You are a fashionable Muslim woman. You dress modestly and are careful with your use of makeup and skin care products. But have you ever thought about how those products are made? Do they contain alcohol? If there is beef fat in them, is it zabiha halal beef?
Luckily, the Muslim Consumer Group has done some of the research for you. Founded in 2000 by Syed Rasheeduddin Ahmed, the site covers food products as well as cosmetics and personal care items. The site also offers a Halal certification for manufacturers who submit information on their raw materials, processing and ingredients.
Ahmed, who is a food scientist, said he contacts companies for ingredient lists and relies on users of the website (some 2,400 a day) to update him as they gather more information. He was involved in the publication of the first book about Halal foods in 1985, and decided to create his own website to keep updating his research into foods, restaurant offerings and personal care products.
“I’m not a cosmetic chemist but I know what ingredients are used in cosmetics,” Ahmed said. “You can’t really say if cosmetics are Halal since that certification would require an inspection of the plant to find out what processes are being used. That would take too much time.”
Not Halal but not contrary
Ahmed has a list of products on his crowdsourced website. He cited Neutrogena andEstee Lauder as companies that fit the guidelines. DMGM/Max Care products, which are manufactured in the United Arab Emirates, are certified, but Ahmed said his focus is on the American market.
“The shipping costs would be prohibitive for most of our site’s users,” Ahmed said. “Our focus is on consumers in America.”
For body care, Cetaphil is free of animal products and alcohol as is Lubriderm Fragrance-Free Daily Moisture Lotion. Alcohol is often used to convey fragrance. Some companies have not responded to queries by Ahmed or his website users about this. One tip: if you see ethyl alcohol listed in a product’s ingredients, don’t use it. The Muslim Consumer Group’s website has a list of Halal and Haram ingredients.
The Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA) devoted an article in its Winter 2008 issue to Halal cosmetics with a detailed description of Halal, Mashbooh and Haram ingredients. IFANCA also offers its own Halal certification. Among the easily available brands that have gained its certification are Tom’s of Maine, Sunrider International, Aloe Corporation and At Last Naturals.
In addition to breaking down a list of ingredients, the article addresses adornment in the context of Islam. For example, makeup used to appear more self-confident and pleasant is permissible. Bad taste and overdoing it is not. It is OK to pray wearing nail polish, but you must apply it after the ablution. For body products and ablution, it depends on the product.
Halal cosmetics online
A fashionable, modest Muslim woman may want other options, especially when it comes to makeup. The Sweet Modesty website, which contains news for Muslim women about fashion, beauty and culture, listed 11 make-up and personal care companies whose products contained no ingredients from animals, no alcohol and are cruelty free. Amara and UK-based Miracle Halal Mineralz, have makeup as their primary focus. Others, including Hussana, Saaf, and Shifa have skin care covered. Hussana’s line includes baby care products so you can get your little one off to the right start.
The Saaf products came from founder Dr. Mah Hussain-Gambles’ desire to soothe a skin condition her mother had. The balm worked when nothing else had so she developed a line of skin care products. Many of the lines have their own websites or Facebook pages and take orders through one or both. However, not all of the sites are active. California-based One Pure lists only two prices for its Crème and Cleanser and links lead to review submissions, not a shopping cart. Its Facebook page has only 134 followers.
California-based Amara Halal Cosmetics manufactures and packages all of its products, according to the Islamic Codes of Law. The company takes its name from the Arabic woman’s name Amara, meaning “Eternal beauty, lasting forever, always existing, unfading.” The site also caters to non-Muslim women who want quality, natural products.
Hussana, which is UK-based, ships to the United States. The company just started selling their products in Australia and New Zealand.
Source: Fashionable Muslim Women