Animal and Alcohol-Free Cosmetics Launched in UK to Meet Demand for Halal Make-Up

Halal meat for Muslims has been a common part of everyday life in the UK for some time, but now a Muslim businesswoman has gone a step further by launching a range of halal make-up, which is free from alcohol and animal products, in the UK, the BBC reported on Friday.

The cosmetics – a full range, including lipstick, eyeliner and blusher – are made in strict accordance with Islamic law, using plant extracts and minerals instead of animal products and alcohol. Samina Akhter set up the Samina Pure make-up line from her home in Birmingham after questioning what she was putting on her skin and feeling uneasy praying whilst wearing make-up. Akhter has said that:

‘I didn’t feel comfortable praying with make-up on not knowing what was in there. When I researched [what was in my] make-up, I found there were a lot of animal products included. I was shocked to find that some products contained alcohol and even pig placenta. Many Muslim women like me have been frustrated by wanting to look good and follow their faith. I’ve had women say ‘Thank you. Now I can use products and pray without having to my make-up off.’

Akhter started importing the make-up from Australia around six months ago. The products are certified by the independent Halal Certification Authority Australia, and Samina Pure is the first company in the UK to sell Halal-certified make-up. The company now has over 500 customers in the UK and business continues to grow.

However in light of this week’s reports on the success of Samina Pure, there has been advice given and concerns raised by some Muslim leaders who claim other businesses may be cashing in on the halal cosmetic products market, and that Muslim women need to be careful in their choices of products. There is clearly a difference of opinion amongst Muslim scholars as to whether make-up from a regular high-street or supermarket brand is allowed to be used by Muslim women. Sheikh Haitham Al-Haddad states that there are two schools of thought:

‘If the product contains dead flesh or meat, any pig or haram (unlawful) animals like dogs, or any alcohol, then generally it is impermissible. But a more moderate approach is that if the product contains a very small amount of animal or alcohol, then some scholars say it is permissible. Also, if the disallowed ingredient changes into another substance through the chemical process, then some scholars say this is allowed.’

Sheikh Haitham encourages Muslim women to take the safe option and stay away from ‘doubtful matters.’ He has said that Muslims need to conduct research and be aware that some businesses could be using the halal to boost their sales. He told the BBC that ‘Sometimes people misuse or abuse this word and put halal on any product. I’ve seen the word halal stamped on fish and this is ridiculous.’

The Samina Pure range of make-up, however, is respected by Muslim elders as the only brand available in the UK that is genuinely halal. The business continues to go from strength to strength in the UK and Ms Akhter says that she hopes her range will show Muslim women in the UK and overseas that they have a choice, saying that:

‘I’m not saying [that] such and such product is haram [unlawful] and we are halal [so] you have to use us. Women have their own choices but at least they’ve [now] got the option to do that.’

I have mixed feelings about this story – on the one hand I think it is great that Samina Akhter is a woman forging a successful business career with her make-up range. I also think it’s fantastic that her products offer Muslim women more choice in how they dress and present themselves, and which brands they choose to hand over their money to.

On the other hand, the concept of wearing make-up at all seems to clash with Islamic teachings for women that eschew vanity, and there is also something that grates with me about Sheikh Haitham’s comments regarding Muslim women wearing make-up – women, no matter what their spiritual beliefs or who their God, are able to think for themselves and make their own choices without a male leader telling them what they can and cannot do. That said, I’m not a Muslim and I’m sure that I probably don’t appreciate the finer points of Islam well enough to make a balanced judgement on this story.

What do you guys think? Any Muslim readers out there who have experienced problems in finding halal cosmetics? Thoughts on this story?

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35 thoughts on “Animal and Alcohol-Free Cosmetics Launched in UK to Meet Demand for Halal Make-Up

  1. You’ve got to love a religion that will take a human being and bury them from the chest down,then bash them with rocks till death,but worry about what their eyeliner is made of.

    • It’s really beyond the point (and pretty inaccurate) to suggest than one religion is more violent or unmoral than the other- not to mention completely irrelevant to the above post.

      • I personally find it ironic and relevant,and Muslims are one of the most ignorant and violent religions on the face of this planet. How intolerant of me to state a fact!

