Inspired by the rich fragrance-layering heritage of the Middle East, KAYALI is Mona Kattan’s invitation to reflect your unique personality and celebrate the infinite possibilities, memories and moods made reality by wearing beautiful perfumes…
Huda Beauty have been wowing the world for over a decade, building an empire that went from a humble beauty blog to a blockbusting makeup and beauty business. But one look at the Kattan sisters’ social media accounts (from Instagram to SnapChat) has always shown their overwhelming passion for perfume, too – ‘shelfies’ and sneaky peeks regularly sharing with the world their extensive fragrance collections.
Mona Kattan believes that ‘scent is our most transformative part of our beauty routine. It has the power to completely change how we feel.’ American-born to Iraqi immigrants, the sisters’ now live and run their businesses from Dubai, embracing diversity and often opening up about the difficulties and bullying they faced in childhood. Fragrance as an invisible cloak of protection and a way of asserting yourself is a message we can surely all get behind.
Translating from the Arabic for ‘my imagination’, the launch of KAYALI – Huda Beauty’s standalone fragrant off-shoot – has been a labour of love for Mona. Co-founding the fragrance house with sister Huda, it was clear from the get-go that Mona wanted this to be a hands-on experience at every level, and so she rolled up her (designer) sleeves.
She immersed herself deeper in the scent world, collaborating with (and learning from) the experts at Firmenich and determining that the focus should be on allowing people to express their true characters through fragrance – no matter who they want to be that day. We have so many moods, after all, so why should one scent define us completely? ‘Bespoke beauty is something we’re very passionate about,’ Mona enthusiastically explains, ‘and KAYALI is all about discovering your own unique fragrance. A fragrance for every layer of you.’
Layering is the key word, here: not to be tied down to that old-fashioned concept of finding a ‘signature scent’ created by someone else that would, somehow, completely express every side of your personality and every occasion. Because really, how can one perfume be exactly right for the day you’re dashing to the supermarket after work, or dancing the night away in a ballgown of dreams? ‘I don’t like rules; I think you should just go with what you’re feeling’ says Mona.
Of course, the fragrances don’t have to layered – that would be far too preach-y. So perhaps on some days you’ll simply plump for one particular scent to match your mood. Take CITRUS | 08, for example – a fresh burst of exuberance, for sure, but one that subverts expectations. The citrus zing also tingles with rhubarb and pink pepper, laced through with blackcurrant and a duo or roses, with oakmoss adding a verdant, forest-y sophistication.
Fragrance writer Viola Levy certainly finds herself reaching for a particular perfume on days she needs a little va-va-voom: ‘I’ve taken to misting a bit of KAYALI VANILLA | 28 through my strands, as it adds a little something extra to my “90s music video” hair swoosh while I wait for the bus,’ she once revealed to us, when asked which scent made Viola feel truly sexy. Radiating jasmine and vanilla orchid atop a warm, woody base, there’s a touch of Brazillian tonka bean’s toasted nuttiness and a sprinkling of brown sugar, here – utterly addictive yet sublimely soothing.
In the spirit of adventure KAYALI encourages, we tried layering that with ELIXIR | 11 – notes of ripe, red apple and the fresh, dewy fruitiness of rose de mai absolute rippling like ribbons across more jasmine and a patchouli-rich dry down. The vanilla and musk seem to marry with the florals on the skin – it doesn’t feel like wearing two fragrances, more a scented symphony on the skin as they warm together. But more is more, for us, so why stop there…?
MUSK | 12 adds a cloud of lotus flower and freesia floating on a breeze of sheer jasmine and creamy sandalwood. It swathes you in air-whipped smoothness, while thrumming with echoes of the other scents all day. We later discover this trio’s one of Mona’s favourite combinations, and no wonder.
Fragrances are supposed to be fun, and that’s where KAYALI also excel – each perfume is characterful without domineering or shouting down the others, so they truly work together to transform how you’re feeling, to accessorise your soul with scent and personalise your perfume wardrobe. So if you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by choice, and perhaps are not exactly sure what you want – just how you want to feel in this moment – explore your infinite possibilities and evolve your own fragrant mood with this heartfelt, ever-growing and beautifully expressed scent collection.