Finding a clever solution to her own lashes’ dilemma was the catalyst for Haneen Alsaify’s foray into beauty entrepreneurship. Often fickle to apply and with sticky adhesive ripping out natural lashes upon removal, false lashes saw Doha-based Alsaify seek out a better way to use them without resorting to salon extensions. “Like many Arab women, I’ve always loved the look of false lashes, but I don’t love the glue that is used to attach them to the sensitive eyelid,” explains the Qatari native. After further investigation, she landed on magnetic lashes, a style that’s grown in popularity thanks to its ease of use and painless removal, while still offering a striking look.
Though the best-known way of its use involves magnetically charged eyeliner to attract and attach each strip, Alsaify says she wanted an option with less of an application learning curve. Her product is functionally simple – packaged with two parts per eye, the base of each of these lash strips is embedded with its own magnet. Placed to cocoon the natural lash, the magnets hold the silk lashes close to the lid and boast a five-second application process. The result is naturally fluttery, voluminous lashes, which hold on tight for all-day wear, and without sticky glue residue or slippage. Each lash duo lasts a similar number of wears as a traditional glue set. “As a normal girl – not a professional makeup artist –I wanted my lashes to look longer and lifted, but without the heavy feeling you get from glued-on lashes.” Her gamble into a relatively unknown technique paid off, with By Haneen Alsaify lashes becoming a word-of-mouth success, or as Alsaify describes it, “The hype in Qatar,” among Doha’s It Girl set.
Alsaify’s natural inclination to problem-solve next focused on another personal beauty puzzle. Unable to find the Korean products she had used as a chemical engineering student in the US upon her return to Doha, the entrepreneur sought to bring the brands she loved to her home country. “When I was in America, I would follow a K-beauty routine and my skin really improved. It looked clear and fresh, and when I moved back home, I really missed my favorite products. At the time, K-beauty wasn’t heard of in Qatar, so I thought to myself that I needed to be the one to introduce it to other women here.” Taking a risk in introducing the Asian niche to an Arab market, she hunted down tried-and-tested K-beauty finds, only investing in orders of the brands and products that she felt would best resonate with Qatari women. Her new venture proved to be a perfect match for her regional clients, with an appealing combination of modern formulas and natural ingredients. “Women in Qatar take really good care of their skin, especially due to the challenging weather – the humidity, very high temperatures, and strong sun all affect the skin, so we need to make an effort with our skincare routines.”
Starting as a small skincare distributor, Alsaify has since expanded her endeavor to Be Cosy (becosystore.com). Specializing in curated beauty finds, and cool but comfy loungewear, the digital boutique emerged as a needs-must port of call for Qatari shoppers during the pandemic. It stocks cult favorites from Asia, including Dr Jart, CosRX, Laneige, Banila, and Dear, Klairs, in addition to Be Cosy’s own line of gua sha and other beauty tools. The site’s personalized skincare consultations ensure that clients find the products that are right for them, a service that Alsaify says is crucial to introducing K-beauty newcomers to the genre. “I wanted people to access personal skincare advice while they are at home, so people don’t just buy a product because they saw positive reviews, but because it will actually benefit their skin,” she says. Next up for her in-house brand is an eye serum with a K-beauty-inspired anti-aging formula to boost hydration. The upcoming launch, says Alsaify, is just the start of fresh ideas to come from her flourishing beauty empire.
Originally published in the November 2022 issue of Vogue Arabia