When I first heard the term halal beauty I was intrigued yet skeptical. As a Muslim woman, halal—an Arabic word that translates to "permissible" in English—is part of my daily lexicon. However, I had never heard of it used in the context of beauty before.
Ultimately, the concept of halal beauty is similar to that of cruelty-free and vegan cosmetics: It serves a need for consumers who prioritize certain standards for the products that come in contact with their bodies. "Halal beauty is not a gimmick," says Jordan Karim, CEO and founder of Flora & Noor. "Halal products include ingredients that enable Muslims to pray even while having their makeup on and are important to maintain the requirements of our faith."
Some consumers seek and prefer products that comply with halal standards, and having product lines that fulfill this need is essential. "There is, however, a misconception that halal beauty products are just for Muslims," says Karim. "Halal beauty is for anyone who wants beauty products that are beyond clean and cruelty-free."
To understand halal beauty better, we turned to Karim and board-certified dermatologist Erum Ilyas, MD. Keep reading for the complete guide to halal beauty.
Meet the Expert
- Erum Ilyas, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist who has practiced in the Philadelphia area and Boston for more than 15 years.
- Jordan Karim is the founder and CEO of Flora & Noor.
What Is Halal Beauty?
The term "halal-certified" refers to the evaluation of a product's ingredients by a regulatory body to ensure that they meet the appropriate standards according to Islamic laws. According to Ilyas, this term is most often used in reference to consumable foods and “may broadly reference a product that does not contain alcohol, pork, animal-derived ingredients that do not comply with Islamic rituals, as well as compliance with sanitation standards and other criteria.” Ilyas explains that the same criteria used to certify foods would apply to ingredients used in beauty products.
Halal certification can provide a sense of comfort for the consumer regarding the ingredients used for lipsticks and lip balms that may be consumed inadvertently. For other types of skincare products, such as moisturizers, shampoos, and conditioners, a halal certification can give added assurance to consumers who wish to avoid certain ingredients.
Halal products are considered clean as they do not contain ingredients such as sulfates (including SLS and SLES), parabens, formaldehyde, phthalates, and GMOs. They are also not tested on animals, making them cruelty-free. However, halal-compliant beauty products are not always vegan, as certain ingredients like beeswax and honey are permissible.
What Makes a Beauty Product Halal-Certified?
It’s important to note that even if a brand uses ingredients that comply with halal guidelines, it does not necessarily mean that it has been officially certified as halal. Karim explains that in addition to inspection of raw materials and sourcing, a halal certification requires the entire production chain to prohibit any contact with impure products during the production cycle. A halal-certified product will have a symbol or label from a reputable halal certification organization. Many Islamic organizations and halal certification bodies provide a list or search feature for halal-certified brands. Many Muslims check for a halal certification logo on a wide range of products, including beauty and food products.
Unfortunately, obtaining halal certification can take up to two years, which creates a significant gap between the demand and availability of such products. It's also worth noting that even if a brand is halal-certified, it doesn't mean all its products are halal-certified.
The Best Halal Beauty Products
This lightweight gel moisturizer from Flora & Noor is an ideal choice for those with oily or combination skin. It absorbs quickly into the skin, leaving it hydrated and refreshed without any heavy, greasy residue. The gel texture also layers beautifully under makeup and provides a natural glow when used alone.
With its gentle, organic formula, versatile shades, and baked texture, this blush duo from Inika Organic provides a beautiful, radiant finish that lasts all day long. The two colors can be used separately for a natural, subtle flush or blended together for a bold, dramatic look.
This innovative polish from Vivre Cosmetics is formulated with breathable technology, which allows water and air to pass through the polish (wudu-safe), ensuring the health and well-being of the nails. The colors are versatile and flattering on a variety of skin tones, and the long-lasting formula ensures that the polish stays looking fresh and vibrant for up to a week.
We love a high-quality lip gloss that provides a high-shine finish that lasts all day, and this one fits the bill. Pair it with a brown lip liner for a '90s moment.
With a blend that includes castor oil, jojoba oil, and vitamin E, this mascara promises to not only add length and volume but also nourish and condition the lashes.
Formulated with natural ingredients—including non-nano zinc oxide—to provide broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays, this sunscreen is one of our favorite halal products. It's also water-resistant, making it an excellent choice for outdoor activities.
786 Cosmetics' breathable nail polish is formulated with a unique blend of natural ingredients, including vitamins and minerals, to provide a long-lasting, chip-resistant finish. The formula is also quick-drying, making it an ideal choice for those who are always on the go and can't go for one minute without checking their phone (guilty as charged).