How to Build and Empire: A Look at the Huda Kattan Process

How to Build A Beauty Empire Like Huda Kattan


I think I may have been living under a rock for the past few years. It seems as though everyone but me has taken notice of the Iraqi makeup artist, influencer, and beauty brand owner,  Huda Kattan. Huda was named number one on the 2017 Instagram Influencer Rich List and she was also listed as one of TIME Magazine’s most influential people. Upon discovering this information I really began  questioning Huda’s impact on the beauty industry and how someone with a basic skill and some social media knowledge could replicate her branding strategy. All signs pointed to the foundation of Huda’s successful brand, Huda Beauty, a brand that she built from the ground up and continues to work with to ensure its authenticity and relevance in the beauty space. Keep reading to see what you can take away for Huda Kattan’s rise to success and how you can use her journey as a blueprint to jump start your own brand. 


Step One: Discover Your Interests


Before Huda Kattan was an international influencer she was a student. 


Huda was able to create her brand when she discovered her niche! Prior to her commitment to the craft of makeup artistry Huda thought the realm of makeup and beauty would be where her hobbies lied. She would obsess over beauty hacks like rubbing lemon on your knees to make them lighter and do make up for her sisters and friends. Her favorite area of beauty? Brow arching. Huda would love to arch the eyebrows of everyone around her with her $3 Tweezers. She loved the way the brow shaped the face, and how that look could change with a flick of the wrist! 


It wasn’t until she graduated and was laid off from her job in finance that Huda decided to move to one of the largest makeup capitals in the United States, Los Angeles, to take her passion for makeup to a professional level. Kattan chose to become a student of the Hollywood makeup industry, and chose to study at the Joe Blasco makeup school because Joe Blasco was a makeup pioneer. 


Joe Blasco was:

  • -The first make-up artist to create government-approved centers for professional make-up artist training.
  • -The first make-up artist chemist to refine and create make-up for low-light photography and high-resolution film and TV processes.
  • -The first professional make-up manufacturer to fully implement cruelty-free products. 


Kattan wanted to ensure that she learned from the best, so she took her time to research all of the makeup and beauty related programs that LA had to offer before making her decisions based on their credentials and the right fit her for. The fact that a pioneer like Joe Blasco was able to offer training to aspiring makeup artists aligned with her goals to create something bigger than a name as a celebrity makeup artist.


If you are interested in starting your own brand, whether it be in beauty, technology, or entertainment, but sure that you are seeking out the best training to hone your craft. Take your natural talent or hobby and refine it so that you can make it into a viable product or service.   


Step Two: Build the Foundation


Huda’s success comes from a lot of hard work. We know her current blog site to be the multi-faceted beauty based media company that it is today but she has come a long way.


She initially started communicating her beauty tips and tricks in 2004 via email blasts to friends and family. Although she was not too clear on the concept of blogging, her emails were essentially in blog format and would hold catchy blog post titles like: 


'Hey guys, these are the top trends to follow now.'


Years later, after finishing her studies in 2009 Huda decided to move with her husband to Dubai. This is where her timeline could become misleading and tricky to the average person just now following her brand in Instagram. 


Kattan moved to a place that is considered the pinnacle of success and innately beautiful. Her Iraqi ethnicity gives her a striking resemblance to that of a Kardashian and in this age of instant gratification and the illusion of social media it would been very easy for us to think that she took off running with Huda Beauty as soon as she made it to Dubai. We would be wrong. 


Huda was out of work for a couple of years before she landed a gig with Revlon as a makeup artist. Due to her openness about her struggles, Kattan says that she would keep busy and build her makeup portfolio by doing her friends makeup, going to beauty events, and blogging about the makeup sessions and events afterwards. Kattan had a cycle: 

-Wake up at 5 am, 

-Start doing makeup at 6a 

-Work at and Event until 4/5pm

 -Come home and blog about the entire day

She treated this cycle like a daily schedule for two months without any days off and gained a lot of unique visitors to her blog. Some of those visitors included brands that she was able to partner with to gain even more exposure.  



Do the work. Kattan worked on her brand every single day. Sometimes it is not feasible to work on your brand everyday without pay. We all have bills so that is understandable. However, this is no reason why you cannot contribute to your overall vision for an hour each day. Every hour that you put in can connect you with someone and or put your content in front of more people.  


Step Three: Create the Content


By the time Huda had began working with Revlon she mastered a routine that enable her to create multiple forms of content she was able to branch out. Facebook and Youtube were the first methods of social media she established a presence on. Taking all of the content that she gathered in one day we was able to repurpose and reformat a day’s work using longform video and engaging posts to build her following past her girlfriends and celebrity clients.  


Nevertheless, it wasn’t until Huda started on Instagram in 2012 that she really found the platform to would propel her to success.That very same year she reached her first 20,000 followers at lightning speed. She then utilized the app’s popular page to expose her to new followers around the world. Huda keeps her feed fresh by providing and creating photos and videos to show extraordinary beauty hacks like:

  • -The use of a bra insert to apply makeup
  • -The use of a banana peel to treat acne
  • -Dunking your fully made up face in ice cold water to create an airbrush effect


She also reposts the work of other makeup artists, create makeup tutorials, her favorite makeup and beauty products, and the new Huda Beauty products that are coming out in the near future.


