There is nothing in Islam that prevents women from wearing nail polish. However, the fact is that traditional nail polish places a thick coat over fingernails and toenails depending on where it’s applied. This thick coat is water resistant, meaning it doesn’t allow water to seep through.
When Muslim women attempt to do wudhu with traditional nail polish, it’s commonly accepted among scholars that it isn’t a valid ablution. Therefore, under Islamic principles, prayer with regular forms of nail polish isn’t permissible.
In the past few years, there’s been a slew of companies that claim to have made a “breathable” form of nail polish, one that they consider to be Halal. Such companies say that the materials used in their formula allow for oxygen and water vapor to penetrate through the nails.
There’s been a wave of publicity afforded to these companies, with several industry blogs and publications covering their launch. Muslim women, undoubtedly, were eager to follow these developments as it meant they could benefit from beauty products in accordance with their faith.
However, there’s been a lot of skepticism around the claims that breathable nail polish has been developed in accordance with Islamic principles.
Dr. Ali Ahmed Mashael, who is the Grand Mufti at the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai, has shed some light on the breathable nail polish phenomenon.
Speaking about the rapid proliferation of breathable nail polish in salons in Dubai, as well as the fervent interest from women in applying this nail polish, he maintains that such claims should be examined extremely carefully.
A company cannot just declare a product Halal because they believe it is. The Halal certification comes after a period of rigorous testing and can only be done from a certified Islamic body or a Fatwa from a Muslim scholar.
Most of the breathable nail polish brands in the market today haven’t obtained the necessary certifications and therefore it’s not technically correct to label them as Halal.
Some independent bloggers have tried these breathable nail polish and attempted to see whether water permeates through the outer coating.
Reem Faruqi is one of these independent reviewers. She claims that breathable nail polish doesn’t satisfy her requirements of water permeability and therefore isn’t wearing as much of it as she used to. She also points to other reviewers who have similar concerns.
Other scholars also urge Muslim women to take claims of Halal breathable nail polish with extreme care. Salah isn’t a trifling matter and therefore must be accorded the respect and seriousness that it deserves.
We conducted our own experiment too. In this experiment, you can clearly see that companies hawking breathable nail polish and claiming that they’re water permeable are in the wrong.
Water permeability can only be proven from a scientific standard. Halal certification is a serious issue and must be developed after rigorous testing from consultants well-versed in the field. In this case, it’s important to take the opinions of people in the fields of chemistry, physics, cosmetology, and biology.
At this point in time, it’s not possible to state definitively that breathable nail polish is Halal. Hence, we don’t advise you to pray with breathable nail polish as it doesn’t constitute a legitimate prayer.
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) has, however, certified Tuesday In Love’s nail polish to be in accordance with Halal principles. This was done after the requirements for water permeability were met successfully and after extensive evaluation by a qualified chemist. It is safe to pray and do wudhu with Tuesday in Love nail polish.