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Halal Cosmetics: Beauty Beyond Beliefs




Portrait of Muslim woman with Halal cosmetics, showcasing certified respectful beauty.

In the bustling bazaars of the Middle East, the word 'Halal' echoes through the air. But this term has transcended its geographical roots and religious connotations, making a grand entry into the global cosmetics industry. 


As we delve deeper into the world of Halal cosmetics, we find that its impact extends beyond religious adherence and into realms of social justice, sustainability, and inclusivity. According to Fortune Business Insights, the global halal cosmetics market size was USD 21.20 billion in 2020 and is projected to grow to USD 77.34 billion by 2028 (Fortune Business Insights, 2021).


So, what’s the buzz all about? Let’s dive in.




Understanding Halal


What are Halal Cosmetics?


Halal, an Arabic term, translates to "permissible" or "lawful." In the context of cosmetics, it means products free from any component that Muslims are prohibited from consuming according to Islamic law (Shariah). They must not contain any traces of pork products, alcohol, or certain types of animals, and they must be manufactured, produced, and composed of ingredients that are "Tayyib" (good, wholesome, and pure).




Halal vs. Vegan: Clearing the Air


The beauty industry is no stranger to ethical and conscious consumerism, with vegan cosmetics leading the charge. But how does Halal fit into this picture?


While vegan cosmetics strictly avoid animal-derived ingredients, Halal cosmetics take it a step further by prohibiting ingredients deemed Haram (forbidden) by Islamic law, such as alcohol and pork derivatives. However, a product can be both Halal and Vegan if it meets the criteria for both.


It's important to note vegan cosmetics are defined as products that are free of any animal products or animal-derived ingredients (The Vegan Society, 2021). And while veganism rejects all forms of animal products, Halal cosmetics might contain animal products or animal-derived ingredients, as long as they are compliant with Islamic Shariah. This includes ingredients like honey and dairy, which are considered Halal but are not vegan (WeHalal, 2021). Lastly, Halal cosmetics not only avoid certain animal substances and alcohol, but they also ensure there's no contamination during the production process (Quora, 2021).



Infographic on Halal cosmetics, differences with vegan, market stats, and non-Muslim accessibility.


Some Facts: Halal Market Worldwide


The Halal cosmetics industry is experiencing unprecedented growth, a trend that's been consistently highlighted in recent market analyses. According to the State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2022, the global Muslim spend on cosmetics was estimated at USD 70 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 93 billion by 2025. This surge is largely attributed to the expanding global Muslim population. As of 2023, there are 1.8 billion of Muslims worldwide, making them the second-largest religion in the world after Christianity (Yahoo Finance, 2023) - nearly 24% of the global population, mostly in Asia and Europe. The Muslim population, as highlighted by the Pew Research Center, is anticipated to reach nearly 3 billion by 2050.


East Asia, in particular, is emerging as a significant player in this domain. A 2021 market analysis by Grand View Research emphasized the pivotal role of countries like Indonesia and Malaysia. Not only are they major consumers, but they're also setting industry standards and driving innovation in Halal cosmetics. Indonesia itself is the country with the largest Muslim population worldwide, nearly 225 million (State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2022). 


Interestingly, the appeal of Halal cosmetics isn't confined to Muslim-majority countries. There's been a noticeable influx of Halal-certified beauty brands from Korea and Japan, countries not traditionally associated with Islamic products. Japanese and South Korean ingredient manufacturers and cosmetics producers, such as Japan’s Momotani Juntenkan and South Korea's MEGACOS and C&C International, have been Halal-certified or are seeking Halal certification. Their foray into this sector underscores the universal appeal and vast potential of Halal cosmetics (State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2022). 



Prohibited Ingredients, Certifications and Standards for Halal Cosmetics


With a plethora of products claiming to be Halal, how can consumers ensure they are genuine? The Halal certification process is a rigorous one, designed to ensure that products meet strict ethical and quality standards. This involves not only the ingredients but also the manufacturing process and facilities (CosmeticsDesignAsia, 2022). 


A core aspect of this certification revolves around the prohibition of certain ingredients. For instance, ingredients derived from animals not slaughtered according to Islamic law, such as pork derivatives, are strictly forbidden. This extends to carmine (a red pigment obtained from Cochineal), keratin, oleic acid, lanolin alcohol, gelatin, collagen, placental proteins, fatty acids and certain enzymes derived from non-Halal sources (Islamic Services of America). Additionally, the use of alcohol, particularly ethanol, and certain chemicals in cosmetics is also scrutinized under Halal guidelines (Islam Q&A, 2023).


