There's arguably no brand that better exemplifies the intersection between the social media and beauty worlds than Huda Beauty. What first started as makeup artist Huda Kattan's beauty blog back in 2010 has transformed into a veritable beauty—and social media—juggernaut over the past decade. It's now one of the world's fastest-growing beauty brands, with over 50 million instagram followers at last count. The makeup artist-turned-blogger-turned-successful entrepreneur creates makeup for girls who love makeup and love playing with it—think high-quality false lashes, richly pigmented eyeshadow palettes, and complexion products that mimic the effects of your favorite filter. (It's also worth noting that Kattan continues to expand her reign, and recently launched separate fragrance and skincare lines.) In a world where no-makeup makeup is so popular, we appreciate that Huda Beauty continues to embrace maximalism and the outlet of wearing makeup, using it to express yourself—both on social and IRL—and offering all of the above via products that boast high-end formulas and textures, with one launch impressing us more than the next.
Founded: Huda Kattan, 2013
Based In: Dubai
Best Known For: Bold, vibrant, dramatic makeup
Most Popular Product: False lashes
Fun Fact: Kattan actually owns National Lipstick Day, July 29. She says she bought the rights to the holiday in 2016 to mark the launch of the brand's Liquid Matte Lipstick—talk about a boss move.
"I didn't wake up one day and think, I want to start a beauty empire, " says Kattan, when asked what inspired her to start Huda Beauty. "I was focusing on my blog content and my audience continued to grow, taking my advice and requesting more. At one point, I was unhappy with the false lashes on the market so I created my own in my basement and showcased them on my pages. My audience wanted them, the requests grew and grew, and it really just took off," she says. While that initial launch was back in 2013, all of the (many) products since then have followed a similar trajectory—a result of consumer demand. "We've continued to create products that our beauty-obsessed social community needs and wants and the company has grown as a result of that," Kattan explains.
Speaking of a social community, the connection between Huda Beauty and social media can't be underscored enough. Along with her over 50 million Instagram followers, there's also a YouTube channel with over 4 million subscribers. It makes sense that the brand's growth coincided with the social media boom; the Huda Beauty target consumer is not only beauty-obsessed but also social media savvy, Kattan tells us. She adds that fostering this community and giving them what they need—not only as it pertains to products, but beauty advice, too—is at the core of the brand, with the ultimate goal of helping everyone feel empowered, confident, and joyful, all while sharing a love of makeup.
Read on to learn more about our favorite Huda Beauty products and links to our full reviews.
The product that started it all, these faux lashes were Huda Beauty's first product. (Originally launched only at Sephora in the Dubai Mall in 2013, they sold out in a matter of days, according to the brand.) Despite the OG status, they remain one of the brand's best-sellers for good reason. Hand-designed by Kattan herself and made from a cruelty-free combo of natural and synthetic fibers, these are hands-down some of the highest-quality falsies we've ever seen. There's an impressive array of 11 different styles, ranging from full and fluttery to dramatic and spiky, though you can't go wrong with the Giselle. Former Byrdie UK editorial director Amy Lawrenson loved the subtly voluminous style, raving about how many compliments they garnered and how easy they were to apply.
#FauxFilter Luminous Matte Foundation
It's no surprise that the brand's first foray into the complexion space was a foundation formulated to act as real-life IG filter, thanks to blurring pigments that somehow manage to make prominent pores, spots, and blemishes disappear and a matte-yet-velvety finish. It's a foundation for those who really love foundation, boasting legitimately full-on coverage. And since it is on the thicker side, it also has impressive staying power (AKA you'll need to use makeup remover to take it off once you're ready to do so). We're also impressed by the shade range, a line-up of more than 30 shades that exceeds what many other foundations offer.
Learn more about what we think of this base.
