#OwnUpToEditing: Huda Kattan calls out 'toxic beauty standards' in the cosmetics industry

The Huda Beauty founder is asking big beauty brands to disclose that they have touched up pictures when posting on social media

10.12.18 Arab social media influencers 
summit, held in Dubai world trade centre, Zabeel hall 2. This is a talk with Huda beauty. From L: Diala Makki, Huda Kattan and Mona Kattan.  Anna Maria Nielsen For The National.
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Make-up artist, influencer and entrepreneur Huda Kattan is taking a stand against unrealistic and “toxic” beauty standards.

In a candid video on Instagram, the founder of Huda Beauty has spoken out against “extreme Photoshop and over-editing” done by brands that have in turn created unrealistic beauty standards.

She's demanding more transparency from beauty brands by creating the hashtag #OwnUpToEditing and a petition asking companies to disclose if an image has been enhanced when posted on social media.

At the time of writing, the petition has already received more than 2,600 signatures.

“I’ve had enough with some aspects of the beauty industry. I think the industry is so amazing and has changed my life, but there are some things that, if we don’t change soon, are going to get worse,” she said.

“We are told we need to look a certain way, be a certain way, fit into this small criteria that big beauty companies have created so that they can get us to buy things. And that is a problem on so many levels.”

Kattan said that she encountered the issue when launching her Wishful Skincare range in 2020. While creating a marketing campaign, and looking at what other brands were doing, she was shocked that most other brands used make-up, editing and filters while promoting skincare products.

“It’s skincare, so it doesn’t make sense to use make-up and editing for campaigns!”

"Clearly, there is a problem – but where does it stem from? When brands, influencers or celebrities post heavily edited images, it sets unrealistic beauty standards for everyone."

While she says that she isn't against brands using Photoshop to sell products (although she does add "less would be great"), she points out that they need to disclose whether or not the images have been edited.

"We need to know what's real in the ads we see on the Internet, otherwise, we don't know what we are really being sold," she says.

Huda Kattan launched the Wishful Skincare line in 2020. Wishful / Instagram 

“Beauty is a tool of empowerment, not to be used solely to make money,” she says. “It’s 2021, and enough is enough!”

Getting real on YouTube

In a video posted on YouTube on Saturday, the beauty influencer got personal with her followers about the transformational power of make-up.

“2021 is here and I’m so ready to think about the way I use my platform, create products and influence with my brand,” she starts by saying.

“When I got into the beauty industry, I did it because I loved the way that it made me feel. I always felt ugly and unworthy, and beauty made me feel different. I didn’t realise that I was actually wearing make-up to cover up who I was because I felt like I wasn’t enough and had to become someone else.”

See the full video below:

While she praises the industry as a whole, especially those brands that are being honest online, she says the problem lies with ventures that are only about making money by “telling people they aren’t good enough, that they need something to feel beautiful”.

“You don’t need to buy any product, including mine, listen to any tip or do anything different to be beautiful. You have it within you. The sooner you realise it, the sooner you will feel it.”

This is not the first time Kattan has spoken out about image editing. In 2018, she posted a "before and after" image of herself on Instagram, showing how Facetune could be used to modify images. While she said she would continue to use the app, she called on the community to try using it less.