Can halal cosmetics outgrow their Islamic beauty niche?
Thursday evening at a luxury, Pharaonic-themed spa in Dubai. Emirati women, colorful eye makeup contrasting with their black robes, wait by a bronze statue of a smiling Cleopatra for their weekend beauty treat.
The mineral-based skincare range used at the spa is free of pork and alcohol derivatives. Supplier Charlotte Proudman hopes to register it as compliant with sharia, or Islamic law, tapping into a growing trend for “halal cosmetics” in the mostly-Muslim Middle East and among the world’s estimated 1.6 billion Muslims.
(Photo: Halal makeup applied to Sabah Zaib in Birmingham, central England, July 28, 2010/Darren Staples)
“I really want to put this onto our packaging so that our clients can be reassured that our products are halal, and that they can feel consistent in their religious beliefs,” Proudman said at the spa she launched in 2008. “I really feel that halal cosmetics have a future. I don’t think that a Muslim man or a Muslim lady should compromise their beliefs for a skincare range that will work well for them.”
The word halal, Arabic for permissible, is often used to describe meat slaughtered and prepared in line with Islamic law. Halal beauty products, which comprise $500 million of the $2 trillion global halal market, are made using plant extracts and minerals rather than the alcohol and pork ingredients that are banned in Islam but often found in cosmetics.