Welcome to EW‘s weekly series ‘How I got my job as…’ where we speak to some incredible entrepreneurs and businesswomen both based in the UAE and globally to find out about their career paths that led them to where they are now; what their daily routines look like; the advice they’d give to those starting out; and the hurdles they’ve had to overcome.

This week we chat with the founder of Dubai-based skincare brand Yaskin Natural, Yasmeena Khalil. Having previously worked in property development, Yasmeena has always had a passion for the beauty space, particularly skincare.

After years of testing and trying products on the market, she found there was a crucial gap to create a brand which is driven by nature, rather than just inspired by it. “My main drive was to create a natural, luxury brand that was obtainable for all so that everyone could achieve perfect skin and feel beautiful, using natural components,” she says.

EW sat down with Yasmeena to find out more about what initially brought her to Dubai and the story behind Yaskin Natural.

Yaskin founder

What was your favourite subject at school?

I was a bit of a science geek and absolutely loved Chemistry. Anything with a Bunsen burner and I was first in line! I loved experimenting with the different chemicals and learning which elemental combinations would make the best reactions! I also had a bit of a flair for drama – my teacher always said I would end up in Hollywood! Maybe one day you’ll see me in film, when my business is up-and-running haha!

What was your first job?

My very first job as a young girl (like so many others, I’m sure!) was actually going door-to-door selling window glazing! It definitely helped me to nurture my saleswoman skills, but it was really hard work! My first real job when I left school was as a real estate agent. Property is definitely a long-term passion of mine and this job really gave me the renovation bug! I have developed many properties over the years and I just love taking an old run-down building and turning it into something beautiful. The buzz it gives is incredible and a part of me was always sad to see the properties go when they were sold on It does make me feel good to think that I might have created someone’s first, or forever home. It’s amazing what a bit of forward-thinking and imagination can create.

What inspired you to go into the beauty space?

Another huge passion of mine has for as long as I can remember, been beauty. From skincare to makeup, to treatments – I am obsessed! Who doesn’t want to feel beautiful? I’ve always been enamoured with the idea of beauty and how it can mean different things to different people. The way you feel about how you appear to others can have a significant impact on your mental health. People can say that beauty is only skin deep, but there is definitely more to it. They also say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, which suggests there is a very psychological angle to it as well. So, I’ve always been enthralled with the idea of beauty and what it means – when I was younger, I would cut out pictures from magazines and make scrapbooks full of my ideas of beauty. That has really helped me to understand how I personally perceive beauty and aided me in developing an eye for the finer details.  I believe that everyone should feel beautiful – whatever that means to them.

When I hit my teens, I started to experiment with skincare, in particular. If there was a new product on the market, I had to have it! I had to have the best makeup products and as my collection grew, I even had a carpenter build me my own custom-made unit to store it all in. Every product type had its own space…a section for mascaras, one for foundations, another for lipsticks and so forth.  I would find myself analysing different products – scanning the ingredients to see what was different, in an effort to find out what actually worked. It got to a stage where my friends would start calling me for advice and suggestions on the products that might work for them. I have always known that I wanted to be in the beauty industry – it was just a matter of time.


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What eventually brought you to Dubai?

As a businesswoman, I have been lucky enough to travel the world and experience different cultures and styles of living. I visited the UAE in 2009 for a work project and I spent a few months in the country. It is difficult not to get swept up in the fast-paced lifestyle and the feeling that anything is possible when you are sitting in a seven-star hotel or dipping your toe in the incredibly warm ocean. I was drawn to the country from the moment I stepped off the plane. So, as soon as I could, I moved here from the UK with my daughter. We have now been here seven years and we can’t imagine living anywhere else.

Can you talk us through the inspiration behind your new skincare brand?  