3D Cream and Powder Highlighter Palette
One of Kattan's best-known beauty blogger hacks is to layer highlighter on top of a facial oil for an extra-glowy effect; it's this tip that inspired her to include different formulas in her highlighter palette. Each of the quads (there are five variants available) features one shade that has a creamy, karite butter base, meant to be layered underneath any or all of the three other powder shades to up the glow factor. Still, that cream color works great on its own (and we even like using it on lids). Textures aside, all of the shades are beautiful solo and/or mixed and matched. We're especially partial to the "Golden Sands" palette, which has two tones that work perfectly as blush and bronzer, too.
Power Bullet Matte Lipstick
It took two years to create this lipstick—time well-spent in our opinion. The end result is an intensely (and we mean intensely) pigmented formula that delivers complete and full color payoff in just one swipe. Byrdie Senior Editorial Director (and matte lipstick lover) Hallie Gould took it for a test spin when it first launched and it instantly earned a spot in her makeup bag. She loves the unbelievably silky-smooth formula: "It's comfortable and not drying at all, the classic downfall of a matte lipstick." And while it works great straight from the bullet, you can also try dabbing it on with your fingertips for more of a stain-like effect, and/or layered over lip balm to sheer out the color a bit.
Legit Lashes Double-Ended Mascara
Despite the fact that Huda Beauty started with faux lashes, it took seven years for the brand to launch their first mascara; this newbie finally hit shelves in 2020. It was something customers were clearly craving, as it drew an incredibly large wait line. True to the name, it combines two different formulas and brushes to fulfill all of your lash wants and needs. The volumizing side boasts short fibers and a thick brush to impart fluttery fullness, while the curl and length side combines longer fibers with grippy waxes plus a skinny comb to lift and lengthen. Each works great on its own, but our favorite part is that you can layer both to reap all three of the fringe-enhancing benefits... without any clumping whatsoever.
Mercury Retrograde Eyeshadow Palette
Huda Beauty does eyeshadow palettes especially well, both when it comes to the colors offered and their beautifully silky textures. This one in particular is a team Byrdie favorite, a go-to for former Editorial Director Faith Xue, who loves that the 18 shades are wearable for day and night, and include some unexpected options (turquoise, pale green) for a fun pop when you're feeing playful. To that point, there's a mix of different finishes—neutral mattes, full-on glitters, and unique multi-reflective tones, like Nebula, a glittery silver-violet that, "looks amazing tapped on top of any dark shadow," says Xue.
Learn more about the palette here.
Easy Bake Loose Baking & Setting Powder
Kattan is a big fan of baking makeup as a final finishing step and once told Byrdie that this powder (another of the brand's best-sellers) is her secret to ensuring her makeup stays put for 12 hours at a time. It comes in eight shades—seven more skin-toned hues plus a translucent option we like for fair skin, thanks to its subtle neutral undertones that deliver a brightening effect. They're all extremely finely-milled and sheer so that you don't have to worry about a chalky finish. There's also a convenient, net-like top that ensures you never end up with too much powder. And if you don't want to use it for full-on baking, it also works great as a simple and straightforward setting powder, too.
The New Nude Eyeshadow Palette
This easily earns our vote for one of the best eyeshadow palettes of all time. (And apparently we're not the only ones who think so; it sold out almost immediately when it first launched in 2018.) It's a top pick for those who love nude shadows, for sure, but even those who prefer to experiment with more dramatic eye looks will appreciate the 18 offerings. There are the more traditional matte hues, boasting a buttery, coconut-oil infused base, but then things get more interesting. We're talking four reflective tones with multidimensional flecks that make for a gemstone-esque finish, two intense glitters, and a concealer shade that can be layered either under or over any of the other tones for extra pop. Trust us, it's totally unlike any other nude palette out there.
Learn more about what we like about this palette.
The Overachiever Concealer
Following in the footsteps of the #FauxFilter Foundation, this concealer also packs some serious coverage; credit a formula made of 31% pure pigments that completely camouflages everything you want camouflaged, according to the brand. It too is long-lasting and budget-proof, and while it can be used anywhere on your complexion, we especially like it for the under-eye area. Not only are there skincare ingredients in the mix for moisturizing and protective benefits, but there's also a metal tip—the kind we've only seen in eye creams previously—that makes it feel extra cooling and soothing as you apply it.