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Huda Beauty's New Fragrance Line Merges Middle Eastern Tradition With Instagrammability

The new brand is inspired by the Middle Eastern custom of layering fragrances

With successful product launch after successful product launch, Huda Beauty is heading into the next frontier — fragrances.

Huda Kattan is launching the new brand, Kayali, with her sisters (and Huda Beauty co-founders). She will serve as CEO, Mona Kattan will be president and Alya Kattan will serve as chief Instagram officer.

Huda wasn't immediately sold on the concept, since the business of selling perfume is so fundamentally different than the business of selling makeup, especially for someone who rose to prominence as an influencer. "I was adamant about not doing a fragrance because I do not understand how you sell fragrance," said Huda Kattan to WWD. "I know how to sell makeup — I put a lipstick on, I do a nice look, I take a selfie — I can sell lipstick."

It came down to fragrance enthusiast Mona to convince her. And it was Mona's idea to draw from Middle Eastern tradition that grabbed her attention (even the name "Kayali" translates to "my imagination" in Arabic). In Middle Eastern culture, it's customary to layer scents — and with that, Huda found her "in" on how to sell fragrances; her new marketing strategy for her new brand. She explained that she quickly fell in love with layering and couldn't stop. "And I was like, 'OK, Mona, you know what? We're going to turn this into a lifestyle,'" she recounted to WWD. Even the bottles, with their classic octagonal shape, are inspired by Middle Eastern culture.

If layering fragrances sounds like a challenge to you, you're not alone — Huda herself says "it was stinky" the first time she layered. But that's also part of what makes Kayali exciting: "We wanted to make something really easy," Huda said. "We're going to have cocktails and recommendations."

The brand is starting out with four different fragrances: The Elixir, Citrus, Musk and Vanilla — and as one Instagram post from the brand points out, "Four scents. A hundred notes. A million moods." Each 100 mL bottle will retail for $118 and the brand will be available starting November 16 where Huda Beauty is sold, including Sephora, Cult Beauty, Harrods and Selfridges.

The fragrance market (as with the beauty market in general) can seem oversaturated at times. But color us intrigued by Kayali — and the years it's spent in development and the centuries of culture it's inspired by.

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