Huda and Mona Kattan on their favourite beauty products, TV binges and dining with Will Smith

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  • 'We hope to become this generation's Estée Lauder'

    Welcome to Beauty Bytes: a place where I chat to celebrities about all things beauty – from their favourite products, to their biggest beauty disasters. Plus I grill them on everything from their social media habits to their all-time favourite meals. You know, all the important and essential things that we need to know about.

    If you haven’t heard of Huda Beauty, are you even on social media? What started out as a lash brand is now a hugely successful, globally-renowned beauty empire – and the Kattan sisters aren’t stopping any time soon. We caught up with both Huda and Mona to discuss all things beauty, their TV show, and what the brand is launching next…

    LA: So, how do you guys practise a bit of self-care?

    MK: Self-care comes in so many forms, [but] I think number one is taking care of your health. I didn’t start doing that until about 15 months ago and it really changed my life. We have such fast-paced lives and I came to a point where I felt super unhappy because my health was so terrible. So I started working out five to six times a week, I went on a really strict diet and got into shape. I think just feeling good health-wise is so important, then adding in meditation and time for reflection, that’s a huge part of self-care. And of course, being in beauty, putting on amazing make-up, taking care of your hair, nails and perfume always gives you a lot of confidence. But I think first and foremost it comes from taking care of your health and your mental state as well.

    HK: I think there are different personality types; some people will naturally take care of themselves, some people will not and will put other people in front of themselves. My journey with personal care is a little bit deeper; I really discovered how important self-love was over the past year. It’s really been hard for me because I’m a people pleaser, I have so many obligations, and sometimes I will not do the self-care thing. But making sure you’re disciplined [enough] to do those things and know what you need in order to fill your cup is really, really important. Personally, I know that a 15 minute bubble bath with epsom salts and some green clay at the end of the night, then doing a scrub, body moisturiser and an oil makes me feel amazing. Then I’m so much more able to really give to the people around me. But it’s a challenge.

    LA: You guys are so busy that it’s so important to have that balance, isn’t it?

    HK: Definitely!

    LA: So, Huda Beauty is obviously killing it and you now have your Huda Boss show on Facebook Watch – can you tell me a bit more about the new series?

    HK: Oh my gosh yes, where do we begin? In the first series I honestly feel we were learning; we weren’t really sure how the entertainment world worked. We were still working as full-time employees for Huda Beauty and it was such a bad time. When we were filming I remember we told the producers, ‘We can’t film right now’ and they were like ‘we have to!’ We were struggling so much that I feel we weren’t able to show as much of ourselves as we were able to this year. This season is amazing, I love the way it’s a 360 of what goes into planning launches, what happens when you work together as a family, my personal journey as a woman trying to have it all as a working mum and a feminist, all of those things. We’re really honest; at one point my husband says, ‘Huda, if you don’t continue to improve in some areas we’re gonna go bankrupt!’ It’s interesting because people don’t necessarily know that this is really what’s happening [behind the scenes], but when you watch the show you’re like – ‘shit, this is insane!’. But ultimately I think it’s a very honest show and I hope people enjoy it.

    LA: They definitely will! And what’s next for the brand?

    HK: Oh my goodness, I am so pumped because we are launching skincare. SO excited for it. I’m actually more passionate about skincare than I am about make-up, so it’s gonna be a really exciting new chapter for us. We hope to become this generation’s Estée Lauder, we think this is gonna be a move in the right direction, it’s gonna be huge. We’re very excited!

    LA: How do you guys take care of your skin? Can you talk me through your day and night time routines?

    MK: My answer is probably going to be a LOT shorter than Huda’s… I’ve always been a bit more basic with my skincare, but I’ve followed my routine religiously since I was 14 years old. I’ve always done a good wash, a toner, a great eye cream, moisturiser, and now Huda’s got me to use nice oils at the end of the night. I’m much more into doing the basics, but doing them always and doing them well – never sleeping with make-up on or anything. I really take care of my diet and drink tonnes of water and it makes a huge difference. The days that I don’t drink a lot of water I’ll see it on my face the next day; I think hydration is so key when it comes to skincare.

    Huda Kattan

    Mona, Huda, their older sister Alya and Huda’s daughter Nour

    HK: Yeah… my answer’s definitely gonna be longer than that. Mona has beautiful skin naturally; I don’t have great skin so I can’t just use any skincare products. I actually have a really strict regime and make sure I do these things every single day. Do you really want everything?

    LA: Oh yeah, hit me.

