Huda Beauty is expanding its beauty imperium with GloWish, a make-up range that also cares for skin. I got to listen to Huda herself.
If you had told Huda Kattan* three years ago that she was going to launch a tinted moisturizer, she would have laughed at the idea. The MUA turned beauty influencer turned beauty brand owner does not like tinted moisturizers. But do not underestimate the power of a driven team (and a worldwide pandemic): since 1 June you can buy GloWish by Huda Beauty, a make-up range with products that give you a natural look while caring for your skin. The packaging is partly recycled and the formulas are largely natural, as one gets to expect from a new beauty launch.
The line launches with two products and their vegan make-up brush: the Multidew Skin Tint, a tinted moisturizer, and the Soft Radiance Bronzing Powder. I tested both products (you can read my review here) but was also invited to a Zoom presentation with Huda herself. (My impressions: she is a sincere, clever woman who knows exactly what she is doing and does not just put her name on beauty products but is very involved in the whole process.)
Kattan talked about GloWish but also about her vision on Photoshop and how Covid-19 changed the way we use make-up. The highlights of her talk.
Tinted moisturizer? No way!
“My brilliant team came up with the idea of a tinted moisturizer. At first I was like: no way, we’re not doing it. Throw it out the door! But they kept coming to me with that idea. I thought that tinted moisturizers just move all around the place. Most of them are just moisturizers with some pigment, they don’t have any staying power. I just hated the idea. My team gave me a few samples and I still hated it. Finally, mid 2019 they tried something they knew would stay on your skin and give you beautiful luminosity. They also told me it had an amazing ingredient in it, red bell pepper, which intrigued me. It is packed with vitamin C and betacarotene and works as an antioxidant. It helps protect against blue light.”
“We were like: let’s borrow the beautiful luminosity of Honey Balm and have the long lastingness of Faux Filter and so GloWish was born. We borrowed the Glow from the complexion side of Huda Beauty, glow stands for beautiful skin. And we took the Wish from Wishful. That’s where the name came from. We now use it as an adjective in the office: ooh you look so glowish today. (laughs)”
Blame it on the pandemic
“The idea of make-up and skincare hybrids is not new but to us it is. We became obsessed with it during the pandemic. I think we were one of the first beauty brands that decided to not work from the offices anymore. So I went to the office to grab my stash of GloWish and my stash of make-up and I ended up only using GloWish at home. Because I wanted the benefits it offers. I wanted to put it on before my Zoom or Teams calls. One, because it protects skin. Two, because of the glow it gives. People said my skin looked amazing. But it was GloWish, not me.”
“I love doing the full glam (make-up) but it’s a lot. Sometimes I feel like I am putting on too much and I just want to let my skin breathe. I want to look good, I want to look glam, I want to look sexy but I don’t want to put too much on my skin. For me personally, it’s been a nice experience.”
“In the beginning I was not interested in it (tinted moisturizer). In 2019 I became enthusiastic about it. During the pandemic I was passionate about it. I remember going out one day and I was wearing it under my mask. And it was still on when I took the mask off. We tested it to see if it is transfer-proof. It transfers a little bit because of the mica when it warms up on your face but it is still there when you take the mask off. You don’t have lines of demarquation of whatever you are putting on your face. I can trust that my make-up is on, which is really nice. The formula is waterproof and has 12-hour wear.”
“If it didn’t have the staying power, I don’t think we were going to launch it. You guys are all so busy, you are working people. The last thing you want is to put on your make-up and notice at lunch it does not look good anymore. The polymers give Multidew its staying power.”
Does it survive Dubai weather?
“Being in Dubai gives certain challenges for complexion products: everything moves here. Some of our people in the team have oily skin. We don’t even have to send them out to go and do Bikram yoga. We just send them outside in summer to check whether their make-up is still on when they get to the parking lot. That was one of the problems I personally have with tinted moisturizers: I would put one on in the morning and around noon I would see that it was all over the place.”
