Few people have more impact than Huda Kattan. This is the woman whose beauty tutorials have over 3.2 million dedicated subscribers, whose personal Facebook has more than seven million followers and whose Instagram following is over ten times that of the population of Dubai.
Since 2010, when she first developed her beauty blog, Huda has connected with cultures all around the globe. Initially starting out in the world of finance, she concentrated her efforts into developing a beauty line with her sisters – a brand that went on to become one of the most successful family businesses of all time.
But what is it about this southern belle (Kattan was born in Oklahoma) that has shaken the beauty industry and led her to become such a cross-cultural sensation? We better hear it from Huda.
Huda Beauty is available online now and in select Harvey Nichols stores.
You started out in finance; why the move to beauty?
Ever since I knew what make-up was, I loved it. When I understood how powerful it could be and how it could alter your feelings and confidence, I wanted to share that power with the world. My passion for beauty comes from the feeling that make-up can give you, no matter how much or how little you choose to use and apply.
What would you say was your big break?
When we were just starting out, we weren’t taken as a serious brand for a long time. There was a lot of frustration because retailers and distributors thought we were just some young girls with a hobby. I am so proud that my sisters and I stayed true to our vision and were able to take Huda Beauty from an idea to what it is today.
And what’s been your toughest challenge?
In the first year of starting the business, I really wondered if our company would survive... we went through a period of explosive growth where we were getting so many orders, but we couldn’t fulfil them because we didn’t have enough money to continue ordering from distributors. Our father sold his property to lend us the money, which was crucial to us being able to take the business to the next level. It was a really challenging time for the company, and very stressful on the family, but we all knew it was for a bigger goal.
You initially launched with lashes. What do you think the next big thing in beauty might be?
Driving the inclusivity conversation beyond foundation and into colour cosmetics is not something most brands have recognised, discussed and done something about, but I think this is the next big conversation in beauty. We’ve addressed it in a lot of our new launches – our New Nude Palette specifically.
The typical Huda Beauty look is very groomed and glamorous – what would you say to someone looking for a more natural approach?
Huda Beauty gives people the confidence and opportunity to experiment with make-up so they can find their own kind of beautiful. Creating a full-glam look on myself makes me feel confident. It isn’t for everyone, and I am totally aware of that. I use cosmetics to express my individuality and show people what works for my features to encourage and inspire others to do the same.
“I think I appeal to most people because I don’t speak to just one audience, or do anything with one culture or type of person in mind. My social family has a love for beauty and self-expression, and I speak to that on every level.”
What product are you most proud of?
Our eye-shadow palettes almost always sell out as soon as we launch, them and that’s an incredible feeling! The New Nude Palette, specifically, took exceptionally long for us to create since we really pushed the standard limitations of an eye-shadow palette from every angle: starting with the shade range and the complex metallic formulas to the finishes, and even down to the name of the palette. It did unbelievably well for us, and it’s definitely one of my favourite product launches to date.
And what three products can you not live without?
My ride-or-die foundation is our #FauxFilter in Brown Sugar. It has literally changed my skin, and I use it every day. I also always have to make sure my brows are done, so my Tweezerman tweezers and Benefit Ka-Brow! can tie for second. For Ka-Brow!, shade number three and four are my go-tos, and I use them every single day. My final must-have product would be my Huda Beauty Lip Contour Pencil. I always carry the shade Trendsetter with me – I couldn’t leave the house without it.