At this point, Mohammed Hindash really needs no introduction. His is a name that has become synonymous with make-up, beauty, and making women feel confident. At 30, his portfolio is already puckered with a decade of work from painting the most famous of faces, from Naomi Campbell and Sofia Tilbury to Jessica Kahawaty and Mona Kattan.
With his surprisingly plain appearance – don’t get me wrong, his browns are absolute fire, but he is dressed down in his signature black tee and a pair of nondescript trousers - Hindash hardly fits the part. In a high-gloss business, he is nothing so much as a friendly (and perfectly groomed) face in a crowd.
And that is totally part of his appeal. Juggling work, family, friends, his ever-growing beauty empire and his four-legged companion Timmy, who is quickly becoming more Insta-famous than Hindash himself, he connects with exactly who his customers are: busy women with real lives, who just want to be able to do a winged liner in the morning without reaching for a wet-wipe–or seven. It’s this quiet modesty that has been the making of Hindash.
As we sit for his first Cosmopolitan cover, he is still reeling from a 16-hour flight from LAX to Dubai, where he has just returned from hanging out at Rihanna’s house–with the *actual* Rihanna–to fêtê the launch of a new Fenty Beauty product. “She was amazing. She’s the coolest,” he coos. “She really is very unfiltered and very raw. It was basically a party at her house, and I was there, which is crazy. It was a very real experience, which was very cool. Everything she’s done with her brand and with Fenty–she’s just remained very authentic to herself.”
Not only is Hindash a behind-the-scenes fixture on some of the biggest beauty shoots and campaigns going, but he’s an A-lister in his own right, often photographed alongside the celebrities with whom he works. Maybe it’s best to work in chronological order, to convey the magnitude of his rise to the top...
Before Hindash became one of the most requested and prolific MUAs in the region, he had a dream of being an artist. His story begins with an upbringing steeped in portrait painting, where he found himself drawn to beauty editorials that he pored over, recreating them in black ink and paint. “I always knew I wanted to created art, that’s what I was set on…it has been my calling since I was a child. I was always drawn to faces and actually a lot of my inspiration didn’t come from other artists, it came from magazines. Beauty editorials were my main source of inspiration.”
Jordanian by birth but born and raised in Dubai, Hindash always knew that he wanted to work with into make-up. From a young age, he remembers the magnetic attraction he had to cosmetics in the supermarket. “When I used to walk through the aisles at Spinneys as a kid, I always stood at the Maybelline stand and I’d just look up at the make-up. I was always drawn to it.”
Hindash wears: Top, Barney Cools, Dhs240 and sneakers, Dhs589 Clae, both American Rag Cie. Jeans, Brunello Cucinelli, Dhs2,440.
Straight after high school, he enrolled at a university in San Francisco to study Fine Art, but dropped out after a semester and returned to Dubai. Education has always been important to Hindash and lies at the core of every piece of content he creates–he reels off the word almost in a tick-like manner during our conversation–, and so he went back to university, where he graduated with a degree in Visual Communication from American University in Dubai. “I really loved it, honestly,” he muses about uni life. “I feel like when I joined, because I had taken a break, I was a mature student and knew exactly what I wanted, so I took it very seriously. I would take my own pictures and use them as a reference for my paintings. I took a photography course and I was getting all these different models and girls that I knew on campus, and I would take photographs of them. I would keep those images in my archives and use them instead of googling or drawing a picture of a model that was in a magazine.”
It was then, back in 2013, that Hindash began posting his paintings and drawings on Instagram and started getting noticed. “When I was still in university, I woke up one day and my phone was going crazy. I was trying to figure out what happened and it turns out that Candice Swanepoel had followed me and reposted one of my drawings. I gained, like, 20,000 followers overnight, which was crazy,” he says.
Social media was a turning point for Hindash. It’s fair to say Instagram and YouTube have done for make-up artistry what MySpace did for music, giving young beauty talent a global showcase, as well as access to, and inspiration from, the world’s biggest A-listers. His Instagram feed reveals a never-ending list of boldface names, which he attributes not just to one serendipitous repost from a world-famous Victoria’s Secret model, but two. “Doing Naomi Campbell’s make-up is definitely one of my career highlights. After I did her make-up, I could take on any client. She was amazing. I really liked her energy and vibe.”
Hindash was also amongst the first in the region, alongside OGs like Huda Kattan, to create a dedicated beauty YouTube channel that was geared towards educating women on how to do their make-up and which products to buy. A pioneer in this digital beauty space, Hindash’s goal was to always offer easy to understand and genuinely useful beauty advice. To this day, his online tutorials have clocked up over 48 million views and thousands of comments from his very loyal and vocal community of followers.
But fast-forward nearly 10 years and he now has a combined following of over two million subscribers and followers, and a contract with global cosmetics brand MAC that saw him create his very own lip product to sit amongst the Velvet Teddies and Ruby Woos of the world. “MAC makes some of my all-time favourite lipsticks, so it was kind of a split-second decision when they asked me to create my own product,” he explains. “I think everyone expected a nude, but they already have an iconic nude, so I thought it would be kind of boring [to create the same thing]. I decided to make something that I would actually wear every day, too, and that’s why I decided on a lip tint. It had to be universal enough for it to work on all skin tones, so I spent ages blending all the different shades of brown and red and pink to get the perfect outcome.”
Hindash wears: Blazer, Dhs11,750 and trousers, Dhs4,010, both by Brunello Cucinelli. Top, Splash, Dhs29. Sneakers, Santoni, Dhs1,670.
Like every make-up artist worth their salt, Hindash has a signature. His particular magic lies in how he treats the eyes. “It’s all about creating that lift,” he explains. “I would really call it more of a contemporary Arabian eye, stepping away from this stereotypical cat eye–you know, the very heavy one that you really don’t see the modern Middle Eastern woman wearing day-to-day, but is shown in pretty much every movie and TV series. It’s kind of become a bit of a stereotype in the beauty industry.”
Hindash has this incredible ability to draw out an otherworldly incandescence in the eyes (even when the colours and textures of the rest of the make-up are subdued or restrained), which is why, perhaps, his next venture sounds very likely to be a palette of sorts.
“In the next five years I definitely see myself launching my own brand,” he says with a pragmatism that quickly turns to an enigmatic cheekiness when I ask for more details. “That’s a secret!” he laughs. “I mean, all I’m going to say is that I’m all about eyes. That’s my signature, so it’s definitely going to revolve around that.”
“It’s also very important for me to have a universal factor in there. I am a make-up artist and I have people from all over the world following me and watching what I do. So anything I create has to fit everyone and no one can feel excluded.”
Hindash has more plans from here, and big ones. Not least of which involve his first-ever Cosmo cover (and our first time having a man on the cover) hitting shelves around the Middle East. “I don’t even know how to answer that,” he replies when asked how it makes him feel. “Representation has become so important to me, and I have supported women all through my career. My work revolves around women and doing things that empower them.” And it is this mindset that not only sets Hindash apart, but is very much the secret to his success.