Halal cosmetics are on the rise in Canada, but you might be wondering what halal makeup actually is – especially since the term is usually used in reference to food. It refers to products that only contain “permissible” ingredients according to Islamic law, which means no animal products and no alcohol, and should ideally be cruelty-free. While, yes these products aren’t consumed – many Muslims believe that things applied topically to one’s body should also adhere to halal standards (and products like lipsticks can easily be consumed).
Is there a demand for such products? Yes. Thanks in part to social platforms like Instagram and YouTube, more and more women are emerging as makeup artists or “gurus.” Many of the makeup artists you probably watch are Muslim: Irene Khan, Nura Afia and Laiba Zaid (from Toronto, no less) are just a few that come to mind. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that these women are inspiring young Muslim women to get into the makeup scene, so yes, halal makeup products are in demand, and brands are taking note of it.
Halal nail polish is another big seller. Muslim women have to perform ablution before praying five times a day, and it’s unanimously agreed upon that water must touch the surface of the nail for the ritual to be done completely. Therefore, water/oxygen permeable nail polish allows for women to don their favourite mani and still observe a compulsory pillar of their faith.
Big brands like Inglot, for example, started selling breathable nail polish a few years ago and took the Islamic world by a storm. Muslim women flocked to Inglot counters to buy the polishes in bulk. Finally, Muslim women have a chance to rock hot pink nails on vacation without compromising their faith. Other brands quickly took notice and started their own lines of breathable nail polish, or halal makeup lines. Some companies even look to get halal certification to give their products more legitimacy and a step up from competitors.
More recently, brands have started creating vegan lines as people are becoming more cognizant of what they’re putting in and on their body. Although many Muslim women do opt for vegan makeup, it’s not the same as halal makeup, albeit close. Although both vegan and halal makeup do not contain any animal products, vegan makeup might contain alcohol.