Veganism and clean living have certainly taken off, especially in light of the pandemic in 2020. But there is another type of lifestyle that is surprisingly not as catered to as it should be: Halal.
While often associated with dietary laws and food, “halal” is an Arabic term that designates objects and actions that are permissible to use or do under Islamic law.
With over 240 million Muslims in Southeast Asia alone and the global Muslim population predicted to increase by 80% in 2050, one would think it should be more common well before now.
The religious term is also visible on products that cater to Muslim women’s specific needs. Its popularity only makes a buzz in the beauty industry recently, and consumers are definitely taking notice.
Find out what halal beauty is and how some of the best international halal beauty products and makeup brands utilize the branding term on their content marketing for the halal beauty industry to create traction in the market.
What is Halal Beauty?
The term halal means ‘permitted’ or ‘lawful’ in Arabic. It is a concept, connoting cleanliness, integrity, and self-restraint, that all Muslims must live by.
Every product and practice allowed under Islamic law is classified as halal, including beauty items. Getting certification involves a lengthy (which could take up to two years) but worthwhile process, granted by the specific authority in every country.
For example, in Asia, there is the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) in Singapore, the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) in Malaysia, and the Indonesian Council of Ulama (MUI) in Indonesia.
For countries outside of Asia, there is Halal Certification Services, one of the trusted and worldwide recognized certification bodies. Its auditors are natural scientists who visit the facilities every year and deliver their reports to religious leaders and experts in Islamic law for approving or denying the propositions.
What Does It Take for Cosmetic Ingredients to Be Halal?
Makeup, cosmetics, and personal care products tagged as halal-friendly or certified mean those items have not come in contact with and are free from pig, carnivore, or blood-based ingredients, alcohol and their by-products (except ones derived from natural sources), blood carrion, GMOs, and all other potentially harmful contents.
This practice even ensures that the instruments that process these products are not exposed to contamination in any way. The product’s components, manufacturing, and packaging must also observe and comply with sustainable, ethical, and cruelty-free methods.
For example, while vegetable raw materials are halal, if it undergoes processing aids with enzymes derived from the digestive tract of calves, it renders the material or product as haram (the counterpart of halal, meaning unlawful or forbidden). So, it is mandatory for manufacturers to obtain halal certification for each ingredient from their suppliers.
As one could expect, they are popular among vegan and vegetarian communities. However, not all halal beauty products are vegan as some make use of other animal derivatives such as beeswax and honey.
Why Beauty for Muslims Need to Be Halal
Distinctively, halal beauty is also associated with “permeable” makeup.
Muslims observe a cleansing practice called “wudu” (or wudhu) as part of their preparation before prayer, five times daily. The ritual requires water to pass through and touches the hands, lower arms, face, head, and feet.
Because some makeup ingredients (like silicone) and lacquer prevent water from getting into the skin, many Muslim women prefer their cosmetics to be “breathable” to not ruin their looks during this special observance.
Over the years, the definition of halal beauty has evolved into an even wider umbrella term. Getting the halal stamp of approval now also means that the products should not contain sulfates (including SLS and SLES), parabens, formaldehyde, phthalates, and mineral oil.
With all the aforementioned qualities and customs that surround halal cosmetics and personal care products, why has halal beauty not trended or reached the mainstream market much sooner?
What Halal Certifications Mean for Businesses
There are plenty of beauty brands or products that are more halal-friendly than you would expect. One could be sitting at your vanity table now, and you would be none the wiser. Discussions around halal beauty often pose or suggest it as a novelty when it is anything but.
These beauty products are widely accessible and are not exclusively made for Muslim women (and men). Lush’s vegan lipsticks are one of them, even if it has not acquired the certification. So why do companies forgo advertising this trait on their products?
Myths Surrounding Halal Cosmetics
The answer mostly revolves around the prevailing Islamophobia. Many associate the term halal with the Muslim community even if halal is a lifestyle choice that even non-followers of Islam may choose to practice.
The term has also become politically-charged in recent years, furthering the reluctance of brands to market their products as such and have consumers see them in a potentially negative light. Many brands choose to stay apolitical and not risk a perceived alliance with Islam.
Getting a halal certification would entail having their sourcing and production processes called into question by authoritative agencies and have their unethical practices come into view.
Facts About Catering for the Halal Beauty Market
The adverse perception and stereotype leave over 1.8 billion men and women who follow Islam undervalued and underserved.
This vast community also includes the black Muslim community feeling disregarded, with most halal brands catering mostly to the Middle East or Southeast Asian Muslims whose skin tones do not go as dark as their black Muslim brothers and sisters.
With so many practicing Islam worldwide, its audience reaches far and wide from Nigerian women to Turkish women, Egyptian to Bangladeshi. And now, there is even a growing interest in the personal grooming market from men over the years.
As part of the culture of emulating the Prophet Muhammed, a well-kept beard is central to a Muslim man’s identity. Start-ups have since then innovated luxury beard oils which comply with halal standards.
Since they are primarily ethical and vegan, even non-Muslim men who love their beards or follow a hipster trend benefit from the halal beard care products.
