In recent years there’s been an increasing demand for the development and sale of halal cosmetics, and companies worldwide have responded. Halal cosmetics have been on the rise since 2013 and sales are estimated to hit well over $60 billion within the next 5-10 years globally. But what really constitutes “halal makeup” and how do we know if we’re getting the real thing?
For Muslims, the term “halal” mean’s permissible, and in the context of food, it specifically refers to anything that does not contain alcohol, pork (or pork products), or from any animal that is not slaughtered according to Islamic law and traditions (similar to the concept of Kosher). However, when we’re talking about cosmetics, its implications might not just adhere to the ingredients, but also the source of the ingredients and manner in which they’re manufactured, as well as the avoidance of animal testing and animal cruelty.
If you’ve ever read the list of ingredients on your favourite lipstick or eyeshadow, you might not be able to deduce where exactly each ingredient is derived from, let alone be able to pronounce some of them. And many of your favourite beauty products might contain ingredients that are derived from animal fat, hooves, or other obscure body parts.
Although animal testing is banned in many countries, there are still several mainstream companies that continue to test on animals in countries where animal cruelty laws have not yet been passed or implemented. Among these countries, China, Korea, and Russia have the largest cosmetics manufacturing plants that supply some of the world’s largest cosmetics distributors. The good news however, is that many western, South American and European countries (including Canada, Brazil, UK, and Turkey) don’t allow for animal testing and have very strong public and privately funded organizations that help prohibit such practices. For many Muslim consumers, not only has this requirement in halal cosmetics increased the awareness of animal cruelty, but has also played a critical role in shifting the manufacturing practices of many companies towards more ethical cosmetics.
Finally, one of the most interesting developments in the halal makeup market has been an increase in demand for “child labour free” cosmetics. According to the International Labour Organization, over 165 million children worldwide are involved in child labour. A large percentage of this includes children who work in dangerous mines to extract minerals, or in large factories in the assembly of the products. However, several companies have taken a stance against these practices and incorporated them into their marketing campaigns. Tuesday in Love received much attention when we launched our halal certified cosmetics line and began distributing Canadian made products. We believe that Halal is no longer just about permissible ingredients, it’s also about permissible sourcing, development, and business ethics. We want our customers to have the satisfaction of knowing that when they buy halal, they’re also helping to make a difference in the world by raising awareness about child labour.
As we see the growth of the halal cosmetics industry there will indeed be more questions about what makes something “halal”. However, it may also encourage innovation that will hopefully challenge the norms of the industry and improve the course of its development and practices.