A cloud of scent envelops us over breakfast with Mona Kattan, on a roof terrace overlooking the Arabian Gulf. Kayali Déjà Vu White Flower 57 is the fifth fragrance dreamt up by Mona Kattan, and we ’re sure the Global President and Co-Founder of Huda Beauty won ’t mind us observing that this is her most personal creation to-date.

The elusive new scent – which has already sold out at The Dubai Mall, City Centre Deira and online at Sephora – is infused with top notes of green pear, white nectarine, and lush gardenia; opening into a heart of Indian jasmine absolute, orange flower, and tuberose; and leaves you with lingering crystallised patchouli, cashmere woods, Sri Lankan sandalwood, and Tahitian vanilla, with all raw ingredients being sustainably sourced.

As well as her respect for the environment, the story of Kayali Déjà Vu – with which Mona invites her followers to discover #everylayerofme – reveals her spiritual side, and opens up a new personal development dimension that she ’s ready to explore in a deeper way. In an astonishingly honest conversation, Grazia joins her on a voyage of self-discovery…

How important is self-love in the beauty industry?

We’re finally realising that it’s more important than we thought it was. We’ve just touched the surface of self-love and we’re all going deeper in finding out how much it’s going to make you not only appear more beautiful, but make you feel more beautiful. When you love yourself, you’re able to give love to other people, and that’s the true beauty of life. I just feel like when you really feel loved, you’re a much more beautiful person, even if you don’t look like the industry standards of beauty.

Showing your vulnerability has played an important part in the success of Huda Beauty. How did you find the courage to be so authentic?

Because we started out as a blog, it was about keeping it real, showing our imperfections and our challenges, sharing them with our followers, having them talk about theirs and building a community. It always just remained very authentic to our problems and our followers’ problems, so, for us, that’s how Huda Beauty was born. We’ve kept that DNA very strong and we never even thought to not do it that way. It started being a community source, and evolved that way. I think now the whole world is catching up, and social media has played a huge part in that for everyone.

Mona Kattan at the terrace cinema Caesars Palace Dubai Bluewaters Island Jebel Ali Dubai United Arab Emirates

What drives you to continue to take risks in this way?

To be bold, to be authentic, to be real is what really satisfies our soul. I feel like that drives us. If we had to fake it, it just wouldn’t feel right anymore. And I think we always trusted our gut, and it’s really to create a huge impact in the industry, and help everybody change the way they speak to consumers and the way they speak to people, because we all need to celebrate every part of ourselves, whether it’s perceived as beautiful or not, and it needs to change. The desire to continue making an impact drives the courage.

You start your day by meditating and counting your blessings. Tell us more about your self-love rituals?

I’ve been meditating for a long time, and I try to pray five times a day. Thinking about all the things you have to be grateful for attracts more amazing things into your life and I know for myself, personally, every time I do this, my life is always on track, and every time I stop, somehow everything just goes haywire, so I really do believe in the law of attraction. I also think beauty and perfume are a big part of self-love. For me, putting on my fragrance during the day feels like self-love, and I even wear it to bed. That’s a self-love ritual for me because it makes me feel good when I go to sleep. It makes me feel as if I’ve invested in myself.

Kayali Déjà Vu White Flower 57

Will we be seeing more of your spiritual side?

It’s so important, and it’s also very important that I encourage other people to do that, too, because I think that’s how we spread world peace. If you make other people love themselves more and work on themselves more and just find more peace, it’s just a domino effect and it’s so contagious, so it’s definitely something that I’m going to work really hard on for 2020. I’m starting my YouTube channel; I’ll be covering beauty, but a huge part will also be mental health and personal development, so that’s something I’m really excited about. But I am exploring something special for Kayali as well, which is really innovative and interesting. So for 2021, it’ll be really fun.

The new Kayali Déjà Vu White Flower transports you back to your most treasured memories and makes you dream of the future. What are your most treasured memories and dreams for the future?

My most treasured memories are super-simple. It’s my family having yummy food, eating and just spending time together having a barbecue and sitting in the sunshine, with good music on. Jasmine just really reminds me of my youth. My parents both love jasmine, it was always around, whether it was just like a bottle of fragrance that my mum had, or even jasmine flowers. So that, to me, is just very cocooning and safe – just gives me really good memories of happiness, so that’s why we used a lot of jasmine in Déjà Vu. It just makes me feel happy, and for the future I just want to make a bigger impact and continue using my voice and using whatever power I have in this world to help other people to love themselves more and develop themselves more and just spread more love.

Tell us how you’ve worked to make Kayali Déjà Vu more sustainable?

I really care about the environment, it’s something that I’ve been passionate about forever and it really keeps me up at night. The beauty industry is very polluting and it’s something that we need to change. So, for me, working with Firmenich was a huge, huge part of developing Kayali. Firmenich works with all the different fields it sources raw ingredients from on sustainability programmes, so they’re being replanted and offers a sustainable value for the commodity. Firmenich also develops the local economies, helps build schools and hospitals, and is just very conscious as a company. They’re also one of the only family-owned fragrance houses, so I just think that they really are putting a lot more thought into everything that they do. It’s very similar to our ethos at Huda Beauty, so their partnership has been incredible and I’m very grateful that they have a similar mindset.

You have a multibillion-dollar beauty business, the first Facebook TV show, and a fragrance empire. Where do you think the Huda Beauty adventure will take you next?

For Huda Beauty, we’re launching skincare this year, which is super exciting and it’s going be on the seventh anniversary of the launch of Huda Beauty, so we’re super pumped. That’s been Huda’s passion project for years, she’s obsessed with skincare, so that’s something very important for the company. For myself, personally, my next big chapter will just be working on more meaningful content like sharing my experience with self-development and mental health. I’m person who has, like, a helper’s high – when I help people it just gives me a rush, so I just want to do more of that.

Watch our conversation with Mona below (and make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more exclusives):

Kayali Déjà Vu White Flower 57 is Dhs357 for 50ml at shophudabeauty.com

Photos: Fritz John Asuro and supplied