Feminine Wellness Got A MAJOR Upgrade! Meet KETISH Founder, Emaan Abbass


Emaan Ketish2

Last week we revealed our first ever Huda Beauty Angels brand, KETISH, and introduced the world to its incredible founder: Emaan Abbass. But when we did, we only began to scratch the surface of the many reasons why we love, respect, and admire this phenomenal woman.

Let’s start at the beginning of her journey. As a Huda Beauty employee, Emaan brought the most infectious energy into the office: equal parts beauty bawse, Cali-cool girl, and Egyptian goddess. After spending four years developing incredible Huda Beauty products, she started developing her own baby: KETISH, a feminine and sexual wellness brand with a purposeful and very personal mission.


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In fact, it was Emaan’s feminine health issues that helped her identify the need for KETISH. When Emaan discovered she had cervical cancer, caused by HPV, at the age of 21, it resulted in a decade of scans, surgeries, and societal shame weighing her down and prolonging her recovery. Having grown up in a strict Muslim household in the USA (her parents immigrated to California from Egypt), she felt she couldn’t talk to her family; fearing that if she told them the truth, they’d be disappointed in her personal choices. This was also a time before the rise of social media and online communities, and Emaan felt alone, unable to seek support from anyone in a similar situation.

Emaan wanted to connect with her body and searched for feminine and intimate health products, but was unable to find anything outside of a pharmacy or drugstore – a setting that made her feel like there was something wrong with her. She could never find a brand she could trust; one that would make her feel empowered, worthy, and proud of her sexual health. So after years of struggling, she decided to do something about it. Her vision was KETISH; a brand and a community that supports women and encourages them to look after their feminine health and feel sexy while doing so. Expect to find a welcoming community of women, educational resources, and products that’ll slot effortlessly into your self-care routine and empower you to feel more confident getting to know your body.

We could talk for hours about why we love Emaan and how important what she’s doing is, but we want Emaan to tell you her story in her own words…

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1. How would you describe yourself as a person?

This is a really hard question…

Passionate, positive, fun-loving, easily excitable, adventurous, annoyingly tenacious, extremely loyal, a loving and devoted friend/ sister/ daughter. I’ve got a lot of fiery and sassy energy on the outside, but on the inside, I am all mush.

I feel like KETISH really embodies who I am, who I always wanted to always be. At a glance, you see a bold and strong exterior, but once you start to peel back the layers, you quickly see how soft, supportive and vulnerable we are at the core.

2. Emaan, please tell us a little bit about your childhood growing up.

I honestly had a really amazing childhood. I grew up in a loving home with two amazing parents that gave it all up to provide a better life for me and my sister. We had everything we needed. My parents immigrated to the States from Egypt back in the early ’80s.

Growing up, I knew we were different, but I didn’t truly realize HOW different we were until high school, and all the pressures that came with it really put the mirror in front of me. Nonetheless, my parents pushed us from a very young age to be excellent students, to play sports, to have friends (mostly girls, lol), and to always be good people to those around us.

3. Tell us about your experience when you learned you had cancer. What was it like?

I was 21 years old, away at school, and finally living outside of my parents’ home, so I decided to go see a gynecologist for the very first time. During that first pelvic exam, the doctors discovered cancer on my cervix that was caused by HPV (Human Papillomavirus), a sexually transmitted virus. I was a senior in college at the time and was just trying to figure out what I was going to do next with my adult life – and in that moment I remember feeling like my whole world had been turned upside down.

Typically, in moments like these, you run to call your mom or your dad. You seek their support, their advice, their words of comfort that everything will be okay. That they will help you figure it all out.

Given my cultural background and the fact that pre-marital sex is maybe one of the biggest no-no’s a Middle Eastern/Muslim girl can commit, I immediately decided that I could not take this to my family. I could not bear the disappointment I knew my parents would feel towards me. I assumed they would make it more about the act of me having sex, rather than what was actually going on with my health. I knew I would have to navigate all this on my own, and that’s exactly what I did. For the next 9 years I would have to visit the doctors for consistent screenings every 6-12 months in order to control the potential spread of the cancerous cells.

