Billionaire make-up mogul Huda Kattan has said that she has “had enough” of filters and photo editing, as they have warped modern beauty standards into something “unrealistic”.
Kattan – popularly referred to as Huda Beauty – is calling for greater transparency when photos have been manipulated through editing and filters.
The 37-year-old make-up blogger wants the public, influencers and beauty brands to highlight when pictures have been enhanced – through a hashtag or disclaimer that makes it clear when a photo has been digitally altered, saying that without this people are being sold “lies”, which can have the detrimental effect of damaging their self-confidence and self-esteem.
According to a survey by Girlguiding, more than a third of girls and young women refuse to post pictures of themselves unless they’ve changed aspects of their appearance – typically with editing and filters.
Speaking to Sky News, Huda said: “I look at my daughter – she’s nine – she thinks it’s normal to use filters and I don’t like that. Is she going to grow up in a world where people are honest? Could that possibly happen? Is that too much to ask?”
“I’ve had enough,” added the makeup mogul. “When are we going to start being real? If I was scrolling through social media and I saw [a disclaimer], I would feel better about myself… because I would know there were experts involved to make this photo/person look the best they can.”
Huda clarified that she does not have a problem with the use of filters, saying that they are problematic only when you fail to “recognise the person”.
She says that is when they create “unrealistic, unhealthy standards” that need to be challenged.
Kattan further said that she has personally committed to not using any filters on her skincare social media account.
A household name in the world of makeup, Huda started her cosmetics line Huda Beauty in 2013. As her online presence grew, so did her company – which Forbes valued at over $1bn (£800m) in 2018.
The make-up artist and entrepreneur left the finance world for make-up eight years ago because she felt “ugly”. Transforming her face, she says, was her way of fitting in. But in the ’90s – this was through make-up, not technology.
“When I first got into make-up, I felt ugly. It was a tool that made me feel complete, worthy,” said Huda. “I felt there was something lacking in me that lacked beauty… and if I put concealer on, foundation, changed my brows, put tonnes of mascara on that somehow I would look and feel better… but I was wearing a mask.”
Fast forwards a few years and the rise of filters on apps like FaceTune, Snapchat and Instagram have radically changed the game. Now, within the press of a button, users can take pictures that create the effect of physical make-up. This form of augmented reality allows users to radically change the appearance of their face – with typical options allowing users to achieve a contoured face, tanned and flawless skin, plumper lips, voluminous eyelashes and brightly coloured eyes.
“Airbrushing, Photoshop and filters have morphed beauty standards into something that is so unrealistic,” said the makeup artist, adding: “[These levels of] beauty are never really attainable. You will always need to use something else – that’s the danger.
Acknowledging her role in the problem, Huda said: “Some people say I’m part of the problem – fair. There was a time I had too much Botox, too much fillers… I am a part of a big problem, and I admit that. I’m also stuck in this revolving door, stuck in this never-ending game.”
Kattan said that she now wants to be part of the solution – and claims she is speaking out as it is time to “break that habit” of overthinking how we look in pictures.
She wants all people – men and women alike – to move towards the “powerful” place of “self-acceptance”.
She admits it is a “long journey” – but one she will keep fighting.
“I’m in contact with a lot of founders (of beauty brands) and have asked them to join me… and I haven’t got any response from them,” said Huda. “I’m hoping to put more pressure on them. I haven’t got a response just yet.”
“I don’t know what everyone is so afraid of,” added the makeup artist.