Morning Routine: How Beauty Entrepreneur Bodour Al Hilali Starts Her Day

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Bodour Al Hilali
Photo: Courtesy of Bodour Al Hilali

Successful people around the world have their morning routines down to a fine art. So just how does Bodour Al Hilali, founder of Belle Femme salons and homegrown eatery Saladicious, start her day? Savoir Flair gets a peek into her morning rituals, from the beauty products she swears by to the drink that powers her through a busy day.

On weekdays, I wake up at 8 or 8:30. I used to wake up earlier because I would drop my kids off to school, but I retired a few months ago. On weekends, I wake up around 9:30 – 10 a.m. if I’m lucky. I wake up with an alarm and hit snooze at least twice.

The first thing I do is check my WhatsApp and e-mails because all my contacts in the US would have been writing to me while I was sleeping. Once I’m out of bed, I brush my teeth, drink some water, and take my thyroid pills. I had a thyroid operation, so I have to take pills every morning. I’ve also started taking Biotin for my hair and 1000 mg of vitamin C to boost my immune system.

Next, it’s time for coffee. I have my coffee black – no sugar, no milk. While I wait for my breakfast to be ready, I shower. I only use L’Occitane products; they are so good. I love the whole almond range and especially the shower oil.

I never wash my own hair; I have it washed in one of my salons. I usually go to the Arabian Ranches branch of Belle Femme because that’s where I live.

Every time I go for a wash and blow-dry, I also do one of three treatments: a RG Cosmetics collagen treatment, L’Oréal’s ‘Pro Fiber Restore’, or a Kérastase ‘Fusio Dose Treatment’ shot for nutrition and softness. I trim my hair twice a year. There’s no one in particular who cuts or styles my hair. We have amazing women working at Belle Femme, and I trust all of them.

I have my hair washed two to three times a week. In between washes, I love using the Ouai dry shampoo – even if my hair is not oily, it gives it amazing texture and volume. I also use the hair oil and wave spray from the same brand. L’Oréal’s ‘Hair Touch-Up’ is perfect to use in between color treatments. It disappears when you wash your hair, but it covers your roots in the meantime.

I can’t eat the same breakfast every day, so we’ll have boiled eggs one day, egg whites with avocado another, and oatmeal pancakes the next. I also love granola cornflakes with a lot of almonds and chocolate. Once a week, I have a proper Lebanese breakfast with labneh, olives, kashkaval cheese that my mom brings from Lebanon, etc. – that’s my cheat day!

I have breakfast alone on most weekdays and weekends. My kids eat early and my husband leaves home super early. Sometimes, we get to have breakfast together, but on most days, it’s just me and my dogs. I have two Yorkies. It’s the only breed I can have because my husband is allergic to dogs and Yorkshire Terriers are hypoallergenic. They’re called Charlie and Gaston. I didn’t choose Gaston’s name; he came with it already.

Charlie and Gaston | Photo: Courtesy of Bodour Al Hilali

While I’m eating, I talk to the dogs and check what’s on YouTube. I check what new shows and episodes are out to watch when I come back home. I’m a show freak! Everyone I know turns to me for questions about TV shows and series. With the kids and running so many businesses, the only time I get to watch them is at night, so I go to sleep around 2 a.m.

I really only sleep five hours a day – six if I’m lucky. On the weekend is when I make up for it because I make sure to nap. I’m with the kids from 5 to 8 p.m. every day – teaching them, playing games, spending quality time – so nighttime is the only time I really get for myself. Watching shows is the only way I can fall asleep. Without them, I’ll just sit up in bed thinking for hours. My mind never stops.

coffee and almond croissant
Photo: Courtesy of Bodour Al Hilali

While I’m getting ready, I’ll put on something light to start the day off on a good note, like Jimmy Fallon or Ellen DeGeneres.

My daily beauty routine is really simple. I use a L’Occitane moisturizer with SPF, and I tone and cleanse using Shiffa products. Dr. Lamees [Hamdan] gifted them to me about a year ago and I liked them, so I kept using them. Before that, I never used to cleanse my face. I feel like her products are very natural and go with all skin types. They also smell so good.

I’ve recently been using Benefit’s face primer, too. It works amazingly for pores. I never wear foundation, but if I feel like my face needs a bit of extra coverage, I use a powder from MAC. I also wear bronzer, but that’s it. I am friends with so many makeup artists and I’ve gone to so many makeup masterclasses, but I still don’t know how to apply it properly. They’ve all tried to teach me how to contour, but I still can’t do it. If I have a big event or a wedding to attend, I’ll have my makeup done at one of the salons.


Morning Routine: How Beauty Entrepreneur Bodour Al Hilali Starts Her Day

Benefit ‘The Porefessional Face Primer’

AED155 / SAR158



I dress quite casual, unless I have a meeting or an occasion for which I need to be a little formal or smart casual, in which case I would have planned out my outfit the night before. I have an office in Business Bay, but I hardly go there because I hate sitting behind a desk. Instead, I just schedule my meetings in one of the various branches of the salon or restaurant. I think it’s important for my teams to see me in person.

As for accessories, I always carry the same Bottega shopper for the day. I don’t always take my laptop with me because my work during the day is more face-to-face. I work on my computer at night, when the kids are sleeping. By the time I’ve left the house, around 9:30 or 9:45, I’ve had two cups of coffee. At work, I’ll have about four, and I’ll also have an espresso after dinner.

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