    HK: Alright, get ready! My skincare regime is pretty intense, I’m not gonna lie. At night I double cleanse, I’m really strict on double cleansing – we have an amazing cleansing balm that we’re launching that is by far the most powerful but gentle cleansing balm I’ve ever used. My favourite cleanser after that is the Tatcha Deep Cleanse and I usually use the microfibre cloth to remove things easily. Then afterwards I go straight into toner, I do use a pretty strong toner because it’s the only thing that keeps my skin from breaking out. I use the Clinique Clarifying Lotion 2 all over my face. I’m very strict about the cotton pads I use as well, I only like the exfoliating cotton pads from Target, they’re very good. I have had my assistant go and buy an entire shopping cart full of them before! Afterwards I use the 111SKIN Essence, it’s amazing. Some days if I’ve had a breakout I’ll use a derma roller right before I use the essence, but most days I don’t. Then I go straight into the Dr. Jart+ Peptidin Skin Firming Serum, which I love, then the Embryolisse Filaderme Emulsion Afterwards I use a couple of our HUDA Beauty products, but I can’t say exactly what yet! I use those last and they really re-texturise, they’re amazing at making my skin look unreal. Afterwards I use red light therapy – red light for me is really important, and not all red light is created equal. I personally love QuasarMD, it’s the strongest.

    MK: We do only have half an hour, just FYI!

    Embryolisse Filaderme Emulsion, £8.50, Lookfantastic


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    HK: In the morning my skincare is a little bit more simple, I’ll usually just rinse my face, I don’t actually re-apply everything, it depends on how my skin is, then I’ll usually use a spray hydration. Then what I’ve being doing recently is some lymphatic drainage massage. When I came back from my recent trip I woke up every single morning and my face was so puffy, but I feel like that literally tightens things up so much so fast, it’s really great. Afterwards I’ll use a little bit of electronic stimulation like the ZIIP tool. I really like NUface as well but sometimes it can irritate me personally a little bit. Then I’ll usually apply a couple more of our Huda Beauty products, and my day is good to go.

    LA: I mean, thanks so much for the level of detail there!

    HK: I do also drink Kombucha and bone broth every day and I have that in the mornings. I really feel like that makes a difference to my skin, too.

    And what about your hair, how do you guys take care of that?

    MK: I’m really religious with my hair care as well and again it’s kind of basic. I guess that’s who I am! But I take care, I’ll do regular trims, I have a lot of grey hairs but I’ve stopped using certain products. HUDA gave me a recommendation for this one Japanese hair care brand on Amazon called Bigen, it’s five dollar hair colour but it’s amazing. Ever since I started using it instead of my normal hair colour, my hair has gotten a lot thicker – before it was falling out from all the dye! I also take Sugar Bear Hair, I know a lot of people are sceptical but it’s made my hair grow so fast. And I’m super careful, I don’t overdo my hair, I only do it twice a week max.

    HK: Mona also is very blessed, her hair is beautiful, she’s very lucky. I have thinning hair, we both have polycystic ovarian syndrome, and I have endometriosis so I have a little hair thinning because of the level of testosterone I have. I personally have to be very careful with my hair; it’s very coarse and it breaks, so I love using coconut oil the day before I wash my hair. I only wash my hair twice a week as well. I also have a little bit of eczema on my scalp, so I’m religious with the Sisley Serum for Scalp. It’s really helped me with my dry and flaky scalp, it’s basically gone after you use it a couple of times, completely gone.

    Sisley Paris Revitalising Fortifying Serum for Scalp, £135, NET-A-PORTER

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    LA: What about make-up, what do you have in your ‘essentials’ make-up bag? I feel like these answers could be quite varied…

    HK: Go on, Mona. Easy, she’s so beautiful!

    MK: I’m just very different with my beauty style, for instance I would rather use RevitaLash so I don’t have to use too much mascara. I’ve also microbladed my brows so it makes my beauty routine a lot easier, I just have to touch them up.

    HK: [Laughter] Stop it!

    MK: So again, mine’s a lot more basic, but I would typically wear a good concealer, I love our Huda Beauty Overachiever Concealer, and I also use our foundation now; I used to only be into powder, because I don’t like heavy make-up in general, but Huda’s taught me the Huda Beauty way of complexion and I do really love it. Before I used to put too much product on and it would be too cakey for me, but now that I’ve learned to layer carefully it looks really beautiful, natural and it doesn’t feel to heavy on my skin. But my must-haves are definitely lipstick, a really good mascara, an eyeliner and blush, and some good powder. Our Huda Beauty Easy Bake Powder is amazing.

    HK: I have a very big regime with make-up.

    LA: Do you have a suitcase?