Beyond the ingredient list, the entire production process of a cosmetic product is scrutinized under Halal guidelines. This encompasses everything from the sourcing of raw materials to the manufacturing process and even the storage and distribution methods. The aim is to ensure there's no cross-contamination with non-Halal substances at any stage. Ethical considerations also extend to ensuring fair working conditions, sustainable sourcing, and cruelty-free testing practices  (International Halal Certification).


Worldwide, several authorities provide assurance to consumers through Halal certification. 


is an international non-profit organization, responsible for monitoring the needs of the Muslim Ummah on all matters relating to the general application of the term Halal, with specific reference to Islamic food laws.

is another organization that helps companies achieve Halal certification for their products, ensuring they meet the requirements of importing nations and helping them enter new markets.



These certification authorities play a crucial role in ensuring the authenticity of Halal cosmetics, providing assurance to consumers about the ethical sourcing and production of these products.



Infographic on Halal certification, allowed/prohibited ingredients, certifying bodies, process, and green aspect.


Halal Cosmetics: Not Just for Muslims


There's a common misconception that Halal cosmetics are exclusively for Muslims. But let's shatter that myth right here, right now. These products cater to anyone who values ethical sourcing, transparency, and mindful consumerism. The Halal certification is a seal of assurance that appeals to a broad audience.


The Halal cosmetics industry is a beacon of inclusivity. It serves a previously overlooked market of over 1.8 billion Muslims globally (WorldData), enabling them to fully engage with the worldwide beauty community without sacrificing their religious principles. Yet, the reach of Halal cosmetics extends far beyond the Muslim demographic. The industry's commitment to transparency and ethical standards resonates with consumers from all walks of life who prioritize mindful consumerism.


The Green Side of Halal


Halal cosmetics champion sustainability and ethical consumerism. The stringent requirements for Halal certification ensure that the products are manufactured in a clean, hygienic, and environmentally friendly manner. This commitment to ethical sourcing and production aligns with the growing consumer demand for sustainable and responsible brands.


The sustainability of Halal cosmetics is not just about the ingredients used but also about the entire production process. For instance, the use of renewable resources and the minimization of waste are key aspects of the Halal certification process. This holistic approach to sustainability is what sets Halal cosmetics apart.


Moreover, the Halal cosmetics industry is also contributing to the empowerment of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by identifying and addressing growth constraints in the ecosystem. This includes aspects such as enforcement activities, consumer behavior, and market dynamics, all of which have a direct impact on the sustainability of the industry (Emerald Publishing, 2021).


In addition, the rise of Halal cosmetics is riding the wave of the clean beauty movement. Brands are gaining traction not just for their Halal certification but also for their commitment to clean, ethical, and sustainable practices. This is a testament to the fact that Halal cosmetics are not just meeting religious requirements but are also responding to broader consumer trends and demands (Business of Fashion, 2021).


In essence, the green side of Halal is about more than just the products themselves. It's about an industry-wide commitment to ethical practices, sustainability, and the empowerment of businesses and consumers alike.


Muslim MUA applying halal makeup, blending art and religious compliance.


Popular Halal Cosmetic Brands


As the Halal cosmetics industry flourishes, let’s take a look at some of the brands that are making waves:



known for its innovative fusion of makeup and skincare, is gaining popularity for their high-quality Halal products. They offer a collection of beauty products that bridge the gap between makeup and skincare, combining powerful technology with innovative ideas to create a range of must-have formulas.


These brands are not only providing Halal-certified products but are also contributing to the growth and diversity of the beauty industry.



Case Study: PHB Ethical Beauty


In the ever-evolving world of cosmetics, a pertinent question arises: Can brands originating from countries where Muslims are not the primary population group carve a niche for themselves in the Halal cosmetic market?


The global beauty landscape is witnessing a surge in demand for Halal-certified products, and while many might assume that only brands from Muslim-majority countries would dominate this space, the reality also includes brands from non-Muslim majority countries.

The answer is a resounding "yes," and the journey of PHB Ethical Beauty from the UK exemplifies this success.


