Huda Kattan might be one of Dubai’s biggest success stories. From starting a beauty blog to running one of the world’s biggest beauty brands, Kattan has carved out a unique space for herself in a crowded market thanks to her honest reviews, social media presence and quality products.
As Huda Beauty celebrates 10 years since the launch of its first product in Dubai, The National looks at some of Kattan’s biggest milestones.
2010: Hudabeauty.com is born
In 2010, Kattan was working as a makeup artist and was keen to share her love of beauty with a wider audience, so she started her blog HudaBeauty.com.
In a post marking its 10-year anniversary, she wrote: “It was a passion project that grew from my love of makeup and beauty, and I really wanted HudaBeauty.com to be a platform for me to share everything I discovered with whoever wanted to listen."
2013: first product released
Following the popularity of her blog, in February 2013, Kattan launched her first official Huda Beauty product — a line of false lashes sold at Sephora. The line was launched at The Dubai Mall.
Kattan started with eyelashes as they had become part of her look and style. Speaking at the time of the launch, she said: “When I began blogging, I noticed a huge interest in my false lashes. Having always customised, cut and glued several pairs together, it was hard to explain how anyone could achieve the same look at home.”
2014: celebrity clients
In 2014, Kattan says she began working with high-profile clients, including the likes of Eva Longoria, who she now counts as a close friend.
As her star power was rising, so were her social media followers, helping to make her one of the most influential figures in the online beauty space.
2015: Huda Beauty becomes a family affair
After spending two years working on the business and packing false eyelashes from her Dubai apartment, Huda Beauty opened its first official offices, and Kattan brought her husband Chris and sister Mona on board to help.
2016: Lip Contour kits launch
In 2016, Huda Beauty launched one of its most popular products, the Lip Contours, a moment after which Kattan said “everything changed".
“At that moment, the brand seemed to finally have direction and our identity was starting to blossom,” she wrote on HudaBeauty.com.
The same year, London department store Harrods started stocking Huda Beauty products.
2017: Kattan launches HB Investments
In 2017, Kattan launched HB Investments in order to support entrepreneurs and start-ups from around the world. The company has supported a number of projects, from becoming one of the principal shareholders of the UAE luxury resale marketplace The Luxury Closet to sponsoring Nascar's first female Arab driver Toni Breidinger, who made her debut driving the Huda Beauty 02 Chevrolet SS at a race at Talladega Superspeedway, Alabama.
2018: the launch of Kayali
Together with sister Mona, Kattan made her first move into the world of fragrance in 2018, launching the brand Kayali. Meaning "my imagination" in English, Kayali is inspired by "the rich heritage and simple sophistication" of the Middle East.
Ahead of the launch, Huda said: “The sense of smell is the most powerful of all the senses, and so many of my memories are tied to a specific scent. I can reflect back to a time and place in my mind when I smell a certain fragrance — it just has the power to transport me.”
2020: Wishful launches
Skincare was the next natural step for Kattan. In 2020, Wishful skincare was launched. Kattan initially launched Wishful with just one product, the Yo Glow Enzyme Scrub. The brand now has a whole range of products, including moisturisers, facemasks, oils and serums.
2020: Kattan steps down as chief executive of Huda Beauty
Seven years after first creating her now-global beauty empire, Kattan passed the torch to Nathalie Kristo, who joined the company as chief executive. Kattan remains the creative vision behind the brand, as well as chairwoman.
Speaking at the time, she said: “When I started my beauty blog in 2010, never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I would end up owning one of the world’s fastest-growing beauty companies.
“As we continue to evolve and expand, our goals continue to grow, and in the future we see Huda Beauty being one of the biggest beauty companies in the world, both in social impact and in business. To do this, we are doubling down on focus and leadership, which is why I am proud to announce our new CEO, Nathalie Kristo.”
2020: Huda Beauty named as world’s most in-demand beauty brand
In 2020, the Cosmetify Index, which ranks brands based on their social engagement and following, identified Huda Beauty as the world's biggest beauty brand using five criteria: Google search volume, increase in searches, Instagram followers, hashtags and engagement.
The figures showed that of the 1,710 beauty brands it analysed, Huda Beauty is the most searched and purchased, beating the likes of Anastasia Beverly Hills and Mac Cosmetics.