After a 13-hour flight from New York City, a 12-minute car ride, a ride up 21 stories in a glass-walled elevator, I finally make it to Huda Beauty's Dubai HQ. Before I even step into Huda Kattan's personal office, though, her sister and business partner Mona spritzes me with approximately 28 perfumes and her daughter, Nour, asks me if I want to see her secret arcade.
We sat down with one of the most influential women in global beauty to talk about Wishful, her first foray into skin-care; her struggle with endometriosis; and her beauty goals for the new decade.
The record should be scratching on her curated palette-development playlist playing over the speakers, but "Swan Lake" coincidently hits a crescendo. Mind you, Huda Beauty creates Best of Beauty Award-winning palettes that I can't go anywhere without. I don't want to imagine a world without them.
The thing is Kattan is just as obsessed with skin care as she is with makeup. Why? "My skin is bitchy," she jests. It is bitchy as fuck." The two learned to get along by figuring out which ingredients her skin loves (oils, fruit acids) and which ones rile it up (kelp, anything fermented).
Ever since she embarked on her skin-care journey at 19, "I wanted to feel beautiful when I took my makeup off," Kattan says. Now, at 36, Huda's finally gotten there.
"For the first time ever, I started feeling really proud of my skin and it feels so good," she admits. The realization came while shooting the campaign barefaced for a secret Kattan has closely guarded since 2017: her own skin-care brand, Wishful.
"As soon as I got in front of the camera, I got so anxious because I was like, 'I don't have my makeup to hide behind, my lashes, my Photoshop,'" Kattan recalls with tears pricking at her eyes. "I had to be like, 'Huda, you worked really hard.'"
After seeing the unadulterated photos from the shoot, Kattan told herself, "That woman deserves to be loved. That woman should feel really good. Your skin looks good. Feel good.'"
Other than it being a generally cute name, Wishful is inspired by the Arabic meaning for Mona: wished for. From there, Kattan realized she could play off the name in many ways, "like, your wish is my command. What's your wishlist? What kind of skin do you wish for?" she expands.
When thinking about her own answers to these questions, Huda was drawn toward releasing an exfoliant first. When you think about it, it's a natural bridge between Huda Beauty's current offerings and skin care. Sloughing away dead skin helps foundation go on more seamlessly, and Kattan reaches for a scrub daily to keep her base from looking thick.
These days, her scrub of choice is Wishful's first product launch, Yo Glow Enzyme Scrub. Its buttery yellow tube is filled with skin-smoothing pineapple and papaya extracts, which do wonders for Huda's complexion. "I'm the first consumer here," she notes. "If it doesn't fix my issues, it doesn't fix anyone's issues."
The formula also combines elements from around the world: South Korea’s beloved peeling gel technlogy, a creamy base of glycerin and sweet almond oil reminiscent of classic French skin care. And its fine grit (from cellulose) may remind you of your American youth (Kattan was born in Oklahoma and raised in Tennessee).
The next launch is still under wraps, but one thing is certain: "We're not going after wrinkles. Because the reality is I Botox," Huda admits. "I'm not going to pretend."
Instead, Wishful will focus on evening out the texture of your complexion and brightening it up. It's for the person who doesn't want to hide their skin with makeup, like Kattan says she once did.
"Before I wanted makeup to feel more empowered, and I did," Kattan says. "But you take off the makeup and you’re still that person. Makeup is the tool. It's what makes you feel a certain way, but you take it off, you're still a bad bitch. You're still a dope, beautiful, courageous, amazing person. The makeup doesn't make you that way, it just feels like it does. So when you take it off, should you lose that?"
Wishful's Yo Glow is available now for $39 on shophudabeauty.com.
Listen to Editor-in-Chief Michelle Lee interview Huda Kattan about the new collection and her skin-care routine:
View Iframe URL
- Huda Kattan Reveals the Genius Trick to Applying Her Liquid Eye Shadows
- Mona Kattan Shares Exclusive Details on Her New Kayali Fragrance
- Huda Beauty's Mercury Retrograde Palette Is About to Make the Hardest Time of Year a Little Easier
Now, see a tour of Huda Kattan's bathroom:
Read more on: skin care
Learn about unknown needs of your skin for free