Founded in 2012, PHB Ethical Beauty is a family-run business that has firmly established itself as a leader in the realm of ethical beauty. The brand's ethos revolves around creating products that are 100% natural, vegan, cruelty-free, and palm oil-free. Their commitment to these principles is evident in every product they craft, ensuring that consumers receive beauty solutions that are not only effective but also ethically produced (PHB Ethical Beauty).


One of the brand's significant milestones is its decision to obtain Halal certification, a move that showcases its dedication to catering to a diverse consumer base. This certification ensures that the products adhere to Islamic guidelines, particularly concerning the ingredients used and the production processes employed (PHB Ethical Beauty).


PHB's commitment to ethical beauty extends beyond product formulation. They take pride in sourcing ingredients that meet the highest ethical standards, with many being certified organic. This dedication to authenticity and ethics has not gone unnoticed. Platforms like Huda Beauty and Muslim Girl have spotlighted PHB Ethical Beauty as a brand making significant strides in the Halal beauty sector.


Lastly, the brand's dedication to social responsibility is commendable. They ensure that 20% of all their profits are channeled towards charity, specifically The One Love Foundation. This initiative underscores PHB's commitment to making a positive impact on society.



Provoking Thought: The Future of Beauty


The rise of Halal cosmetics challenges the conventional beauty industry to be more inclusive, transparent, and ethical. It's not just about looking good; it's about feeling good about the products we use and the impact we make. As we move forward, we must ask ourselves: isn't it time all cosmetics adopted these values? In the world of beauty, Halal cosmetics are more than a trend; they are a movement towards a more inclusive, ethical, and conscious future. And that is a future we can all be a part of, regardless of our beliefs.


This article is a call to action for all of us, consumers and producers alike, to rethink our choices and their impacts. Because beauty should never come at the expense of our values or our planet.



FAQs  


What are Halal cosmetics?


Halal cosmetics are beauty products that adhere to Islamic law (Shariah) and are considered permissible or lawful for use by Muslims. They must be free from ingredients that are prohibited in Islam, such as alcohol and pork derivatives, and must be produced using ethical and pure ingredients.



How do you know if cosmetics are Halal?


To know if cosmetics are Halal, look for products that have received official Halal certification from recognized authorities. These certifications ensure that the cosmetics meet strict ethical and quality standards, including the absence of forbidden ingredients and adherence to ethical production processes.



What beauty products are Halal?


Halal beauty products encompass a wide range of cosmetics, including skincare, makeup, hair care, and fragrances. These products are formulated and produced in accordance with Islamic guidelines to ensure they are permissible for use by Muslims.



Can Muslims use cosmetics?


Yes, Muslims can use cosmetics that are certified as Halal. These cosmetics are specifically formulated to meet Islamic dietary laws and ethical standards, making them suitable for use by Muslims while adhering to their religious principles.



What makes makeup not Halal?


Makeup becomes not Halal when it contains ingredients that are considered Haram (forbidden) in Islam, such as alcohol or pork derivatives. Additionally, the use of non-Halal production processes can also make makeup not Halal.



Can Muslims use vegan makeup?


Muslims can use vegan makeup if it meets the criteria for Halal certification. Vegan makeup avoids animal-derived ingredients, but it must also comply with Islamic dietary laws and ethical production practices to be considered Halal.



Is vegan the same as Halal?


Vegan and Halal are related concepts, but they are not the same. Vegan products do not contain animal-derived ingredients, while Halal products go further by ensuring the absence of forbidden ingredients according to Islamic law. A product can be both vegan and Halal if it meets the criteria for both certifications.



Are Halal cosmetics only for Muslims?


No, Halal cosmetics are not exclusively for Muslims. While they are formulated to meet Islamic dietary laws, they are also appealing to individuals who value ethical sourcing, transparency, and mindful consumerism. Halal cosmetics have a broad appeal beyond the Muslim demographic.



Can a product be both Halal and vegan?


Yes, a product can be both Halal and vegan if it meets the criteria for both certifications. Such products are free from animal-derived ingredients, comply with Islamic dietary laws, and adhere to ethical and sustainable production practices.



What does the Halal certification process involve?


The Halal certification process is rigorous and involves assessing not only the ingredients but also the entire production process. It includes the prohibition of certain ingredients, ensuring ethical production practices, and preventing cross-contamination with non-Halal substances at all stages. Certification authorities play a crucial role in verifying the authenticity of Halal cosmetics and ensuring they meet strict ethical and quality standards.


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