        • I really, REALLY wish I could find a compiled list of numbers of those who have died at the hands of a religious group. Because hands down, Christians would be number 1.
          It is in no way a ‘fact’ that Muslims are the most violent and ignorant religion on the face of the planet today. For one, ignorance is very measurable, and therefore become your opinion (which I find baseless, as all religions rely on ignorance in basis), which makes it in no way a fact. For another, if there are 1.5 billion Muslims on the planet, how many of them can you actually attribute acts of violence to? Certainly that number is much, much smaller than the sum of the whole, and therefore many peaceful Muslims would argue that their religion is in no way violent at all.
          You can’t take a few ignorant and violent individuals and use them to label an entire group. If things were that easy, then I would have written off the US as a country of insane bigots a long time ago (see today’s post on Westboro Chruch)

        • My boyfriend is a Muslim so I’m fairly educated on the religion, which bases its beliefs on the practice of love and peace. How direly ignorant you must be of the world not to mention bigoted to suggest Islamic people are the most violent. What an idiotic comment you made. I suggest you read more books and newspapers to get a more accurate grasp on the world.

        • Morning- as for yourself, can’t really put your “point of view across” when eh, Joey doesn’t know everybody! So can’t go around blaming everybody!! Not intelligent at all!! I wouldv’e thought being on this page-really put some intelligence to Joey, but back biting “Muslim Society” on a page to others really, is wrong and not liked and God knows everything. I know Muslims and they would no way make a comment on the whole of a Religious Group the way it has been made!!

  2. I think it’s great that women (and anyone really) can think creatively about how to ethically source the products they consume. Women who are not Muslim can benefit from alcohol free, animal product free make-up. This would go down a storm at my alma matter Swarthmore. But I have a suspicion it would go even further if marketed as “green” rather than halal. The Muslim women in know in the UK suffer more from the prejudice of non-Muslims than the do from Muslim ideas.

    • While it’s true, I also happen to find Muslim women in the UK are a very close-knit group. I barely talk to any Muslim girl, they all stick together – it goes both ways.

      • Erm, if “mireee” ever, ever, spoke to anybody of them in her life, then she would really have found tthem to be not as unkind as you, I live in a predominanty , English Society, with hardly any minorities here, and I can say better about them than that, shouldn’t really slander other women when somebody such as yourself opens the mouth really wide and starts putting views across in that manner… even smiling is a form of offerring something, ever thought that? That’s how to make friends and make a start and should definately get a smile back!! Somebody has to make a start! Oh and loyalty to any human being doesn’t go a miss- ” Back biting”.

  3. Interesting, it could also be considered vegan, straight edge, and possibly kosher. I’d imagine it is probably also sourced from production methods that avoid animal testing/cruelty. While I personally am not Muslim and wear very little make-up, I can see the point of joining entrenpreneurship with beliefs and values, in a way that will probably make a lot of people more comfortable and happy.

    I hesitate to respond at all to the above comments made by “Joey,” since I suspect it will just add fuel to the troll-fire, you clearly don’t understand what irony is, let alone what Islam is. There’s no factual basis for your ignorance, and just because you claim it’s “a fact” without having any other useful information does not make it so. Intolerant and violent people can be found in just about every religion’s extremist fringes, just like basically decent people with common sense can also be found within most belief systems. I think you might as well stop posting inflammatory opinions here, you’re just making yourself look lazy, and uncreative in your attempts to provoke. Either that, or if you honestly believe what you’ve written, maybe you should go and do a little bit more research from unbiased sources. There’s an old saying: better to remain silent and have people think you might be a fool, rather than open your mouth and have it be confirmed beyond a doubt.

      • Prove it.
        Who collected these statistics? What country did they pertain to? How were these declarations of ‘violence in the name of Jihand’ made? How does this number relate to other crimes made in the name of some other God?
        Because as far as I can tell, this has come from a book by a man who condones torture, and believes that the current president is in cahoots with Islamic extremists. Not really coming off as an unbiased statistician to me.

