Layla Mandi

Halal Cosmetics – Ethical Approach

Press Release   •   Feb 17, 2011 21:14 GMT

The emergence of Halal cosmetics on the global beauty market with a value proposition that emphasizes universal values appeals to Muslim consumers. Generally “Halal” refers to things or actions that are permissible under Shariah (Islamic law), a parameter designed for health, safety and benefit of all mankind regardless of age, faith or culture. In the scope of Halal cosmetics, the concept covers critical aspects of production including sourcing of Halal ingredients and usage of permissible substances – all must be manufactured, stored, packaged, and delivered in conformity with Shariah requirements.

What is really driving the industry’s demand is the fact that the Muslim population is now dominated by a demographic of young, adherent and dynamic professionals. They are a new generation that adopt their Islamic lifestyle and are generally knowledgeable when it comes to preserving Halal as part of daily life. Market distribution for Halal cosmetic products are yet to be fully adopted by most mainstream retailers. Analysts already predict that Halal cosmetics will be the next thing in the Islamic economy after Halal food and finance. Interestingly, Halal cosmetics are also gaining popularity amongst modern consumers of an Eco-ethical conscious, i.e. those willing to pay a premium for organic, natural and earthy cosmetics products to suit their modern lifestyle.

What is progressing now will be the emergence of Muslim home brands that are already making waves through online distribution, marketing Halal cosmetics as the choice of purity, safety and cleanliness. This new evolution surely heralds a significant potential boost in the Halal cosmetics market signalling a rapid change in consumers’ preference in making their decision when buying beauty products. As a nascent phenomenon, the Halal cosmetics industry is no stranger to issues of contention amongst Muslims particularly by Shariah scholars concerning the Halal status of ingredients and processing aids. Utilization of typical ingredients such as gelatine, alcohol, placenta, lard and collagen are ubiquitous within the mainstream cosmetics industry mainly due to their wide availability and in some cases, cost effectiveness.

Manufacturers of conventional cosmetic products also have a strong inclination to use ingredients of waste and by-products from the livestock industry with little or no regard to Halal compliance. An example of this is ingredients which are derived from the rendering industry. In the United States alone, 12.5 million tonnes of dead animals, bones, fat and meat waste, and used cooking fats and oils are heat-treated and melted down every year from hundreds of plants to cater for the cosmetics industry needs.

At this current stage, it is clear that Halal cosmetics have developed far beyond a novelty. With demand on the rise, policy makers need to march through beyond differences of ideologies in resolving contentious issues pertaining to Shariah and technical matters. Dynamic collaboration with key parallel interest groups such as organic, vegan, ethical and environmental rights will surely strengthen the value of Halal-compliant cosmetics products in the global market.

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