Mona and Huda Kattan are makeup moguls. As co-founders of Huda Beauty, the sisters have scaled their beauty brand to a billion-dollar valuation and continue to debut some of the most innovative cosmetics launches. But for Mona Kattan, fragrance has always held paramount importance in her beauty routine. As a child, she was enamored by the perfumes her mom wore. When she turned 14 and landed her first job, she began using part of her savings to purchase her own scents. Since then, Kattan has remained a passionate collector of fragrances (she hopes to build the world's most extensive perfume library).
However, the Huda Beauty co-founder's connection to perfume doesn't end there. In 2018, she launched her fragrance brand Kayali—which is Arabic for "my imagination." Kattan's Middle Eastern culture is the heart of the brand, influencing everything from the jewel-inspired packaging to the scents themselves. "If you go to a traditional Arabs house [in Dubai], they'll have their own tray of fragrances that they give you as a gesture of generosity when you first come into their house, when you leave, and even after you eat," Kattan explains. "It's a big thing, and it's seated into every single part of their day. Everything is celebrated with fragrance."
Over the last three years, the Dubai-based brand has released five unique fragrances. And today, Kattan is unveiling the newest addition to the Kayali family—Sweet Diamond Pink Pepper. As a fragrance connoisseur, Kattan's goal is to develop scents that instantly evoke emotions or memories when you spray them on. With Sweet Diamond Pink Pepper, Kattan wanted to capture the feelings of love and romance.
The idea for the sweet and spicy fragrance came to Kattan in 2018 after learning about the pink pepper ingredient. Since then, the fragrance has gone through 25 modifications (a process that is commemorated by the "25" etched on the bottle). For the final formula, Kattan and her team of perfumers tapped a combination of floral, woody, and peppery scents. For the top notes, bergamot, pink pepper, royal lily, and saffron were carefully blended. To add floral elements to the heart of the perfume, Kattan played with Bulgarian rose and rose centifolia. The selection of sandalwood, patchouli, sensual musk, and golden amber added a final touch of warmth to the scent's base notes.
"Sweet diamond, to me, is such an important juice," Kattan says of the formula. "I feel like it is celebrating love but also the feminine energy we all have. It's soft and hard. It's sweet and strong. It's sweet and spicy. There's a lot of contrast. I feel like it represents who we are as strong and soft women."
Not only is Sweet Diamond Pink Pepper one of Kayali's most dynamic scents, but it's also the brand's first intense fragrance. It contains a concentration of 25% oil, which allows it to deliver a long-lasting and powerful scent experience.
When it comes to wearing the brand's newest fragrance, Kattan recommends layering. In fact, the practice of blending perfumes is core to Kayali. "Layering is another big ritual here in the Middle East," she shares. "Everybody mixes their perfumes. It's very rare to meet people who only wear one scent or don't mix perfume oils." Kattan recommends pairing Sweet Diamond Pink Pepper with their Vanilla, Musk, or Déjà Vu White Flower fragrances.
Though Kattan is thrilled to share Sweet Diamond Pink Pepper with the world finally, she's also thinking about what's next. And 2021 is slated to be a big year for Kayali. "We're launching three fragrances, which is a very big deal," she says. "I'm so nervous, but I'm also so excited too because they're finally coming to life. I can't wait for people to smell them."