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Huda Kattan has shown how powerful a strong social media following can be in building a brand.

Dubai-based beauty blogger Huda Kattan has made a name for herself in the international beauty industry as a social media influencer with clout. From modest beginnings as a make-up artist and beauty blogger, Kattan, along with her sisters Mona and Alya, has turned her love of make-up into a budding international beauty brand.

Kattan claims to have the number-one beauty blog in the Middle East. At last count, Kattan had 14.7 million followers on Instagram. Videos posted to her YouTube channel regularly garner more than half a million viewers, but her popularity goes well beyond the region, which has sparked interest for her products from elsewhere. Her beauty brand HudaBeauty launched in 2013 with a line of fake eyelashes and is distributed in Sephora Middle East; it has since expanded to include lip liners and liquid lipsticks and is now distributed beyond the region.

Born in the US to Iraqi parents, Kattan started out in finance before relocating to Dubai, where she worked as a make-up artist for Revlon and began blogging about make-up and beauty on the side. Kattan has not only surfed the contouring wave made popular by the Kardashians, but has influenced it. Her blog and Instagram posts are an ever-changing mix of reposts from other make-up artists, and ‘how-to’ make-up tips. In the fast-moving world of social media, Kattan has charmed her fans with her self-deprecating sense of humor and willingness to try new things. She regularly posts images of herself without make-up and has been candid about having had plastic surgery. “It’s important for people to take it lightly and not feel pressured by it,” Kattan told PopSugar blog in June. “I constantly post pictures on my Snapchat with no make-up so that people also know [make-up looks are] transformations and how they happen. They’re beautiful, but they shouldn’t define you. You shouldn’t feel terrible without them.”

Lazy Sunday

A post shared by Huda Kattan (@hudabeauty) on

Brand Expansion

As prolific as ever on social media, Kattan is turning more of her attention to expanding her beauty brand, which is now rolling out in Europe, with main markets there being and France and the UK. She says that the key to the brand is coming out with new ideas and putting them on the market quickly, and of course her strong presence in social media and close connection with consumers.

Forecasting that lip contouring would be a major beauty trend for 2016, HudaBeauty released a range of Lip Contour liners earlier in the year, which were followed by a collection of Liquid Matte lipsticks released in July. She has hinted that a third lip product will be launched before the end of the year. The growth and success of the line is an example of the power of social media in creating brands and shows how a new generation of entrepreneurs  with digital prowess (such as Jamie Kern Lima, founder of color brand IT Cosmetics, which has just been acquired by French group L’Oréal) is changing the rules of today’s beauty market.

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