The biggest learning I took from this experience is just how important a female’s reproductive health is, and how important it is to get checked regularly, regardless of whether you are sexually active or not. Often, as women, our bodies will only signal us if something is wrong when it is already too late. I am grateful we were able to detect cancer early on and keep it monitored through regular visits to my gynecologist and procedures when necessary.

4. Tell us about the transition from being a Huda Beauty employee to an HB Investment Founder

It has definitely been a journey. I went from working side by side with Huda and the rest of the Product Development team to now navigating an entire business. I was used to receiving direction and giving my input, but as a founder, it’s a whole different ball game.

I am super lucky to have Huda and Mona as my mentors and such pillars of support. They knew what I was capable of before I even knew it myself, and I am forever grateful for their trust. Even with that being said, I definitely have moments I have to remind myself of that trust and faith.

Luckily, I am surrounded by the small but mighty team at Huda Beauty and HB Investments that support me every step of the way.

5. How did your experience with cervical cancer impact your approach to your feminine health?

My body had gone through so much. The shame and pressure that I carried seemed to prolong my road to recovery and just added another layer that no woman needs. I was the queen of compartmentalizing my life, which is how I dealt with it. I’d turn to unhealthy distractions to get me through the tough moments. After years of poor coping mechanisms, my body started giving me major signals that it was time to pay attention fully. It started manifesting other feminine health issues, so I knew I couldn’t just keep sidelining my body anymore.

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My feminine health is something I have always struggled with. Whether it was my period irregularities when I first hit puberty, to HPV and cervical cancer, to even now – really struggling with my hormone health and PCOS.  If going through what I went through taught me anything, it was that you simply cannot avoid it.

As women, we really need to take the time to understand our bodies, especially when it comes to reproductive health. Our reproductive organs are on the inside of our body, and they typically do not tell us something is wrong until it gets pretty bad, so preventative health is of the utmost importance. Visiting the gynecologist, getting screened is the first step to understanding what is going on up-in-there, whether you are sexually active or not.

For me in particular, I became pretty aware of the products I was using, the food I was eating, the effects of my birth control, the safety precautions I was taking with my partner. It is all intertwined, and we don’t typically learn this in school. My goal with KETISH is to provide women with the education and empowerment to care for their bodies unapologetically and without the shame and guilt that sometimes comes from the society we live in.

6. Why did you create KETISH?

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Throughout my 20s, dealing with all of my feminine health issues made me really curious about the entire feminine and intimate care space. I vividly remember scouring the pharmacies and drug stores because that’s the only place you could find anything intimate care-related. This is something that really bothered me about the feminine care space at that time. We usually go to a pharmacy when something is wrong with us or when we want to fix an issue. I didn’t want to feel like buying feminine care was like taking care of a problem. I wanted more than a treatment and temporary fix. I wanted a more elevated experience that felt like I was buying products to pamper myself and build into my self-care routine. I wanted products that looked vanity or bedside table-worthy. I wanted products that made me feel sexy! I wanted products I could trust. I wanted a brand I could turn to, to educate me. Ultimately I no longer wanted to feel embarrassed or feel like I was walking this journey alone and ashamed.

KETISH has been in the works for a little over two years now, but it feels like it has been a lifetime in the works for me – from my feminine health journey to navigating my way through a traditionally strict and oppressive culture. Ultimately, I wanted to create the brand I wish I had throughout my journey. I wanted to create something that women like me always needed but never truly existed.

7. Your brand is so strong and inspiring. What led to this message?

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I have always had a very clear vision of what I wanted KETISH to stand for. Bold, empowering, thoughtful, supportive. I always wanted to create products, but it was the community and the potential to reshape the dialogue that really drove me to the brand’s mission.

There are so many societal factors that silence us as women, often putting us into a little box. We are told what to do, how to dress, how to behave, what is acceptable, what is not, what we can and cannot do with our bodies. Growing up in a traditional Muslim, Arab-American home, I battled these notions a lot. I often questioned why these rules and regulations of life existed. I wanted to create something that worked to break down these barriers, not just for the sake of being rebellious but rather with the purpose of helping women.

Our goal is to replace shame and stigma with sensuality and self-love by creating a luxury experience around feminine wellness. Bigger than that, we want to empower women by providing education and a whole army of other women she can lean on for support.

Emaan will be revealing the first KETISH products soon. Sign up here to be the first to know about it when it drops.