    HK: I do travel with a suitcase of make-up usually! I’ll just say some of my favourites. I love our mist, it’s by far one of my favourite products, I put it on head-to-toe. I love our Easy Bake powder as well, it’s actually one of our best sellers. I also love the Tatcha Silk Primer, I think it’s really one of the best primers out there. I don’t wanna mention too many Huda Beauty products, but I literally develop products out of the things that I love the most! When I travel and I’m experimenting with make-up, I take so many lab samples. But the actual every day products are very specific; I have a concealer I use, a foundation I use, a powder I use, contour I use [all the time]. I love our Tantour, I personally think when you use it there’s no need to use any other contour as well. The Benefit brow stuff is also amazing, I actually swear by that. I also love the L’Oreal Infallible Brows, oh my god, it’s so good but it’s so hard to find for whatever reason, I can never find my shade. I’m obsessed with our liner, it’s really, really amazing. A good pair of lashes too, I like false lashes. I actually do use more brands than ours!

    Huda Beauty Easy Bake Powder, £28, Cult Beauty

    Huda Beauty

    Buy now

    LA: Which other lashes do you like, apart from your own?

    HK: My favourite ones are our Hoodie Lashes, those I could wear every single day for the rest of my life, because I designed them for me. I also do love a good pair of Ardell, like the Demi Wispies. I use a lot of lash brands to experiment and try everything. I’ve tried a lot of names, but when I wanna feel my best I use the products that were formulated for me.

    LA: I mean, that’s the beauty of having your own beauty brand, you are going to create things you want to wear yourself.

    HK: Yeah, absolutely! When were creating I’m like, ‘Oh this won’t work for everyone, but I’ll keep it for me’. Sometimes I do make lash samples just for me. Why not!

    LA: How often do you guys work out and what’s your favourite way to exercise?

    MK: I typically work out five to six times a week, usually first thing in the morning right when I wake up. And my favourite thing to do is circuit training because I feel like I get to hit every part of the body and get my cardio up. It’s great to get the full-body workout.

    HK: I’m not as strict as Mona but I definitely try to get my workouts in. I do yoga two to three times per week, which I am pretty religious about, I have been for the past two years. I love the stretch and I have a very good yoga teacher, she’s just incredible, I feel like a new person every time I do it. I also box, I have a really mean boxing coach and I love that he’s so mean! It’s really great, no mercy. I do it more for my focus than I do actual exercise, but I love it, I think it’s a great stress reliever. Every morning I dance a bit, it could be five minutes, sometimes it will be 20 minutes, sometimes with my daughter, sometimes by myself, sometimes in my underwear… I just wanna move sometimes, it depends on my mood.

    LA: So much of exercise is all about that mood boost! What are your three most used emojis?

    MK: Mine are definitely the prayer hands, definitely high five and the heart.

    Huda and Mona Kattan

    LA: What would your last meal be?

    HK: Mint chocolate chip ice-cream. I’ve thought about this before.

    MK: I was gonna say ice cream as well…

    HK: Oooh, or American Chinese food. Do you die right away?

    LA: It’s just a cute way of asking what your all-time favourite food is – don’t think too deeply! What are your favourite TV shows to binge-watch?

    MK: Shark Tank, 100%.

    HK: Yeah I like Shark Tank, although I did binge-watch Stranger Things recently too. I think in two days I finished all three seasons.

    LA: That’s the problem now, none of us have any patience. If a series comes out and it’s not in one go I’m like, I don’t want to wait

    HK: Agreed! It’s like, you want me to wait a week for that?! I also like Euphoria. Euphoria’s really good.

    LA: What about your favourite movies? Classic movies that are your all time faves.

    MK: I really love The Notebook, it’s so romantic.

    HK: I love 50 First Dates, that was one of my favourites. I love a lot of Simon Pegg movies. He’s really, really funny, what’s that one with Kirsten Dunst? How to Lose Friends and Alienate People. And I just saw an amazing new one which I really recommend, The Long Shot, oh my god it’s amazing.

    LA: Who were you most star-struck meeting?

    HK: I think Arianna [Huffington], I was pretty overwhelmed when I met her. I’m not usually star struck with people to be honest. I’ve met some amazing people and I’ve loved meeting them, felt really comfortable with them, really loved them and their energy. But I think I was so star struck with Arianna because when she sold her blog, she was kind of my goal. She gave me a lot of hope when I was starting out; I didn’t know what I was going to do or if I was ever going to become anything, so she was my idol in some ways. She was really, really amazing and she knew so much about me! I was really taken aback by her to be honest.

    MK: Definitely Will Smith. I had a crazy crush on him when I was growing up and one Christmas in Dubai I was like oh my god, I would die to have dinner with him. The exact same day my friend called me and said, ‘Do you wanna come to dinner with him?’ I was like, ‘I have to tell you I’m your hugest fan!’ But he was so nice, he’s just as charming and kind as you see in films and a really good person. I ran into him the day after and he remembered my name! He’s just so kind and he’s a great person.

    New episodes of Huda Boss are available every Tuesday and Wednesday at 5pm on Facebook Watch, followed by a make-up tutorial on Thursdays, and the finale episode on 23rd October

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