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Huda Kattan, Huda Beauty CEO, 38, spent her younger years helping her sister Mona to prepare for beauty pageants.
Now the sisters have teamed up to create LoveFest, a range of makeup and fragrance which combines Huda’s beauty line and Mona’s brand Kayali.
“I have always been passionate about makeup and skincare, I love what I do,” Huda told NationalWorld.
“I began Huda Beauty from a place where I felt there was no one who looked like me and I wanted to offer my experience and make up artistry to provide anyone, who looked like me with tips and tricks they may find useful or interesting.
“Mona really was the princess of the family when we were growing up and I loved being with her behind the scenes of her beauty pageants, perfecting her makeup, helping with her hair and making sure she felt her most beautiful and best.
“I think it was then that I truly realised the power of beauty and the role that it plays in empowering us to become our true selves.”
Huda, who is one of four children, started her cosmetics company in 2013. The company has gone on to generate $510 million and she has launched a sister skincare company called WISHFUL.
The Huda Beauty brand started out as a blog in 2010, after the mother-of-one was advised by another one of her sisters to set up a site for makeup tips and tutorials.
With a loan from a family member, the blog took flight and Huda’s brand was able to kickstart with a line of false eyelashes which were successfully sold through American store Sephora and even worn by celebrities such as Kim Kardashian.
Huda said: “Family is what made Huda Beauty what it is today - without my sisters, parents and husband, I don’t know where I would be today.
“They have been my rock throughout this whole process and I wouldn’t have it any other way. When we first started, there were nights where the whole family and I would be on the floor packaging up eyelashes - a true team effort.
“Family is everything to me so I am so happy to be able to share this experience with them too. Don’t get me wrong there are times when we fight or don’t agree, but that’s family and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Family is at the forefront of the cosmetics brand as Huda’s husband Christopher Goncalo acts as the Chief Operating Officer, while Huda’s other sister Alya runs the social media accounts.
Not only has the Huda Beauty brand amassed 50.9 million followers on Instagram in the nine years it has been running but also Huda has gained a huge following of 2.5 million herself.
In the American makeup artist’s bio, she states she has “had enough [of] photo editing and filters”.
She continued: “I think social media today is much more harmful than it used to be. Before it was a place where you could express yourself freely, without limits. But now people are obsessed with their looks.
“The problem with social media is that we live our lives through them, through photos that often do not represent reality and it is as if these determine our value.
“When I was a young girl I bought a mascara because I wanted lashes like the models, only to find that she was actually wearing false lashes. And I said we would never lie to people.”
In addition to an open policy with Huda Beauty, Huda’s skincare range WISHFUL puts honesty at the forefront.
“When we launched WISHFUL, the campaign was with me as the protagonist without filters, without makeup, without retouching, just my skin as it is,” Huda said.
“It was an important step for the brand, but also for me personally, because I felt so insecure at first, despite being used to being in front of the lens, yet without makeup I felt vulnerable.
“I then saw the photos and I said enough, I don’t need anything, I’m a powerful woman - I wanted to be free from all the pressures that come from social media, from the beauty standards that tell us how we should be. And that’s what we intend to do with Huda Beauty.
“My photos may not be perfect, but they are true. And it is the most important thing.”
With family forming the foundation for the million dollar beauty empire, Huda also looks to pass the same community feeling onto her daughter Nour Giselle and to her audience at Huda Beauty.
Huda said: “My 11-year-old daughter inspired me a lot, it’s hard to be a kid these days. I don’t think the beauty industry is doing enough.
“I’m not sure what the right way is, sometimes I would like to do more to instil confidence in young women, but I want to start from being honest, showing myself how I am.
“Ultimately it’s about appreciating everyone for their individuality, understanding expectations…to make people the best version of themselves and not making them into someone else.”
When asked about what beauty means to her company, Huda said: “We are a beauty company that believes everyone is beautiful whether you wear cake face or no make up, you are your own beauty standard.
“If we can continue to create products that our community want and love, that’s awesome and if we can inspire people to believe in themselves and have fun with make up, where and if they want, that’s the best.
“Most of all I want to try and make a difference in our industry, to empower people to believe in themselves and feel beautiful for who they are. For me, true beauty lies in our differences, so we need to get rid of the traditional beauty standards that almost nobody fits into.”
Huda has worked with a whole host of famous faces in her time as a makeup artist including Eva Longoria and Nicole Richie.
Now LoveFest sees Huda working alongside her sister Mona as the collaboration brings perfume and makeup products to stores worldwide.
Huda said that the range was one of her favourites to work on and is one that the sisters have “always” wanted to produce.
“The partnership allowed Mona and I to work together on something we would both love and enjoy. The collection was inspired by sunsets, brought to life by the gorgeous orange, red, purple and brown shades. It’s so fun and versatile, you can use it every day but also when you want to glam and party.
“It was always my dream to share our brand with as many beauty lovers as possible worldwide and when we launched into the UK it was a real pinch me moment! We have such a loyal fanbase in the UK and I couldn’t wait to have them join us on the Huda Beauty journey.”
Hero products we love from Huda Beauty
Huda Beauty’s LoveFest Obsessions Eyeshadow Palette offers a range of warm-coloured shades - both sparkly and matte. Perfect for getting party ready at the drop of a hat.
Share the Lovefest with this vegan-friendly lipstick quad pack. Bold shades ideal for adding maximum contour and sheen to your lips.
With woody spices and cherry scents this new eau de parfum from the Huda Kayali collaboration is perfect for travelling - and for keeping your life fruity and light.