  4. Forgive me if this sounds ignorant or intolerant, but this just seems kind of silly. The idea that a woman feels the need to remove her makeup in order to be able to pray? Really? I take a dim view of organized religion and organizations that tell people what they can’t do, so admittedly I’m rather biased. But the fact that the quoted woman felt that she could not pray–something that everyone should feel comfortable doing no matter what their circumstances—because of her makeup seems totally ridiculous.

    • Morning, but hey! it is really about your principles, a Vegetarian, wouldn’t buy meat, let alone touch meat! Principles there! A muslim wouldn’t buy the product with the meat that is in there! They too think about being kind to the animals, same as alcohol which is seen as forbidden( just like Eve ate that forbidden fruit and learnt that it was wrong and covered herself up with shame to give herself some dignity and got split apart from Adam as a part of her punishment)- so being forbidden means it is wrong, wrong to principally buy something that is forbidden. Being kind to animals, and kind to your body with alcohol.

  5. Generally, this is commercialism at its best. There are plenty of vegan products that Muslim women could have felt comfortable wearing. The development of a new product is just a business that takes advantage of the fact that Arab women wear the most pounds of makeup per capita in the world. (There have already been some news stories on that matter) Whether Muslim women who are ordered to be modest should in fact use any makeup at all is a highly complex question. However, most of my Muslim girl friends wearing headscarves wear expensive makeup and lingerie. One Saudi woman friend of mine, thanks to perfect and expensive makeup use, looks 20 years younger than her age. As an American woman with no clue how to use makeup, I could learn some beauty techniques from some of my Muslim girl friends. I think your blog has inspired me to research this psychological / religious question further.

    • Morning, all women have the right to treat themselves- not just the non-Muslims. Besides, what happenned to looking at ourselves and how much we do do help the poor and needy- they are starving!! So help them. Also- in terms of modesty, it really is about self preservation, and not “showing” and “flaunting” which Islam is not about at all, I’d do some research, and look inside own self, and being respectful about underwear buying and make up, as it is confidential and to keep dignity in society.

  6. Reading some comments is like reading a haiku, reaaaaally need to fix them.

    As for the make up, I thought Muslim women weren’t allowed to wear any? I find it highly hypocritical of them to be modest and poor while wearing a hiyab but then slapping on a €30 Chanel foundation on their faces. I have seen that a lot while living in the UK, especially amongst young girls.

    • Err, excuse me, if somebody affords a Chanel Foundation and does it as a treat! I don’t see why not… as for Islam, should look at other religions love- don’t they say anything at all about wearing make-up, other religions don’t forbid it, as far as I am aware, as for hypocrisy- shouldn’t really go around calling people hypocrites, and finding a chance to talk about soembeody

  7. Miree? Where the hell have you been, girl?

    Why on earth would you think that Muslim women aren’t allowed to wear makeup? Are you perhaps confusing them with the Amish or Mennonites? Luddites?

    I was brought up in the Nazarene church, and until the 60′s, women were forbidden to wear makeup, cut their hair or wear pants of any sort. They were also required to cover their hair in church. It was also a sin to play cards. And dance. I vaguely remember one particularly fiery sermon on the “evil” inherent in the peace sign.

    Joey, hon – you really gotta stop listening to those conspiracy theorists.

  8. I thought this was a fascinating read, and I was more surprised to see Muslim issues on this site! Perhaps these products can, as some other readers mentioned, be marketed as green or eco-friendly products. It’s very nice to see makeup diversifying, even if it’s in the context of religion.

    Of course, as much as I love makeup, as a Muslim woman I’d think it more appropriate to downplay it a little. Because really, who are we making ourselves up for? If it’s for ourselves to look good, that’s fine. If we’re trying to over-do ourselves for the sake of other people, then I think that defies the whole point of modesty. Then again, if we want to look good for our spouses, so that they keep their eyes on us, I think we can fall back on these Halal makeup options. Good read!

    • Not all Muslim Females do… and really need to look around yourself love, who does all the Cat Walk Shows? The European Models, hmm, Muslim women need equality too and as for opinions, hmm, how many muslim women got seen? So need to look at others around too, and think what can be done in thinking to yourself. If they are covered, wearing more than a whit mini skirt and being promiscuosly, then, they are really doing good. Respect, I doubt it that they are flaunting, other religions wear make up too. Down to knowledge.

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