Meet Hayley Teo, the founder of a clean skincare brand inspired by superfoods, Rooki Beauty. Unlike the name of her brand, Hayley is no rookie when it comes to skincare. We find out more from Hayley on her inspiration behind Rooki Beauty.
Tell us more about yourself, how did you get started with Rooki Beauty? What was the inspiration behind it?
I started Rooki Beauty because I wanted to do something more, something that could make a difference to women. At that time, I was working in advertising but I felt unfulfilled by my work. It had always been my dream to have my own skincare line and I felt that it was the perfect moment for me to seize my dreams before the big responsibilities of life, such as mortgages and kids, set in.
Many people think that I started with a bang with Rooki Beauty, but actually starting a skincare line takes at least 1-2 years. During those times, I worked as a cosmetic hobbyist and sold lip balms, clay masks and even oil-based makeup removers at popup stores. The response was great and that gave me the courage to really go all-in with Rooki. More importantly, it gave me a foundation because I really spent so much time researching and sourcing skincare ingredients that when I finally created Rooki, I knew exactly what worked in a formula and what didn’t. In Japan, I found a formulator who really understood what I was trying to achieve with Rooki and since then, it’s been a total rollercoaster ride.
I created Rooki based on the ideology that skin care should be accessible and easy to use. Even though I’m getting more and more experienced, I still believe in keeping a rookie mindset – which is to never stop learning, exploring and evolving with the times. Skincare is constantly evolving and innovating, and we are too.
There are already so many clean skincare brands in the market, what makes Rooki Beauty different?
Our choice of ingredients is what really sets us apart. Whenever we are faced with a choice – be it ingredients or packaging, we always choose the best quality that we can possibly get. We don’t scrimp on the concentration either. Many of our ingredients like Superoxide Dismutase and Resveratrol are ingredients that you can find in skincare lines far more expensive than ours but we’ve made the choice to keep things as affordable as possible.
We also believe in harnessing the power of superfoods, especially those from Asia. I’m a big believer in Asian ingredients – Matcha, Seaweed, Rice, Centella, Tremella and even Starfruit. There’s a treasure trove of ingredients in our Asian backyards, and I get so excited when the “lore” behind the ingredient matches the scientific efficacy. That’s actually how we found out about Starfruit being good for skin brightening! We heard that Starfruit was one of the ingredients used by villagers to lighten their complexion and after some scientific testing, we found that it actually has amazing anti-ageing properties too. This was the first ingredient we chose for our brightening and age reversal serum, Sun Eraser Glow Drops.
Mother Nature is truly our muse, and we also make it a point to educate our consumers on ingredients. On our website, we always make sure to do short write-ups on how each and every ingredient we use is good for your skin. We often dive deep into how it works, like if it helps increase cell turnover or suppress melanin production. Lastly, we make it a point to avoid skincare nasties because we want to give assurance to our consumers that what we put in our products is genuinely good for their skin. Rooki products are all pregnancy-safe and sensitive skin friendly!
Rooki Beauty is very much inspired by superfoods. Some of us might still be rookies to the term “Superfood Skincare”. Could you share more about what makes a food a superfood and its benefits in skincare?
My decision to focus heavily on superfoods stems from my own experience with them – I’ve been making superfood smoothies for breakfast and they always make me feel so energized and ready to conquer the day ahead. I believe in extending the meaning of the well-known truism ‘you are what you eat’ to the products that we create.
We are living in a wellness obsessed age and superfoods are simply foods with extremely high nutritional values. Some would say that it’s just a buzzword, but we have really seen results from some of these beauty boosting foods. They’re rich in antioxidants, amino acids and phytonutrients and these compounds are just as good for the skin as they are for the body.
As a testament to the efficacy of the superfoods we use, we highly recommend our wash-off mask Green Pulp Paste Masque. It has an amazingly short ingredient list and is made with just 5 green superfoods. Yet it’s probably one of our bestsellers and consistently gets 5 star reviews. People can’t believe how smooth and glowy it makes their skin feel!
