Beauty Detail

Mona Kattan’s Brilliant Hack For Making Perfume Last All Day

The entrepreneur shares her skin care essentials and beauty routine.

Mona Kattan's skin care, beauty, and fragrance routine.
Rachel Murray/Getty Images
Beauty Detail

In Bustle’s Beauty Detail, we dive into the beauty bags of our favorite talents for intel on the rituals that keep them glowing and the MVPs (most valuable products) they can't live without. Here, Mona Kattan tells Bustle about her lifelong obsession with perfume, her pared-back skin care routine, and more.

Beauty entrepreneur Mona Kattan has been obsessing over perfumes since she was 14 years old. “Everything I saved from my job [as a teen] went to fragrances,” she says, laughing. “I would always want to buy a new perfume — I think it’s because I’m more of an emotional person, and fragrance instantly makes me feel happy or energized or relaxed.” That lifelong devotion has culminated in the recent creation of her own fragrance brand, Kayali.

Working on the perfume brand is enough to keep her busy, but Kattan also publishes beauty-related content for her YouTube channel, which has more than 67,800 subscribers, and is the president of her sister’s Huda Beauty line of cosmetics. Despite all that insider intel and access, however, her own beauty routine remains relatively low-key.

“To be honest, I’m more on the basic side when it comes to skin care and makeup,” she tells Bustle. But Kattan does enjoy playing around with pigments and experimental looks: “I do love makeup — it’s color and it’s creative. But on the daily I probably am basic and I’m okay with that.” Although her sister prods her to get more dramatic with makeup, Kattan says she reserves that attitude for her fragrances.

“My approach to perfume is more is more,” she says, laughing. While fragrance obviously brings a sensory boost and pleasantly scented aura, Kattan says its power is so much more than that. “It’s not just to make you look good or smell good for other people,” she says. “It’s something very personal that captures your memories. I believe every new fragrance is like a bookmark in your life.”

Kattan adds that fragrance also has special meaning in her Arab roots. “I think fragrance has a lot to do with the generosity in Arab culture,” she says. “You want to leave a place nicer than you left it.” Leaving behind an ethereal scent does just that.

To keep her fragrance game strong throughout the day, Kattan has the type of routine most people reserve for their skin or makeup. She starts by moisturizing her body so that her skin is better able to absorb scent. If she really wants to amp things up, she’ll swap in a fragranced lotion in place of a fragrance-free one. Then Kattan sprays her hair with a mist before layering on however many fragrances her mood calls for. Her tip for doing this properly, BTW: “Start with the heavier notes first — so if something is woody or has Oudh, start with that,” she says. “You top with the more citrus-y and fresh fragrances because their molecular sizes are so small.”

Otherwise, Kattan admits she’s “not that advanced” with the rest of her routine. “I do the basics and I do them religiously, but I’m not someone who’s going to go try every single product that’s launched,” she says. If she does venture out to try a new elixir, it’s at the recommendation of her sister.

Read on for Kattan’s beauty essentials, below.

Her Daily Lip Balm

“I’m a big lip balm girl — I can’t live without it. I love the Laneige sleeping mask — I use it as a balm every day throughout the day. It keeps your lips moist for a good amount of hours.”

Her Must-Have Hair Product

“I love the Briogeo brand. It’s my go-to — especially the charcoal scalp scrub, it’s divine. It has really transformed my scalp sensitivity.”

Her Go-To For Healthy Nails

“During the beginning of COVID and the lockdown, I came to a point where I chopped off my nails and was just buffing them because I can’t really do them that well myself. So I just let them breathe and become stronger again. I use the Sally Hansen nail hardener for that — it’s super simple, but it’s been my go-to forever and I feel like it works.”

Her Daily Fragrance

“I like to spray Invite Only Amber on my pulse points for a lingering diffusion. Or if I want a more powerful scent trail, I spritz it on my clothes just before I head out the door. It’s so humid in Dubai, so I also love to spritz it on places where I really sweat, like the back of my neck or the back of my knees. I even spray my hair towel before drying, or directly onto my hairbrush as I style, to create a subtle and sultry smell that lasts all day and night.”

Her Fave Moisturizer

“I’m very picky with my moisturizer. Now, I’ve switched to Honeywhip. It’s not too heavy, not too light... it’s like the perfect middle ground. And even if I over-moisturize, I don’t break out, which is important because my skin’s quite sensitive.”