As Told By: Saba Bokhari

Last updated on: 2018

As Told By

Drawn to the beauty world from a young age, Saba Bokhari started her career in the industry when she started a blog while attending the Fashion Institute of Technology. Since then, she has played a variety of roles, from working at Sephora to taking makeup courses at night to her current role as assistant manager of social media at L’Oréal. Get to know more about her typical day, her expert packing tips for travel and advice she has for those looking to break into the beauty world below.

Images via Saba Bokhari.

1. Tell us a little about yourself. How did you first get involved in the beauty world? 

I’ve always had an interest in beauty from a young age because of the women I was brought up by. My grandma would habitually apply her powder and Jean Paul Gautier perfume, my aunt ruled the 90s with her purple lipstick and if there’s one thing my mom loved, it was strong lip liner.

Growing up, I found myself drawn to MAC counters and the beauty spreads in issues of Seventeen. I eventually started a beauty blog as a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology. While at FIT, I went to marketing classes during the day, took courses at makeup school at night and worked at Sephora on the weekends. It was crazy, but so much fun.

2. What does a typical day in your life look like?

Truthfully, it varies every day and depends on where I am!

If I’m heading to the L’Oreal New York HQ, I’ll catch the 7 train while listening to a podcast (or Drake’s new album on repeat). I get in by 8 AM to get a headstart before meetings.

Over breakfast, I take a scan at each of our platforms to make sure our content is received well across the two brands I work on.

I’m in constant communication with our global digital team to make sure the US priorities for the brands are supported, so I’m a big emailer, though sometimes I communicate via gifs from “The Office.” The relationship with our global team is very important as our brands are sold in many countries around the world, with the US being the largest market for both.

As for my US team, although we’re spread out across the 28th floor, more often than not we congregate in one room for the day to snack and strategize around upcoming events and activations like fashion week, Coachella and tradeshows for professional stylists. I’m always learning something new in the world of influencers and press from my expert peers.

Because I oversee social media content for Redken and Pureology, I’m namely running through the activities ahead, determining opportunities to showcase our product priorities and outlining the content to capture. Then when it comes to these moments, I capture and edit the content for our channels – social and otherwise.

3. You work in social media for two big hair brands. Do you think the world of hair differs from the rest of the beauty industry in terms of marketing and PR?

I think so, mainly because I’m in the division of professional products, so we have two audiences to cater to: professional stylists and consumers. I think the education level of the makeup consumer has amplified in the past five years, so they know all about Ben Nye Banana Powder and why to use it, the intricacies of contouring and how to reduce undereye darkness with salmon-colored correctors. Professional makeup lines once geared for makeup artists have blurred lines and speak to both audiences now with ease.

In the world of professional hair, communicating haircolor through digital marketing and PR is a big opportunity, and something I think our team is mastering. Our two audiences – professional stylists and consumers – experience our products in different ways (especially when it comes to haircolor), so it can be tricky targeting both on one channel.

It’s a challenge, but based on social and competitive trends we’re in a moment where haircolor is the new makeup and it’s up to us to educate and inform both audiences.

4. What is your favorite social media platform and why?

My favorite social media platform is Pinterest because it’s a great place to organize ideas. I’m constantly pinning places I want to travel to, interior decor ideas and of course hair inspiration because I change my haircolor monthly; it’s almost a running gag at this point!

5. We know you love to travel. Do you have any tips for packing your suitcase and beauty bag for when you’re on-the-go?

YES! I have it down to a science. I’m a big fan of lists – a bit Type-A but it keeps me sane. I have lists for about every environment and production need, and I keep that pinned to my desktop so I can quickly print and pack without stressing.

For my carry on, I swear by my Lo & Sons OG bag. It fits everything I need – chargers, makeup, and two laptops. Yes, two laptops: I travel with both in case one doesn’t work – it’s happened to me too many times! The bag has so many compartments to keep organized, and a convenient sleeve to attach to roller bags.

I also pack an “easy access” pouch with everything I might need to grab during the flight, like a charger for my phone, a pen, the cord for my wireless headphones, lip balm, tissues, my passport, etc. That way I don’t have to keep reaching into my bag and can just throw the pouch in the seatback pocket.

6. What advice would you give to those looking to get involved in the beauty world?

 When I was in high school, I wanted to drop out and go to makeup school in LA and become a renowned makeup artist for film and TV. My parents were not into the idea and wanted me to wait before making such a big decision.

Eventually, I went to makeup school while in college, and I’m really glad I did. I realized I was more interested in the marketing of beauty, photographing station setups for my teachers and writing about my favorite products on my beauty blog than actually applying it on another people. It completely threw me for a loop because I was so set on that plan, but there’s more than one pathway into beauty.

There are areas of the industry for everyone’s interests, and the experience you bring to the table doesn’t have to be strictly beauty. I interned at a number of tech startups in the social media world to make my experience more well-rounded for a digital role. Having the passion for beauty is great (and in my opinion, vital), but think about the areas you might want to work in.

It’s a big world! I don’t think I quite realized that until I started at L’Oreal. There’s product development, legal, finance, merchandising and so much more.

7. What’s in your makeup bag?

 I’m proud of myself because I have pared down my beauty bag significantly. You should’ve seen me in my Sephora days! Although contents shift based on season, I have a few constants:

  • IT Cosmetics CC Cream – My holy grail. I’ve gone through so many tubes of this. For my brand Pureology, we partnered with IT for one of our social photoshoots and the product intrigued me so much on set. I tried it and immediately called my mom to recommend it to her. I was so surprised that something so light could blend as easy as it did and provide the full coverage I love.
  • Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer – Another absolute favorite – I pick up like ten of these at Superdrug anytime I visit my sister in Cardiff, Wales. The coverage is unlike any other drugstore concealer I’ve tried, and I’ve tried them ALL.
  • Sephora Matte Cream Lip Stain in 01 Always Red – Talk about a power lip! This red is the love of my life because it doesn’t budge or flake like some matte lip colors do, rarely transfers, is super affordable and stays ALL day. I’ve been stopped around the world and asked about this lip stain. At this point, I have three on me at any given time.
  • Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray – Set it and forget it! Considering I’m running around all day, I want the makeup I apply at 6 AM to still look flawless for dinner at 6 PM. This spray locks everything in and lets me do that!

Interested in learning more from professionals in the digital marketing and beauty industries? Check out the rest of our As Told By series!

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Becca Mulhill
Becca is a copywriter, copy editor, and content manager at Taylor & Pond. Originally from Montana, she has a passion for the outdoors as well as good books, grammar, coffee, and the Oxford comma. In her spare time, Becca enjoys doing crosswords, taking spin classes, watching sports, and spending time with good friends.