When model Halima Aden first walked the runway in 2017, and later starred in major fashion campaigns for brands like Nike, she opened many eyes to the severe lack of representation of Muslim women in both the fashion and beauty industries. It took time before she was joined in the spotlight by other Muslim models like Ugbad Abdi and Asha Mohamud. In the last several years, representation has begun to extend beyond the catwalk into the beauty space, as brands make a conscious effort to appeal to Muslim skin care and makeup lovers.
Skin-care brand Flora & Noor has been a pioneer in a very crowded space, recently becoming the first halal-certified brand to be carried at Ulta Beauty. Halal is a general label for ingredients that are considered lawful to use, according to Islamic law, which most non-Muslim folks will probably associate with food, particularly meats. However, the label can be applied to a range of items, including beauty products, that Muslims may use in their daily life.
While not all Muslims strictly seek out halal items, for those who do, seeking out halal-certified beauty products is especially important. “Muslims pray five times per day, and before we pray we need to make what we call ‘wudu or ablution’ and cleanse ourselves in many specific steps,” Jordan Karim, founder of Flora & Noor tells Allure. “In order to do this you must remove fake nails, makeup, and more. But you do not have to remove halal products, which is why halal-certified products exist,” Karim adds.
For a product to be halal-certified, it has to go through vigorous testing to ensure it upholds the standards of the Islamic Society of the Washington Area (ISWA) Halal Certification Department, which evaluates and certifies companies and brands across industries When it comes to skin care, halal products can’t contain alcohol or many animal by-products, including gelatin, squalene, and lanolin; however, beeswax and honey are allowed. There is an emphasis on cruelty-free practices and being conscious of the environment — but products aren’t necessarily vegan.