Clean Glamour: An interview with Tiffany Thurston Scott and David Roemer of RÓEN Beauty
Culture — 22.01.21
With so many beauty companies claiming to use natural ingredients, it’s tough to know which ones are genuine, and at that, which products actually work. We are happy to feature RÓEN Beauty, a company that is inspired to give its consumer “clean beauty, that’s glamorous, innovative and luxe.”
Not only has RÓEN created 3 gorgeous eyeshadow palettes, with the staple colours that you are always wishing you had more of, olive oil infused mascara that really coats your lashes instead of falling off, and our favourite, a lip balm that isn’t sticky and actually nourishes; but they also are dedicated to keeping their brand clean, from start to finish.
We sit down with Co-Founder and CEO Tiffany Thurston Scott and Creative Director David Roemer to hear more about why Clean Beauty is so imperative to them, and the process it takes to keep RÓEN Beauty clean.
What’s the story behind your mission of producing makeup with clean ingredients? Was there an inspiring incident?
Tiffany Thurston Scott: The inspiration of RÓEN came from my obsession of luxe beauty products, I’m a huge fan of Chanel, Dior, and many of the gorgeous iconic brands and also have a passion for health and wellness. I grew up in Utah, a mountainous area surrounded by beauty and nature. When I moved to Los Angeles for my formal education, I fell in love with the glamour and beauty so prevalent in that culture and it inspired me to create a beauty line that was clean, luxe and glamorous, my favourite things!
The “awe moment” came when I kept getting irritation in my eye and styes, my dermatologist deducted it was the eye makeup I was using. This prompted me to research the actual ingredients in the eye shadow and I was appalled to learn how harmful the ingredients were and I was putting these ingredients near my eye which really freaked me out. This moment was pivotal in my creation of RÓEN.
Can you talk about why you chose to formulate to European standards, instead of the US? What the process was like? How much more difficult is it to formulate to EU standards?
Tiffany: I began researching ingredients in beauty products before I launched RÓEN and while researching I found that the EU had the strictest standards in the world for banning harmful ingredients in cosmetics. Whereas the US bans only 12 harmful ingredients in cosmetics the EU ban more than 1,300. This was an eye-opener for me, and I knew if I was really going to make a clean beauty brand that I wanted to follow these standards and create a truly clean brand.
I will say that the EU certification process for each product is a little painful and I was warned by many to be prepared…but once you’ve accomplished it, it’s so gratifying!
Formulating products that are clean is certainly more challenging especially because I not only want our products to be clean but high-performing, I refuse to compromise and will only launch products that meet both of these standards.
David, how has having a background in photography had an influence on RÓEN Beauty? Have there been any moments throughout your career that have really stuck with you? From a photographer’s point of view, where do you see the cosmetic industry headed?
David Roemer: Working with many different luxury brands has given me the experience to know what works, and what works for us and our customer creatively. Everything I have ever shot fashion and beauty-wise prepared me for this role and for creating the images that we do for RÓEN.
With RÓEN, we wanted to make something attainable, less polished and slightly more real, yet still glamourous and luxe. Since I have shot most of the campaigns, RÓEN’s aesthetic is definitely my personal taste. Photography wise, I think imagery has gotten a bit rawer. People want to see imperfections, and see them as being beautiful – the days of a super polished image where you cant see the skin are gone. It seems as the industry has gotten much more inclusive, which we are extremely happy about and is one of the forefronts of our brand, that we can represent all colours, shapes, and sizes, and encourage everyone to look and feel their personal best.
There have been many moments that have stuck with me, but since I was always looking forward I never thought much about them while they were happening. In retrospect, however, at one point when I was standing in front of Beyoncé taking her picture, I realized that I had come to a certain place in my career. People really trusted me, and it was an amazing feeling.
You have created a very beautiful, flake-free, and lengthening mascara. I especially love that the mascara is infused with olive oil to hydrate and nourish the lashes. Can you talk about your process of creating this mascara? What drew you to use ingredients such as bayberry and carnauba waxes over other ingredients?
Tiffany: Formulating a mascara was one of the first things on my list after our eyeshadows. Many traditional mascaras have harmful ingredients such as parabens, retinyl acetate, and coal tars; which have been linked to cancer and are potential endocrine disrupters.
Throughout the product development process, I review different ingredients with our chemists to choose the best ingredients possible that are not harmful but also give the best performance for the product. I chose carnauba wax instead of beeswax because it’s a high performing wax for mascara and a vegan ingredient, and, of course, we are also a vegan brand. I choose olive oil for its nourishing and hydrating benefits.
I was warned about how difficult it would be to formulate a clean mascara that actually performed, and I can see why. It took over a year to develop and more than a dozen iterations. At the end of the day, I’m thrilled with the final product!
Cosmetic companies are producing more and more products every day with the intent of being the most pigmented, the shiniest, most glittery, etc… Sometimes at the cost to the environment or to child and slave labour. It’s reassuring to see a company like RÓEN Beauty staying true to the social responsibility of being ethically sourced and prioritising quality over quantity. Can you talk about being a part of the Responsible Mica Initiative, and how it has influenced RÓEN Beauty in areas like colour and product launches?
Tiffany: When choosing our manufacturers for RÒEN it was paramount to me that we emphasise social responsibility in addition to developing cruelty-free products. Mica is a particularly problematic ingredient, and it needs to be sourced responsibly. Some estimates claim that more than 20% of the mining of mica uses child labour. This is absolutely astounding to me and I am passionate about spotlighting the abuses so that companies stop using mica obtained from these illegal sources. The mica that RÒEN sources for our eyeshadows come from carefully selected countries and manufacturers that condemn the use of child labour. We only select the ones that have the strictest guidelines and require annual reports and certificates proving that child labour is not used and there are no unacceptable working conditions in the mining of the mica and the manufacturing process. The RMI does an exemplary job of helping to police this.
Where do you hope to see RÓEN Beauty in the future?
Tiffany: I’m very happy where we are today with the brand; we have been fortunate to have early success with consumers and the beauty industry. This has given me the confidence and latitude to grow the brand the way I want to. For me, it’s important to grow RÓEN organically and not to rush out products that I don’t believe in. It’s important for me and our team to be proud of every product we launch.
I am very hands-on and work with our in-house makeup artist and chemist on every product we develop. It’s a methodical process for me that can sometimes be slow, but I think it’s a key element to what’s makes RÓEN authentic.