Dubai-based beauty entrepreneur on how she hopes to empower women with her brand

Praachi Raniwala/Dubai
Filed on July 29, 2021
Photo: Ushma Dhakan

Makeup artist and beauty entrepreneur Natasha Moor on her move to Dubai, and her plans for her beauty brand

Natasha Moor has just returned from lunch with her landlady — the landlady to a house she is sure she has manifested. It was fate, Moor believes, that brought her to Dubai in the first place. It all started when a local bride reached out to the then Hong Kong-based makeup artist for her December 2020 wedding. “It’s hard to explain, but I just knew I had to be here for her,” the beauty entrepreneur tells us over a Zoom conversation. “Over the next three months, I really fell in love with Dubai, and officially moved in March.” The decision to make it her new base was further fuelled by the mandatory 21-day quarantine for all incoming travellers back home.

Does this kind of spontaneity come naturally to her? “Honestly, the city made it easy to be so gutsy. But I am a decisive person. So, once I made up my mind, things moved quickly.” The realisation that Dubai would also be an ideal turf from where to grow her three-year-old brand, Natasha Moor Cosmetics, only validated her decision. “It has already been conducive for my work-related travels. I’ve had meetings and clients in Turkey, Kenya and New York. A lot of my business is based in the US, and my team is spread across India, the Philippines and Hong Kong. Dubai makes these places easily accessible,” she says. India is only a short flight away, where her brand launched on multi-brand retail giant Nykaa’s Global Store this July. They are already available with Sephora in Southeast Asia, and with Macy’s in the US. While Natasha Moor Cosmetics isn’t available in the Middle East yet, there is already a burgeoning interest, especially since she moved here. “Women do come up to me and ask when we’ll launch,” the brand’s founder admits shyly. “The scope of the beauty industry here is huge, and I know there is a demand for our products. I am just waiting for the right time. Perhaps a pop-up when it’s safer, and the weather is more conducive…,” she muses.

While she hasn’t zeroed in on a local launch date yet, Moor has been using her time in the city constructively by connecting with the local community. Take, for example, her most recent #MoorThanMakeup campaign that was conceptualised with her digital agency in the US, but shot with a local crew and Dubai-based real women. It tackles insecurities caused by physical appearances that women often battle. In fact, the premise of the campaign ties in with the reason Moor launched her brand in the first place. “Growing up, I was extremely insecure about my looks. It may seem like it’s easy for me to whip out my phone and click a selfie, but honestly, I am shy. It makes me feel conscious,” she reveals. Which is why Moor was clear that she did want to peddle a flawless look through her makeup. It wasn’t about filtering out imperfection. She wanted it be real over perfect; approachable instead of aspirational. “I don’t want it to just be another beauty brand. Our message and values are at the core of who we are,” she says. Cue, the small details that help build this story: Product names like ‘Conquer’, ‘Self Made’, ‘Manifest’ and ‘Dreamer’; instead of the hyper-glamorous names typically assigned to makeup products. The packaging is sprinkled with affirmations meant to serve as positive reinforcements. “I want it to be inspiring and empowering for the woman reading it. Moreover, I am a very spiritual person myself, and believe in the power of visualisation. So, that’s where it really comes from.”

Moor doesn’t want to emulate anyone else’s formula to success. She’d rather do it on her own terms. “I don’t want to be the next big anyone else. I want to be the next Natasha. And that means being approachable, inclusive and relatable.” Her sizeable Instagram following (78.1k at the time of going to print) is a community she is committed to — she wants to be “like a sister to them”, one they can discuss their skincare or makeup concerns with. If a follower DMs her for a shade recommendation, she makes sure to reply. If they don’t need a certain product, she’ll say as much too. “Less is more. It’s lighter on your skin. I don’t wear foundation, and don’t use it on my brides either. I’ve created a simple three-step formula (the brand’s orange corrector followed by the stick concealer and the liquid concealer), which takes under 10 minutes to complete. I don’t take hours to get ready contrary to what many people think,” she laughs. “In fact, it’s been a conscious effort to develop products that are very easy to use. It’s about simplifying the process.” Case in point: her newly-launched beauty blender that is shaped to be convenient for those who aren’t well-versed with contouring. “And honestly, if there’s another great brand out there, I’m always happy to promote that too,” she adds matter-of-factly.

She has already been walking that talk with her ‘Do Moor’ initiatives. It first began as working with victims of abuse and trafficking in the US, and then with underprivileged kids across Bali and India. The hope is to eventually grow it into a cause-driven foundation. Lately, Do Moor has also evolved into collaborating with local brands and promoting women-led businesses. On her birthday, for instance, she brought together the circle of women she has met in Dubai, in an effort to help them expand their respective networks too. She’s generous with shoutouts for brands she has discovered here as well — sushi restaurant Moshi, The Hair Kind by Rinku Makhecha, Drip Hot Yoga, boxing studio UnderdogBoxn, and artist Maria Iqbal are only some of them. “It’s just who I am. I want to help in whatever way I can,” she smiles. “Sometimes, it makes people think I am fake. Others tend to assume I’m not nice because my makeup is ‘so perfect’. I used to worry about it a lot. But I have decided to just be myself now — which is friendly and kind. If I think your eyelashes are beautiful, I’m going to tell you! Why shouldn’t I?” she asks. “I don’t understand why some women feel the need to compete all the time. We are in this together, so let’s just look out for each other instead.”