Ctzn Cosmetics’ Khan Sisters on Their Success, Culture and Future – WWD

Ctzn Cosmetics has managed to highlight the importance of inclusivity by redefining the nude lip.

Created by three Pakistani sisters, Aleena, Aleezeh and Naseeha Khan, who were born in Los Angeles but raised in Dubai, the company has stood out not only for its ability to match a customer’s shade when it comes to nude lipsticks, but also because of its goal of education and immersing the sisters’ upbringing and culture into the products.

Growing up, the Khans were never able to see themselves in the makeup campaigns that were being advertised at the time, so they decided to start their own brand to not only fit into the beauty community themselves, but also open the doors for others who also felt the same.

“We just couldn’t connect and it wasn’t relatable in terms of visuals, but also shade ranges,” Naseeha Khan, who oversees product development, told WWD. “We were always mixing products together. There were other people of color who felt the same exact way. So we wanted to create a space that really encompassed everyone for every walk of life, that means genders as well as ethnicities. ”

Considering their upbringing, the three sisters also thought it was important to spread cultural awareness through the brand and its products.

For one, they make it a point to put places they’ve been to on the packaging of their bestselling Nudiversal Lip Duos. Then on their lip liners, each one is numbered one to eight in different languages. Their favorite, however, is a segment they coined “Cultutorials,” which is a combination of culture and a makeup tutorial.

“Especially in a time of cancel culture, let’s not shame people for not knowing things about different cultures because maybe they’re not exposed to it,” Naseeha Khan continued. “So let’s just use our platform and educate so at least if they learn one new thing from one of these bite-sized videos, that’s kind of all we want. It makes us really happy. ”

Ctzn is best known for its bestselling Nudiversal Lip Duos, creating an inclusive and genderless line of lipsticks and lip glosses with 25 different shades of nude. Recently, the brand came out with a new collection of red lipsticks called “Code Red,” meant to “flatter all skin tones.”


THE PERFECT NUDE? #makeup #beauty @erinduganjurchak 😭❤️🙌🏻

♬ original sound – Mikayla Nogueira

In the age of social media, Ctzn has experienced virality with its products, especially the Nudiversal Lip Duos. In October, the brand’s website crashed after popular TikTok beauty influencer Mikayla Nogueira reviewed and tested out the Nudiversal Lip Duo. Sales were reported to have increased by more than 12,000 percent following the influencer’s video.

“Things are happening on this platform,” Aleezeh Khan, who leads operations and logistics, said of their success on TikTok. “It’s really the new wave and I’m just excited that we’re kind of current with what’s going on there because there’s so much potential on that platform.”

“From a marketing perspective, it also really taught me not to underestimate or undervalue TikTok and really just reassess where we’re spending our marketing budgets,” said Aleena Khan, who leads marketing and branding. “We’ve actually had a big pivot after that moment where it taught us to focus on this app even more.”

One of the reasons why the sisters decided to launch the brand as a family was due to their differing personalities, which they believe is a strength.

“We all have our own silo that we’re actually good at. I feel like that’s also why I think it does well because each person is leading something, ”Aleena Khan said. “I think that’s really important for a family business relationship to be healthy, and I think there’s so much more support and comfort in doing something with people you trust.”

CTZN sisters Aleena, Aleezeh and Naseeha Khan with Sir John

Ctzn sisters Aleena, Aleezeh and Naseeha Khan with Sir John.
Courtesy of CTZN Cosmetics

Last month, Ctzn appointed renowned makeup artist Sir John, who has worked with the likes of Joan Smalls, Naomi Campbell and Beyoncé, as its chief creative officer. He will work closely with the three sisters on further innovating their products, their brand and pushing their shared messaging on culture forward.

Over the years, Sir John has also become an advocate for social issues, such as equality and inclusivity, which aligned with the vision the Khan sisters have and are continuously working toward for Ctzn.

Looking to the future, the sisters hope to continue to grow their beauty community worldwide, both online and in-person, starting with revamping the brand’s website to make it more community-focused to connect others around the world, furthering their messaging on cultural awareness .

“I think we’re a beauty brand that’s just focused on something that I haven’t seen other makeup brands focus on,” Aleena Khan said. “We’re just so excited that the cultural awareness, community, global aspect is something that feels so true to our story and our upbringing, but something that we also feel like is unique and needed.”


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