Unfiltered: Huda Beauty’s Huda Kattan Tells Us Her Makeup & CEO Secrets

Lessons from a beauty maven

It’s not an easy feat taking a brand that has its foundations in the 2010s beauty space — we’re talking full beat, high-coverage, and glamorous looks (and that's just the tip of the iceberg!) — to bring it into the 2020s where au naturel makeup reign supreme. But Huda Beauty founder Huda Kattan makes it look easy.

Huda Beauty founder and CEO, Huda Kattan

Huda Beauty founder and CEO, Huda Kattan. (Photo: @huda)

In an interview with TheBeauLife, we asked the beauty expert to go unfiltered and spill her entrepreneurial secrets — from her tips to making your makeup sweat-proof to the hard-hitting lessons she’s learnt from leading a major beauty brand.

On the early years of Huda Beauty

It may surprise you, but the Huda Kattan we know today wasn’t always a content creator. She was once one of the women in finance, after graduating from the University of Michigan in 2008. She was surrounded by men in finance (who may or may not be 6’5”, have blue eyes and a trust fund) and fighting her battles in a male-dominated sphere.

However, as she stayed true to herself and her passions, she quit that job to become a makeup artist and start an award-winning blog, which became the foundation for her work with Huda Beauty. With the help of her sisters, Huda leapt into building her makeup brand — starting with false lashes that later became all the rage at Sephora. The rest is history, but it took her a while to get to where she is today.

When asked about the advice that Huda would give her younger self, Huda replied: “[I’d tell her] that people would underestimate me at first, but it would get better with time and I just need to trust myself and my passion for Huda Beauty.”

How Huda ‘filters’ trends and makes them her own

Staying up to date with the latest trends and the fast-paced beauty industry can take up a lot of her time, but Huda thrives in it.

“Honestly, I adore makeup. It's why I started this journey, so my personal interests align with the brand!” she shared. “I love trying out new products, so I make it a point to experiment with new treatments and products. Other than that, you'll find me working on Huda Beauty and content creation, and these take up a lot of my time, but it's what I love doing.”

Aside from her hands-on experiments with makeup, Huda also listens to the community she’s built as a blogger, content creator, and beauty entrepreneur. “My team is amazing, and we try to create innovative products that aren’t so popular in the market. We love getting feedback from our community,” she said.

“For example, the launch of Easy Bake Loose Fragrance-Free was driven by the opinion of our community,” she added. “Half loved the fragrance in the product, and the other half wanted the fragrance but not in the product, so we decided to make everyone happy by launching our Easy Bake Loose Powder, but in a fragrance-free version.“

Listening to her customers and followers is the only way forward, she added. These are voices that will become the new “trendsetters” in the makeup industry. “People have reclaimed their power from beauty brands, shifting the focus towards inclusivity, authenticity, diversity, and celebrating individuality,” Huda explained. “We are no longer guided by outdated and unattainable standards — we're embracing everyone, and I love it.”

As a makeup brand owner, Huda also says making customers part of the conversation will lead to them seeing a brand as authentic — and worthy of being supported. “This trend is only gaining momentum as consumers are demanding authenticity from brands. So, I think the beauty community is going to continue to be the trendsetter in the future.”

We can’t wait to see where she takes Huda Beauty moving forward, after reclaiming her seat as CEO this year. (She stepped down in 2020.) “We’re going through so many amazing changes in 2024, with a rebrand and completely rethinking Huda Beauty to take it where we want it to be.” Stay tuned for their next chapter.

Unfiltering Huda: a peek into her daily schedule

Huda tells us that her days vary in schedule. After all, she’s not just a CEO — she’s also a content creator. “Honestly, every day is very different! It depends on whether I need to shoot content, work in the office, have catch-ups with my team, attend events, or travel to visit my labs for new products,” she shared. “No matter what my day looks like, the one thing I always make a priority is to spend time with my family before and after work.”

Not only that, but she’s adopting a holistic approach to her personal and work life. “I always make sure that I’m happy with what I do. If I ever feel burnout coming, I take a break and avoid overworking myself. Family time is extremely important to me, so I will always make the time for it,” Huda explained.

“As a founder, I work extremely hard but I also have the advantage of being able to slow down when I need to. My communication with my team is fantastic, so if I need to take a few slow days because I want to spend some time with my daughter, they completely understand and make sure I go at my own pace for a few days. They’re honestly amazing and super understanding.”

And at her core, Huda just wants to be remembered for the positive things she’s done. In addition to empowering women through makeup, she’s also been very vocal about how other people with big platforms should advocate for those who are silenced. To sum it up, Huda just wants to be known “as a good person, who used her platform and voice to better the world.”

Huda spills her makeup tips

Tip #1: Enhance your facial features with the right blush technique

“If you want a fuller-looking face, apply blush to the apples of the cheeks. But if you want a more defined look, apply to the top of the cheekbone — my favourite way!” Huda advised. “You can try creating a multidimensional effect using two shades of a liquid blush, like the Huda Beauty Blush Filter. I use a lighter blush on top of the cheekbone and a darker blush right below and blend them together. It gives you this gorgeous 3D effect on the cheek.”

Tip #2: Make your makeup sweat-proof with a loose setting powder

“Honestly, setting with the right loose powder works wonders. I always use our Easy Bake Loose Setting Powder to set my makeup in place, and if I have the time, I bake, so it sets really well and lasts most of the day.”

Tip #3: Banish cakey or melted-off makeup as it appears

“I always carry my Easy Bake and Snatch Pressed Powder in my bag for any on-the-go touch-ups. If your makeup has melted off, I’d recommend concealing any areas that need it again and setting  with a loose powder.”

This interview was edited for clarity and brevity.

(Cover photos from: @huda and @hudabeauty)

Next, discover how to care for your tresses with Amika’s Becca Cullati.

Comments, questions or feedback? Email us at [email protected].

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