Make-up without SPF
“SPF will sometimes interact with the staying power of tinted moisturizer. We did not add SPF. I personally do not love SPF in make-up. I am a big fan of spraying or adding on my SPF continuously throughout the day. With the intensity of the sun in Dubai you really need to protect your skin. I wear a visor all the time. (laughs)”
“I hope the reason why we wear make-up changes due to the pandemic. For the longest time I was probably applying make-up for other people. Full transparency: I was applying it for my public image, for the outer world. What was really interesting during Covid was that we kind of had to make the effort to apply make-up and we had to kind of fall in love with the reason why we wanted to wear it. I went from one extreme – applying full-on cake face – to applying no make-up at all. And feeling really empowered: I am not wearing any make-up! But I did not feel good about myself. Because I also want to wear make-up.”
“I hope the reasoning behind glamming changes, I hope people start to really do it for themselves. And I think they will fall in love with the make-up and themselves so much more.”
“I hope that people will fall a little bit more in love with the reason why they do things. I think we now think differently about the way we spend our time, the reason why we glam, the reason why we spend and buy products. I do not think we should be doing some of the same things we were doing before (Covid). I asked my team to remove 40% of our launches this year and next year, too. I am obsessed with all of our products. But if I am not even more obsessed with a product, we are not launching it. Because why do it? I do think there has to be more purpose. Behind everything. I see you guys nodding: that needs to happen right now. We have the choice of where we put our time and effort and it has to be more purposeful. I think we well get into a cooler place because of that, too. The make-up will be so much more beautiful. It will not be about what the world wants us to look like but about what we want ourselves to look like. Which is so much cooler.”
The GloWish campaign images have not been Photoshopped, something Kattan is proud of. “Personally, to me I felt like it (overediting and photoshopping images) was messing me up. Like here we are: we are overediting our images, we’re putting so much make-up on and then we are doing so much fillers and botox because nothing is ever enough. And then we Photoshop even more! I was like: wait a second, when is the cycle going to end? I see so many influencers and they are so beautiful but then you can see it’s too much with some of them. I was there. I had too much filler. I spent almost the whole of 2019 seeing a doctor once a month to dissolve filler. That is so painful. Maybe some of you guys have seen some videos where I looked very interesting.”
“I have a daughter. She gives me so much passion in what we do. I definitely want to see less Photoshop happening for sure. We did not Photoshop any of the images of Glowish. I feel good about that. No Photoshopping the bodies, the make-up or the skin.”
“I want to shade match every single foundation colour that comes out. We test so many skin tones to make sure we are as inclusive as possible. But we also want to make it easier for people to shop online and find their shade. It’s not about having the highest amount of colours to have a PR-moment. Let’s keep it real and let’s keep it easy for people: do we have too many options? How many shades are really needed? I am not into the sexy number strategy. MultiDew comes in 13 shades and that is enough. They are super spreadable. They have a lot of flexibility within the shade range. I can fit between 2 to 3 shades. The bronzer comes in 5 shades.”
It’s all about passion
“When we do products, there has to be genuine passion behind it. It truly is a personal brand. It is a personal journey through beauty with a lot of fun stuff but also not so fun stuff. There has to be passion behind the products we do.”
“Retailers have told us so many times to go and do haircare because that is where all the money is at. I am like: I hate my hair, we’re not doing haircare. I am nowhere near cracking the code of my hair. Maybe one day, when we figure out how to fall in love with hair we might do haircare but not right now.”
*For those of you who do not know who Huda Kattan is: the American make-up artist is one of the biggest beauty influencers of the world and the highest-paid one according to Cosmetify’s recent ranking. She first became an influencer and then launched her own make-up brand, Huda Beauty. Then came Wishful, the skincare range, and the fragrances of Kayali. She works and lives in Dubai.
GloWish Multidew Skin Tint (37 €) and GloWish Soft Radiance Bronzing Powder (31 €) are available at Ici Paris XL.