Why Beauty Brands Should Consider Halal Cosmetics

You don't have to be a beauty obsessive to know that Korean products have been taking over the industry lately. It's been a long time coming, but retailers including Sephora and Urban Outfitters are starting to stock big K-beauty brands like TonyMoly, Too Cool for School, and The Face Shop — expanding the reach of Korean products and making them easily accessible to the U.S. consumer (so we don't have to go through sketchy, sometimes unreliable e-commerce sites). And now, it looks like some South Korean companies are aiming to reach another large group of consumers: Muslims.

As a recent Business of Fashion article explains, Korean cosmetics manufacturers, like Talent Cosmetic, have been seeking out halal certifications — despite the fact that the Muslim population within Korea is extremely small. The main reason? Muslim consumers are spending an increasing amount of money on cosmetics. "While global Muslim spending on cosmetics was $46 billion in 2013 — 6.78% of global expenditure — it is expected to increase to $73 billion by 2019, and will make up over 8.2% of global expenditure," Sayd Farook, PhD, former global head of Islamic capital markets at Thomson Reuters, told BoF. Comparatively, the halal market is expected to increase in value from today's $23.4 billion to $45 billion by 2020.

What constitutes a halal-certified product? The formula doesn't contain parts or substances of animals like pigs and dogs, products must be handled with clean utensils, and are made with "materials that are not harmful to humans." But halal goes beyond ingredients and product-handling to include "manufacturing, packaging, distribution, and logics," Oru Mohiuddin, senior analyst, beauty and personal care at Euromonitor International, told BoF.

The rising trend of ethical well-being...will make halal cosmetics and personal-care products mainstream.

Vijay Sarathi, Analyst at Technavio

Since the halal requirements are hard to navigate, and it's more expensive to develop and manufacture products with such strict regulations, the halal beauty space is currently comprised of mostly smaller, niche companies. There's Iba Halal Care, which is based in India and includes lipsticks, body lotions, fragrances, and hair oils. There's Amara Cosmetics, which was the first company in North America to provide halal-certified products manufactured in the U.S.

A handful of mainstream brands are also looking to grab a slice of the halal-market pie. Japanese company Shiseido obtained halal certification in Vietnam in 2012, and currently sells 28 halal skin-care products under the Za brand in Malaysia; a few Estée Lauder products are listed as halal on the Muslim Consumer Group website; and a few products from Colgate-Palmolive are halal-approved, according to BoF.

If the BoF trend piece — and the fact that our beauty-savvy friends in Korea are getting in on it — is any indication, halal cosmetics will be making a bigger appearance on the market, and soon, if brands know what's good for them. Numbers don't lie, after all. Plus, more and more people are becoming conscious of what's in their beauty products, and that will undoubtedly play into halal's popularity. Vijay Sarathi, an analyst at market research firm Technavio, wisely predicts: “While the global Muslim population is forecast to grow at a rate of over 50% until 2050, factors such as the rising trend of ethical well-being and overall health and wellness will make halal cosmetics and personal-care products mainstream.”

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