These Huda Beauty products are also another leg of her content distribution because she was able to increase her initial IG following after introducing her product line! When she initially launched her Huda Beauty Lash Line in 2013 Kattan noted that her following would grow between 120,000 to 200,000 followers a week. Granted she would also loose 50,000 followers a week, but she would see growth in her following overall. We all know that the IG algorithm can be fickle, sometimes it seems like the more you post the more you lose followers. With that in mind and the rapture that seems to take place with the many bots disappearing and then reappearing on IG it is not wonder that the flux in numbers is so high. Yet, the product served as tangible content and physical advertising. This is especially true once she got her product into Sephora. Patrons of the store who may not have heard of Kattan could not buy her products and be introduced to Huda Beauty.


Take Away:

 Content is King. Enough said. 


Step Four: Form a Team


Huda’s family is her team. 


Through her journey to build this empire of 20 million IG followers, her sisters have served as product testers and people to bounce ideas off off. It is Huda’s older sister who initially sparked her interest in DIY beauty and makeup back when Huda was just a teenager. 


Later in life, Huda’s younger sister Mona Kattan who suggested that Huda being all those years ago, is now her business partner. She was also her first investor when began her lash line. Huda made it known to her sister that if they could not get their lashes into Sephora then she was not going to sell them. The sisters met with distributors to help create their handmade lashes and were met with resistance right away. The distributors tried to thwart the Kattan sisters hope of ever being featured in the aisles of the beauty giant, but they were wrong. Of course getting into a store like Sephora was no easy feat, but the lashes have outperformed expectations and enabled the other Huda Beauty products to be sold right along side of them.   


Huda’s older sister is also a part of the Huda Beauty brand as the social media manager. Funny enough, even though she is the one that introduced Huda to the beauty industry, she is the least interested in the beauty aspect of the business. 


The three sisters join together to form Huda beauty, but each sister also has their own lane and is free to have their own business outside of the chain.  


Not to be forgotten, Huda’s husband and father are also a part of the Huda Beauty company.



Find you a team that understands your overall goal and is willing to help you get there by any means. 

Step Five: Know the Trends

Kattan is a boss. She knows the beauty trends of the pass, has her pulse on the current beauty trends, and is able to predict what the next beauty consumer will want before they can articulate it.  

Honestly, a lot of this talent comes for research and experience. Kattan is familiar with a lot of classic beauty tips and tricks because she was trained by the best and worked in an industry that celebrates old Hollywood glam. She will even let you know that when she does break her routine to do makeup for a women in Dubai they are asking for the looks for Marilyn Monroe or old Hollywood actresses whose looks have been celebrated internationally.


Kattan is able to keep up with present trends in the market and deliver to her audience because one: she spends anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours a day surfing the net for beauty products to stay current in the field. This is research that she does on top of the reviews that she conducts for the hundreds of beauty products that are sent to her office. 


You can also tell that Huda is in step with the current trends by her product assortment. When the Kylie lip kit came out Huda has an answer with her lip contour pencil! A lip liner that you use to line your lips to give you a full natural pout. She has been open about having a lot of idea prior to other companies coming out with the actual products on the mainstream, and a big struggle for her to overcome her hesitation to pull the trigger. More recently she says she is over waiting! If she has an idea she is going to act on it.   


Huda’s beauty hacks are really what enables her to see what the consumer needs. Think about it, once you discover a DIY way to solve a problem you are only steps away from creating an actual product that can be purchased to solve the problem. Huda proved this to be true with her Tweezerman collab. She was able to help girls with awkwardly shaped eyebrows tools to help shape their unique arches. 


In the future Huda knows that she will need to distinguish herself from influencer based brands like ColorPOP and Kylie Cosmetics. She already has plans to innovate her palettes and focus on the product story ot grab her customers much like how she has grabbed her IG followers. 



Research and content creation can lead to the products of your viable product or service. Don’t be afraid to pull the trigger and trust the work you have put in to your brand in order to profit. If you miss the mark and some one else comes out with the idea first you will be back at square one!


Step Six: Stay True to Your Core


Huda has been able to stay true to her brand by limiting the amount of product reviews, sponsored posts, and advertising on her IG and social media channels. She continues to give her audience what they originally came to her for. 


This ties into her dedication to her brand. Huda did not build her brand to sell out or fold. Companies have approached her in hopes of purchasing her Huda Beauty brand and taking advantage of her 20 million dollar fan base, but Huda did not bring her family into this to quit now. She is big on ownership and giving back. In fact, she still refers to herself as a beauty blogger. She does this  because she really considers herself a blogger who cover products and showcases beauty hacks, and because she want to use a simple title to show other people that they can accomplish what she has. Another objective outside content creation and product distribution is her mission to build up other people just starting out in the beauty industry. Huda Beauty wants to discover up and coming makeup artists through her platform. 



Tie your brand to a higher cause that you can continue to honor well after you have hit a monetary platform.


These six steps were not the only things that aided Huda Kattan in creating her Huda Beauty empire. However, they are a great start! If you find your Interests, build a solid foundation around them, and then create content to draw people to you, you will be well on your way to expanding into something bigger. Kattan also displays the importance of forming a team around you whether it be composed of family of just qualified partners, staying abreast of trends, and following your brand’s ultimate mission. It is what has made her into the budding mogul that she is today and what will keep her on her path to owning an empire. Before you go start your empire be sure to comment on the key components of Huda’s story!