If halal meat has been readily available internationally for decades, now, niche and powerhouse beauty brands including Shiseido, are launching halal beauty products to cater to their Muslim clients. Everything from halal mascara to halal foundation is being made readily available to tap into the growing global Muslim halal consumer market.
“Halal”—which means “permissible”—is one of the tenets of morality in Islam, and refers to anything that is lawful in Islamic law. Islam prohibits the consumption of pork, alcohol, and blood. Products that contain one or more of these ingredients are considered to be “haram” or forbidden.
What are Halal Beauty Products?
Halal skincare and cosmetics range from lipsticks to serums that are produced without any pork, dog, or alcohol ingredients. Halal also stresses the significance of a holistic lifestyle, so the concept of what constitutes a product as “halal” or “haram” goes beyond the ingredients used and includes the packaging, manufacturing, as well as the distribution methods. Other requirements suggest that halal beauty products must be handled with clean utensils and must be produced with materials that are not harmful to humans.
Consuming ingredients that are not halal, or wearing them on the skin breaks Islamic rules as well as creates a barrier for Muslim women when performing daily prayers. Halal makeup is not to be confused with “halal nail polish” though, which is soluble nail lacquer that allows water to permeate so that Muslim women can complete their wudhuu (ablution) before prayers.
The Market for Halal Makeup
Based on Google Trends, online searches for “halal makeup products” have been steadily on the rise since 2013. Muslims constitute the second largest religious group in the world, and demand for halal products is increasing, driven by better consumer awareness and knowledge of the ingredients being used in cosmetics. A recent report from the “Saudi Arabia Halal Cosmetics Market Forecast and Opportunities 2020” predicts that the halal beauty market is projected to grow over 15% in the next five years.
Some Korean beauty companies, such as Talent Cosmetic, are seeking halal certification (via an authorized halal certification agency), despite having a relatively small Muslim demographic within Korea. The reason for this is that Muslim consumers are spending an increasing amount of money on beauty products, and global Muslim spending is expected to reach US $73 billion by 2019—making up 8.2% of global expenditure—according to Sayd Farook, former global head of Islamic capital market at Thomson Reuters.
Since the definition of what makes cosmetics “halal” is blurry and given the expense of manufacturing beauty products that are restricted in their ingredients, the variety of halal beauty brands is limited. Small companies steering the trend include Iba Halal Care, a cosmetics brand based in India that focuses on selling halal, eco-friendly products, including lipsticks, fragrances, and body lotions.
Amara Cosmetics, the first halal-certified company to be founded in North America, is very popular among Muslim women and features a vast offering that includes lipglosses, eyeshadows, and foundations showcased in plain black tubes and compacts.
Touted as the first halal brand in the Middle East, OnePure was brought together by Canadian makeup artist Layla Mandi and intends to carry the luxurious essence of global brands, minus the elements prohibited by Islamic law. “I designed the packaging to be clean, modern, luxurious, and something retailers would want, because if we couldn’t get great retail presence, women wouldn’t have access to it,” Mandi told Style.com/Arabia. The brand comprises 13 skincare products, including serums, toners, anti-aging creams, cleansers, lotions, and eye creams, packaged in pastel pink and white containers.
Indeed, #halalmakeup on Instagram turns up a plethora of images of lipglosses, foundations, and concealers as well as photos of the women who launched their own businesses that specialize in halal skincare and cosmetics. New York-based halal mineral makeup brand, Glow by Claudia Nour, was founded by Muslim convert Claudia Cruz and features lipsticks, foundations, and concealers in exquisite packaging and has gained a large global following. “Oh my God Claudia, all of them look insane!” quipped Instagram user @wardaass underneath a photo of four lipsticks posted on the @glowbyclaudianour Instagram page; “The packaging looks amazing,” agreed @fizzy_cola.
Muslim Beauty Consumers
“Women in the Middle East don’t really focus on what ingredients are in their makeup and where they come from as long as they look good,” said Style.com/Arabia contributor and Middle Eastern makeup artist Fyza Ali of SoniaxFyza, adding, “Though it’s important to be aware of what you’re putting on your skin.”
Attractive, luxurious packaging is a driving force that pushes women in the Middle East to purchase a cosmetic product, but due to the restrictions on packaging and manufacturing, halal beauty products are mostly offered in dull wrapping that may deter the consumer away from products with the halal stamp, despite the all-natural ingredient list.
But with the number of halal beauty companies on the rise, the Muslim consumer population is gaining interest in purchasing products that are free from ingredients and materials prohibited by Islamic law. More people are becoming conscious and aware of what’s in their skincare and makeup, which translates to their willingness to spend more on high-quality halal products (which feature a high-end price point in line with organic beauty brands). Additionally, a healthy lifestyle and wellbeing are often equated with “all natural,” “holistic,” and now, “halal.” Ultimately, all these factors combined will make the global halal beauty sphere very attractive to Muslims and even non-Muslims within our affluent Middle Eastern market.