If you could choose only one superfood for life, what would it be and why?
This might be cliché, but Matcha! I love this ingredient so much that I actually included it in my entire lineup of debut products. Matcha is the hallmark of Japan and we get ours from a family-owned organic farm in Kyoto, which is the birthplace of Matcha.
Even though it is a common ingredient, the quality of Matcha can differ greatly. A good Matcha powder should be bright green and taste creamy. It should be shaded when grown, preferably with straw and most importantly organic fertilizers should be used. It also needs to be hand-picked at the right time, in order to select the youngest leaves at the top of the branch. During grinding, temperatures should also not exceed 45 degrees.
There is so much to consider when it comes to selecting ingredients for skincare. The same goes for other ingredients like licorice root – the amount of Glabridin in it (which is the component responsible for brightening the skin) can vary greatly, so it’s important that we choose only from high quality and reputable sources.
With a limited lineup, how do Rooki Beauty’s products cater to all the many skin types and who should really consider using your products?
Rooki is a work in progress and it is our intention to create products that are fresh, modern, and most importantly, purposeful. We want them to be products that people of all skin types will reach for every day. But as a general rule, I always try to formulate with sensitive skin in mind because I, myself, have sensitive skin that gets inflamed easily.
For instance, my skin cannot handle certain forms of Vitamin C which is why for our brightening serum Sun Eraser Glow Drops, we decided to choose a gentler form of Vitamin C that is bonded with glycerin. It’s one of the only Vitamin C serums that doesn’t break me out. Even if your skincare can deliver fast results, there’s no point if it is too harsh. Your skin barrier will only suffer in the long run leading to longer term skin issues.
We also try to focus on lifestyle factors. For example, some skin “types” are really just skin conditions brought on by stress, lack of sleep, wearing masks, sun exposure, and pollution. Ageing can also cause oily skin to become dry, as oil glands reduce with age. So we try to formulate with the modern lifestyle of women in mind.
What is one product from Rooki Beauty that is your personal favourite, and why?
Definitely Green Pulp! Green Pulp Paste Masque is the first product that I launched so it deserves a special mention. I hold it really dear to my heart because it took a really long time to formulate, from research to lab tests and finding the perfect packaging. It’s difficult to make a glow mask without using exfoliation beads but Green Pulp is able to do just that – producing an immediate glow without any physical exfoliants.
What’s next for Rooki Beauty? What can we look forward to in terms of product offerings?
We can’t reveal too much but we do have a number of products in our pipeline, including one major product slated for this year!
So, what’s Hayley’s ideal skincare routine?
Believe it or not, I’m fairly relaxed when it comes to skincare. What works for me is that I only use products that I feel my skin needs on that day. For example, I don’t give myself a rule that I need to cleanse twice a day. Sometimes in the morning, just water and a few drops of Anti Pollution Nano Drops is enough.
At night, I usually wash my face with Honey Matcha Cleansing Drops, followed by a blend of Circadian Fixer Hydro Drops and Sun Eraser Glow Drops, and then Superfood Saviour Crème and Camelina Omega-C Brightening Fluid. My skin gets really oily during my period so I usually only use light lotions and my serums during those few days. I’ve found that my skin looks best when I listen to what it needs, and drown out the voices telling me to pile on this or that.
Lastly, everyone has a very different definition of what it means to be beautiful. Here at ABX, we believe that beauty is about living and projecting our lives with confidence. What does beauty mean to you?
The most beautiful makeup for a woman is passion. Beauty to me is about having the courage to pursue your dreams and I believe that passionate people possess a zest for life that makes them shine. Having good skin is really just the cherry on top!
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About the writer
The beautiful half of the successful travel influencer @TodayWeExplore, Cheryl also heads the marketing at Asian Beauty X. When she isn’t trolling the internet for beauty trends, or dreaming up travel vacays, you can find Cheryl sipping ’Gram-worthy cocktails at some trendy bar.