Companies should start acknowledging the far-reaching global halal cosmetics market opportunities and rethink their content marketing for the halal beauty industry to thrive and tap into a wider audience.
Why More Beauty and Personal Care Brands Should Be Halal-Certified
It would make sense for companies to get their products certified, seeing as the global halal cosmetics market size is predicted to be worth EUR 42.9 billion (USD 51.7 billion) by 2025. The staggering number is only a couple of billions short of the global natural beauty market, which is set to be worth EUR 44.5 billion (USD 53.6 billion) by 2027.
According to a report in 2016, Muslims spend an average of EUR 46 billion (USD 55.45 billion) on cosmetics and toiletries overall, which accounted for 7% of the global spending. This has grown in recent years.
Much of that spending today is thanks to the influence of celebrities on social media and the increasing awareness of the younger generations towards the quality and ethicality of the brands and products they use.
This rise in consciousness has led to a demand for clean, inclusive beauty, which presents more global halal cosmetics market opportunities.
Global cosmetics giants who have yet to certify their products as halal often take measures in adjusting the ingredients and manufacturing methods for their existing products in Muslim-majority countries, such as Indonesia (which is home to the largest Muslim population worldwide and passed a law to make halal products mandatory in 2019).
While Muslim consumers can safely use a variety of vegan alternatives (which often pass the halal test), more conscious consumers require further digging. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways today to check a product’s ingredient list.
Here are some of them:
Think Dirty App
The app has over a million products listed on its database, helping you understand how “clean” their ingredients are (specifically the chemical content), plus options for cleaner alternatives. All you need to do is scan the product barcode.
This is a website with a great database of popular beauty products. After choosing a product, it will give you a list of its every ingredient with their function (i.e., UV, acne irritant, and safety). The lower the value, the better it is.
An easy-to-use website, Skincarisma not only lists a product’s ingredients but also educates you on what these components do to your skin. It also has a section where you can paste the ingredients for a quick analysis.
Environmental Working Group (EWG)
EWG is a handy tool that holds information and online hazard assessments for over 74,000 products. It even provides you with a comparison of the ingredients on product labels and websites to information in nearly 60 toxicity and regulatory databases.
This app provides transparency on the ingredients of everyday beauty products and several foods. It also gives information on how certain ingredients and packaging affect the environment. All it needs is a barcode scan.
While the sites and app examples above sound excellent, there is still a need for products specifically made to fit halal criteria to save them the hassle of scouring for products and reviews each time a new product comes in.
So, those looking into tapping into this massive market should look into some of the best international halal beauty products and makeup brands for tips and inspiration.
Halal Beauty Products and Makeup Brands
Whether following Islam or just wanting to get away from using toxic chemicals, these are some of the best brands to look up for halal cosmetics and personal care products.
Halal Beauty Brands in Indonesia
Acknowledging the diversity of the Indonesian archipelago, ‘base’ offers personalized skincare through an innovative questionnaire and algorithm. It matches a customer’s lifestyle, skin type, and goal with vegan, halal, and ECOCERT ingredients perfect for the user’s needs.
As the first vegan cosmetics brand in Indonesia, Esqa’s creator combines the contemporary vibe of Los Angeles, USA with the needs of the Indonesian locale and has come up with quality yet affordable make-up products without harmful ingredients.
Halal Cosmetic Brands in Malaysia and Singapore
Created by a beauty blogger, Breena Beauty is a cult favorite makeup brand offering quality makeup products to women. Their range includes a variety of eye essentials, liquid lipsticks, and makeup tools.
Locally made with their much-loved, high-quality beauty products, So.Lek Cosmetics is a brand that celebrates Malaysian tradition and heritage. They also have a nail polish range that is breathable, water-permeable, and peelable.
dUck Cosmetics is a halal cosmetic brand founded by blogger-turned entrepreneur Vivy Yusof. This Malaysian beauty brand is also available in Sephora Singapore, and offers an array of makeup such as foundations, eyeshadows, and lipsticks.
A young brand with big ambitions, Ayn Skin follows the clean beauty movement offering body care, hair care, and hand sanitizers made with plant-based ingredients. They also cater to sensitive skin types, using no fragrance in their products.
Halal Beauty Products in the United States
Amara Halal Cosmetics
This brand is the first complete halal-certified cosmetics line in North America. They have foundations, eye color, lipsticks, and nail polishes which are all-natural and plant-based.
Glow by Claudia Nour
Claudia Nour is a Latina Muslim convert, who launched her line of halal, all-natural, and wudu-friendly cosmetics. The label includes makeup, skincare, and body care products.
As the brands above have shown, halal is not a trend. It is a custom that is meant to stay, and there is a pressing need for companies to see how vast this market truly is and follow suit.
Regardless of the poor perception surrounding halal beauty, having a halal certification is an industry standard. It is inclusive and relevant to all consumers (regardless of faith) who seek cleaner and more ethical, and sustainable products.
Brands who wish to claim such values should have no reservations in acquiring such a rewarding label on their goods.
How did you like May Thawdar Oo’s blog post “Halal Beauty Redefining the Global Cosmetics Industry”? Let us know in the comments if you have anything to add, have another content idea for beauty content marketing blog posts, or just want to say “hello.” 🙂