There are so many inspirations that have led me to finally create Yaskin Natural. My main drive was to create a natural, luxury brand that was obtainable for all so that everyone could achieve perfect skin and feel beautiful, using natural components.  I was inspired by nature, by beauty, by my daughter and by the need for a skincare range that was driven mostly by nature, rather than just inspired by it. For the chemicals that have found their way into our everyday skincare routine have fast become something we apply without a second thought, but wouldn’t it be great to have some peace of mind applied, also? Not everyone realizes this, but around 20% of what we put on our skin is ingested into our bodies. So, products that promise to give you amazing skincare results might work in the short term, but in the long term those chemicals are accumulating in the body; they are wreaking havoc. The thought of my gorgeous girl doing that to her body in an effort to look after her skin was heart-breaking.  So she was really my biggest inspiration – I wanted to create a range that she could use with complete assurance, from now and throughout her life – one that would nourish her complexion without negatively impacting her internal balance. What could be a better motivator than that?

What are the key elements of your role?

You’ll find me sticking my fingers in every aspect of my skincare business! I get involved in the website, digital media, accounting, fulfilling orders and all the administrative work too. I wear all the hats there are to wear! Since this is a brand-new business, it really is my baby and it’s important to me that everything is properly managed so that the products are perfect. I’ve never been afraid of hard work and believe me, this has definitely been tough! I’ve worked long hours and late nights to bring my dreams of Yaskin Natural into reality, all while trying to be the very best mum I can be. If it doesn’t work out, there is no one to blame but myself, but that is why I can personally account for the quality and safety of each and every product.

Talk us through your daily routine.

My typical day would include having breakfast with my daughter, taking her to school and then heading off to the office to work. I also do the afternoon school run and then head home to carry on working or go back to the office if that is not possible. I don’t usually shut down my laptop until at least 8/9pm. I always try to get to the gym at the end of my working day, then I shower and it’s bedtime! My days are very routine and organized, as I find this is essential for getting things done. It means I always know where I am and what I’m doing so that I can be available in case of business emergencies or anything to do with my daughter. After many years of juggling motherhood with working life, I have definitely settled into a way of doing things in a way that works for me.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to follow in the same footsteps?

I have always believed in giving everything 110%. I would tell people to never give up, no matter how many doors seem to be closing around them. Keep going until you find the door that’s open! It doesn’t matter how many people believe in your idea or appreciate your passion – if you think it will work, it will, so don’t be disheartened. If you are motivated and you give it your all, you will reach your goals. Have no doubt in your dreams – even when others do.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

My mother has always influenced me, in so many ways. She always reminded me that the sky is the limit and I can be anything I want to be. She really instilled a sense of confidence in me that has definitely helped me through some difficult times. One thing she said to me that has always remained in my mind; “above all things, never be afraid to invest in products for your face. The face is a woman’s greatest asset, look after it, spend money on it, nurture it with only the best quality products”. Mum’s are always right, aren’t they?! So her words have always stayed with me and throughout my life, steered me away from the temptation of low-cost products when it comes to skincare. Those words are very much a driving force behind Yaskin Natural.


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And what is the worst?

Someone once told me to try pineapple on pizza! What were they thinking?!

What has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome?

Wow! Where do I begin? Honestly, there wasn’t one big challenge, but lots of little hurdles that I had to overcome. I had a few breakdowns when things didn’t seem to be going my way and there have been many, many tears! I think the toughest thing is when other people don’t believe in your vision or when those you are close to are unsupportive. But every tear serves a purpose and the support from those that have believed in me from the start overrides any of that disbelief from those that didn’t. I welcome any challenge, for challenges are what bring the biggest sense of achievement – bring it all on!

What are your goals for 2021?

Yaskin Natural is really still in its early stages, so this year I will be focusing on building my brand. I need to ensure it gets the exposure it needs to grow and I’d love to collaborate with other brands that share my values. Currently, our main markets are within the Gulf, the Middle East and the UK, but my dream is to be an international brand, so I’ll be working on spreading the word across the world. This might be the first time you hear about Yaskin Natural, but it sure won’t be the last!

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Images: Supplied