How beauty mogul Huda Kattan is tapping into the multibillion-dollar skincare space

Key Points
  • Huda Kattan's Wishful skincare line is the third brand under her billion-dollar beauty umbrella.
  • According to market researcher The NPD Group, the skincare category brought in nearly $6 billion in sales for 2019.
  • Huda's namesake Huda Beauty line was one of the top 10 globally searched beauty brands in 2019.
Huda Beauty Founder & CEO Huda Kattan
Source: Wishful

Makeup mogul Huda Kattan will add a highly anticipated skincare line, Wishful, to her billion-dollar beauty business, as more women are now swapping cosmetics for clean natural-looking skin.

The Dubai-based beauty blogger and entrepreneur said "YoGlow Enzyme Scrub" will be the first of three products set to roll out this year and will retail at $39 a bottle.

"We started working on skincare a little bit after we launched color cosmetics [in 2013]," Kattan said in an interview. "We just wanted to show real skin, so we decided to launch a separate collection and to build a whole brand around it."

Kattan's entrance into skincare comes as women of all ages prioritize wellness and a more natural look over the glitz and glam of heavier makeup. According to market research company the NPD Group, the skincare category brought in nearly $6 billion in sales for 2019, up 5% from 2018.

The embrace of health awareness and the growing appeal of a natural, blemish-free look have also made products like exfoliants and moisturizers top-performing categories. NPD's findings also reveal that nearly a quarter of women in the U.S. are using less makeup than they used to.

"They have conditions and they need help with it, they just want better skin," Kattan said. "I've actually been going through this change where even I'm wearing a little bit less makeup."

However, the beauty guru is also hoping to help shatter stigmas surrounding gender within the self-care market, with plans to feature both men and women as part of the Wishful campaign.

Kattan, an early pioneer in the influencer and beauty blogging space, has become a powerful thought leader and cult-favorite in the beauty industry. Her namesake Huda Beauty line was one of the top 10 most globally searched cosmetics companies in 2019 and has amassed more than 41 million followers on Instagram — the highest amount for any beauty brand on the social media app.

Kattan has openly talked about her own skin issues with her followers throughout the years and expressed that she felt unable to go around without the "shield" of makeup. To create a product that she felt was both natural and effective Kattan sought out experts in South Korea — home of the mega K-beauty industry — to create the formula for her latest enzyme scrub, which features papaya and pineapple extracts and hydroxy acids.

The debut product is available for limited release on her main Huda Beauty site and online retailers. After Feb. 28, it will be available 2,100 stores globally, including Sephora stores within J.C.Penney in North America and London department store Harrods.

"Influencer-run [direct-to-consumer] brands — like Huda Beauty, Kylie Cosmetics, Jeffree Star Cosmetics, and KKW Beauty — are set up for success at their conception," said influencer data company Tribe Dynamics in a statement. "Thanks to the influencers' pre-existing communities of passionate followers, who often become the brands' most ardent supporters.

Back in 2017, private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners — whose previous investments include other indie beauty brands such as It Cosmetics and Smashbox — took a minority stake in Huda Beauty. The investment was used, in part, to help fund Huda Beauty Angels a seed-stage investment fund for young entrepreneurs.

While Kattan declined to mention specific sales numbers for her legacy beauty line, Forbes puts Huda Beauty's annual sales at around $200 million and Kattan's personal net worth at more than $600 million. Despite the brand's success, a broader slowdown in the key color cosmetics category of late has weighed on industry giants like Ulta, Estee Lauder, and E.L.F.

Yet Kattan believes that while the cyclical shift to a more natural look is impacting the space, it's really the surge of smaller competitors that have leveled the playing field.

"I think that the world changes so quickly because of technology and social," said Kattan. "So I do see an opportunity where, Huda Beauty could build a very strong ecosystem, you know, beyond just the existing lineup of brands."