purple blush and disco brows - basically brushed up sculpted brows, which I love, but with the addition of a luminous disco sheen. Gorgeous for a night out maybe, but not for me!”
8) What is a game-changing technique everyone should try in their beauty routine?
“I think the two biggest game-changers when it comes to make-up are blush and brows. The eyebrows literally frame the face and I find that how I decide to style them really impacts my entire face. Personally, I like adding a little extra definition to the arch and length with a really fine pencil, and if I have time I highlight the area around the brow with a light cream concealer to add even more definition and the appearance of a more lifted brow. Blush, in my opinion, is highly underrated. With the right tone and texture of blush and the right placement on your face, you can really brighten and lift your complexion, gently contour your face and give your skin a really healthy flush. For me, I find a pink-toned densely pigmented cream or liquid blush placed at the front of the apples of my cheeks, slightly higher on the cheek almost into my eye hollow, gives the appearance of a more lifted cheekbone and slightly fuller cheeks which is super flattering. Plus it leaves a flush of a healthy glow.”
9) "K-" is populating our daily life, imagination and beauty cabinets. Do you feel Korean skincare is at a higher level compared to European/Western counterparts?
“Well, it’s said that the US is around 13 years behind K-Beauty in terms of cosmetic technology, so there is no denying that the technology, ingredients and formulas behind K-Beauty are the most innovative in the world. Just look at the products and routines that are now commonplace in the UK that we have to thank them for: BB creams, double cleansing, sheet masks… For me what’s most fascinating about Korean skincare is that it isn’t just an industry it’s an entire culture: in South Korea, the importance of looking after your skin is ingrained in children as early as pre-school age, with cleansing encouraged and the prevention of sun damage seen as a top priority from that same age.”
10) Shall we play a game? You mentioned the '90s nostalgia among today's beauty trends, what do you think, in thirty years, the next trendy generation will save and revive from the 2020s?
“Ooh, great question! It will probably be the contouring trend: it was launched by the Kardashians - and who better to represent this era - and it stuck around for a while. Plus it grew on Instagram: a massive reference to our time. So I’m sure contouring will be known as the biggest beauty trend of this decade, will become a strong visual reference for the 2020s and will eventually make a return!”
We would like to thank Tia for accepting this interview. After this virtual chat, we feel inspired to embrace our natural beauty and have a little explore in the beauty sphere like a fun game.
If you feel adventurous as we are and fancy starting the new year with new discoveries, Roccabox is definitely to keep an eye on. Roccabox delivers 5 premium beauty and skincare products directly to your house, every month, with a beauty experience tailored to your needs. Visit the website for sneak peeks and subscriptions plans.