Interview & Picture Art Direction/Cynthia Jreige
Photography/Hadi Afif for JDEED
Huda Kattan: Without a doubt, Sephora stocking our lashes for the first time was a surreal moment for me – I literally had to pinch myself! If anyone knew how many times I had e-mailed them to schedule a meeting to give my business pitch, they’d think I was crazy. But I was so determined, and I wasn’t giving up until that meeting was secured.
When it was secured, I told myself, “Go in there and give the best business pitch you know how to give.” And I did. I think that’s honestly the beginning of where Huda Beauty is today!
HK: Our Huda Beauty Lip Liners were a huge success and they actually sold out in less than two hours after they launched! It was insane. I’d have to say my favorite game-changing product launch was the Nude Palette which drove an incredibly high waiting list all over of the world and sold out in most places.
The reason the New Nude Palette has been so successful is because we redefined the term “nude” in the cosmetics world and brought innovation to an already loved beauty product – the eyeshadow palette. The shades are not what anyone was expecting from a nude palette and that was the point. The shades ranged from deep berry’s to dusty coppers to fair pinks and we chose these colors based on emotion, not what everyone else was defining as ‘nude’. The shades were supposed to make anyone feel sexy and comfortable in their own skin regardless of skin tone.
You can’t define Nude by skin tone anymore – my nude is not the same as your nude when it comes to shade and we’re aware of that and sensitive to it. So, we decided to take a new route, dive into the emotional side of the word and bring the conversation around diversity and inclusion to color cosmetics!
HK: The Middle East is very glamorous, and the women living in the region absolutely love to pamper themselves. The women in Dubai will go to the salon twice a week whether that’s to get nails done, brows shaped, or hair blow-dried. A full face of makeup every day is completely normal. In the Middle East, full-glam makeup is a huge part of the culture, so I’d have to say the relationship is very strong.
I’m sure a lot of people are thinking “But, why?” We sometimes forget the religious and cultural traditions that have a large impact on beauty. For example, many women cover up in public due to religious affiliation in Dubai, so you’ll notice make-up, veneers and microbladed brows are really popular here. Anything that draws attention to the face is popular because Middle Eastern women can’t always express themselves through clothing in the same way that others can.
HK: Beauty is power and confidence to me. I believe that it comes from within and everyone is born with it, it’s just about finding it. Once you find it, you feel it and you become it.
HK: Feeling empowered and inspiring women around the world to feel empowered is very important to me and the brand because everything we do is about showing people that they can literally do anything even if they have nothing. Huda Beauty is driven by a team dedicated to changing the beauty industry and proving that anyone can do anything with passion and purpose.
My advice is to just be yourself. It sounds so cliché but there is so much power in the phrase, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.” Own your weirdness and let your personality shine. What you see as your biggest flaw may actually be your biggest strength, so I encourage you to explore what those are and lean into them. Always look for and find the silver lining!
I’ll admit that I struggled, and still do, with my own criticisms of myself. I was always my own worst enemy wondering, “What are people going to think of me? Will they think I am crazy?” so I needed to work on that and become comfortable with myself. I didn’t want to become a negative by-product of my own criticisms. It’s certainly been a challenge, so I wish I had known to ignore my own criticisms and not focus on what other people thought of me. Once you let the negativity go and you focus on your own weirdness, the rest of life become a little easier!
HK: To change the perception of beauty and make a big difference in the industry. I’m a firm believer in the power of makeup; it’s transformative abilities to give you confidence and change the way you feel about yourself. The empowering quality of makeup is the transformative aspect.
That’s the beauty of makeup – it really allows you to be who you want to be at any moment with the option to be a different you just moments later. It’s totally freeing! Makeup to women is what the power suit is to men – it just gives you that boost of confidence and I want everyone to see this and experience it!