I trust Huda Kattan to accomplish a lot of things that might seem impossible. Case in point: She created a Huda Beauty eyeliner you can sleep in for two nights in a row with zero smudging. She also made me a believer in eyeshadow palettes long after I had succumbed to palette fatigue. While there are plenty of makeup brands built on social hype, hers is one of the few I’ve found to actually deliver results. But while I’ve learned to follow her lead when it comes to cosmetics, her first venture into skin care still caught me off guard.
Wishful is Kattan’s third brand (after Huda Beauty and Kayali Fragrances). Like its predecessors, it has a made-for-Instagram vibe that I quite frankly don’t look for in my serums and scrubs. Normally, this would give me pause, but I decided to give it a chance—mainly because I once interviewed her about her everyday beauty routine and she rattled off enough skin care tips to fill a book.
Kattan says the new line stems from her own experiences treating her adult acne, subsequent scarring, and hyperpigmentation (not to mention the countless products she’s tried over the years and the direct feedback she’s received from her 41.6 million followers). The first Wishful launch directly targets that trifecta; she describe it as “a skin-changing exfoliator with glowing results.” One glance at the Wishful Yo Glow Enzyme Scrub, and you’ll know that’s exactly what it’s designed to do. I say this because the sunny yellow tube, with its foiled holographic lettering, is by far the brightest thing in my bathroom cabinet—and possibly, in my entire home. It practically screams, “I will make you glow!”
The vibrant packaging contains some of Kattan’s favorite ingredients, delivering “a gentle, yet powerful” formula. The result is both a physical and chemical exfoliant; the thick gel includes pineapple and papaya enzymes, which smooth your complexion while increasing cellular turnover and boosting brightness. AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acids) deliver a similar effect, while fine pieces of cellulose dispersed throughout slough off your remaining excess cells. Everything is suspended in a rich base of glycerin and sweet almond oil, which emulsifies into a milky texture as you wet it. It’s a lot to pack into one product, but Kattan says she worked with a K-beauty team in order to combine three types of exfoliation into a non-irritating formula.
Wishful’s Instagram feed is filled with plenty of unfiltered, un-FaceTuned photos and videos that sing praises of Yo Glow. And Kattan has stressed that she, the brand’s toughest customer, has already put the product through its paces. But I had to see for myself if a face scrub was capable of inspiring the same level of devotion as her glittery eyeshadows.
My skin seems to be fully in tune with my career needs because the week the package crossed my desk, I was blessed with extra-clogged pores on my nose and a breakout across my left cheek and forehead. I had managed to calm the breakouts with regular doses of retinol-spiked moisturizer, but they left behind a complexion that was duller and more uneven than usual. After reading the instructions, I ripped the box open, squeezed a dime-sized amount into my hand, and washed my face.
It is—as Kattan promises—a pretty gentle experience; the physical exfoliants are soft instead of jagged, and the other ingredients produce only the mildest and briefest of tingling sensations. (Note that you’re not supposed to use this stuff more than one or two times per week; any more frequently, and you’ll be overdoing it.)
I know it sounds like an exaggeration to say that I did a double take after patting my face dry and looking in the mirror, but I was legitimately shocked. Even under my horribly fluorescent bathroom lighting, I could see a visible difference in brightness that seemed impossible given that the gel had touched my face for a grand total of 45 seconds. I held off for a full week before reaching for it again, and watched in amazement as my hyperpigmentation receded and my glass skin came rushing back to me. To say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement. Wishful, I’m officially marking my calendar for your next launch.
Sarah Wu is a writer in Berlin. Follow her on Instagram @say.wu.