Huda Kattan on Returning as CEO, Summer Beauty Trends, Blush Tips, and More

The beauty maven introduces her new Blush Filter Liquid Blush.
Published: June 13, 2024
Huda Kattan on Stepping Back as CEO, Blush Placements, Summer Beauty Trends, and More
Photo: Courtesy of Huda Beauty

Before the world of beauty TikTok, people would turn to text and long-form videos for the latest beauty tips and tricks from artists and creators around the world. It's how Huda Kattan first made her mark on the beauty community and grew to become one of the biggest names in beauty. It's hard to fathom that the beauty entrepreneur was working in an entirely different field prior.

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Fresh out of college with a degree in finance, the Iraqi-American entrepreneur moved to Dubai and was working in recruiting, but lost her job as a result of The Great Recession of 2008. Seeing this as her golden opportunity to pursue her passion for make-up, Kattan moved to Los Angeles to study at the Joe Blasco Makeup Artistry School. Her time in Hollywood also led her to work as a make-up artist to stars of the Noughties like socialite and reality television star Nicole Ritchie and actress Eva Longoria.

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After moving back to Dubai to continue her artistry, and with the advice of one of her sisters, Kattan started her beauty blog Huda Beauty in 2010. Sharing her tips, tricks and favourites, the platform would be the predecessor for all that was to come. Two years later, Huda Beauty evolved into a cosmetic line sold in Sephora at Dubai Mall. Its first launch, a series of false eyelashes, was a smash hit and was frequently spotted on Kourtney, Kim, and Khloe Kardashian.

A decade later, Huda Beauty has grown to become a multi-million dollar company selling over 140 products with estimated annual sales of US$200 million. The brand has over 54 million followers on Instagram, with Kattan herself amassing over four million on her account. In addition, the entrepreneur has expanded into skincare with Wishful, a brand all about creating gentle, simple, cruelty-free products.

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This year, Kattan has much to look forward to. She assumed the role as CEO of Huda Beauty once again after leaving four years ago, and is releasing exciting new products such as the Blush Filter Liquid Blush—a liquid blush with micro-pearls for that soft-focus, high-impact glow.

In celebration of the new launch, ELLE Singapore sat down with the beauty maven to talk about returning as CEO, summer beauty trends, and more.

What inspired you to create the Blush Filter Liquid Blush?

I wanted to create a blush that's super lightweight, blendable and buildable. One that would give this amazing airbrush finish to the face when applied. The Blush Filter liquid blushes come in a range of colours to suit every complexion and can be layered to create this beautiful ombre effect. They're so easy to use and also smell like sweet candy.

There are so many methods and different placements to apply blush these days—what’s yours?

I’m obsessed with ombre blush. I use two different shades to create a multidimensional effect on the cheeks. I use a lighter shade on the top of my cheekbones, a darker shade right below, and blend them together. My favourite combinations at the moment are Cotton Candy with Strawberry Cream or Peach Sorbet.

Why did you step away from the business you built and what has brought you back?

I decided to step down as CEO in 2020 after receiving advice from some people who said that I didn't know how to run a business. They were right. Honestly, I needed the help, but I think it pushed me too far one way. This change brought some incredible people to the brand, but I had to sacrifice things that were important to me like product development and content creation. I've had to relearn how to run the business and understand what it takes to be CEO. I'm excited and want to redefine the brand—2024 is going to be a big year for Huda Beauty!

Did your experience as a make-up artist help you when creating the brand and how?

Following my passion and becoming a make-up artist helped me understand different products, techniques, and how make-up works for different people. So now, I can create products I would use myself or that I think are missing in the market. It's actually how Huda Beauty began. I launched my blog in 2010 and worked as a make-up artist in Dubai, but couldn't find good-quality false lashes. As a result, I launched Huda Beauty with false lashes as our inaugural product. Sephora in Dubai Mall took them exclusively, and now we have a full product line-up.

What has it been like seeing the growth of Huda Beauty over the past decade?

It has been a dream come true! The support we have seen from our community is overwhelming, and I’m so thankful for them. Huda Beauty started on social media, which wasn’t common back then. I’m glad it turned out this way because we’re not just a make-up brand. We’re a community of make-up lovers from around the world, sharing our favourite products, tips and tricks.

I’m seeing this big trend of wearing a full face of make-up without anything on the eyes. It’s one of those trends you would not get until you try it. Another one is ombre blush. It creates this beautiful dimension to the face and allows for so much creativity. The last one would probably be glossy lips. Everyone is stepping away from the matte (we’re not complaining!) and going for a glossier juicy look.

What are your go-to summer essentials?

My Easy Bake and Snatch Pressed Powder, especially with the heat and humidity here in Dubai! It has a little sponge to touch-up on the go—something I can’t do out without. Next is my FAUX FILLER Gloss. It’s super hydrating and comfortable to wear while giving the juiciest lips. I would probably go around with the shades Glassy or Bombshell in my bag all summer.

What are your tips for achieving flawless, long-lasting makeup in warmer climates?

Choosing the right setting powder is essential, especially if you live in a humid and hot country. On days when my make-up might get affected by the weather, I find myself baking more with our Easy Bake Loose Setting Powder so my make-up can last all day. Make sure to carry a pressed powder around to retouch your face throughout the day.

Do you have any advice for women who are looking to elevate their make-up looks?

I think everyone is beautiful the way they are, and everyone has a specific make-up look that makes them feel more like themselves, and they should embrace it. You should experiment and do what makes you happy and what makes you feel beautiful. 

Any upcoming projects or exciting launches for Huda Beauty?

I wish I could say. I always get so excited and want to spill everything whenever I talk about the brand. All I can say is that 2024 started with some amazing launches, and we’re far from done!

*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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