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Your skin is the biggest organ in your body. It absorbs everything, so you're consuming [products] indirectly.
Like with organic products, if a company wishes to make a halal claim on a product it must go through the appropriate certification channels. But, as we've covered extensively with the organic market, many companies "greenwash" using misleading terms to make consumers think they are buying organic. That's why it's important to look for official seals (like the USDA Organic seal). The same applies to halal cosmetics.
Many believe that halal is a lifestyle in addition to a religious belief. At Honest Chops, Imam Latif and his employees put a premium on accountability — not only in the butchery's adherence to Islam but to environmental and humanitarian ethics as well. "Halal is not just about meat or food — it's a lifestyle," he says. "The preservation of life is one of the primary objectives of Islamic law, although popular media rhetoric might have you believe otherwise."
The preservation of life is one of the primary objectives of Islamic law.
In Singapore, Australia, or Malaysia, if you were to go to Sephora's website and search for halal products you'd be brought to a page that groups halal and vegan products together. This is common in the beauty industry, as many halal cosmetics companies position their products in line with vegan ones — something Imam Latif believes is a result of business owners' desire to enter a new market.
According to Imam Latif, many Muslims purchase "alternative lifestyle products" like vegan items because they feel like they can't trust the halal industry. "There are a lot of Muslims who become vegan, vegetarian, or adopt a kosher lifestyle because they are frustrated with halal products on the market," he says.
There are a lot of Muslims who become vegan, vegetarian, or adopt a kosher lifestyle because they are frustrated with halal products on the market.
According to Ghanim, the absence of a governing certification body means that many businesses self-certify. "Some [smaller companies] try to bypass certification and not pay to get it done, and most of the time they get away with it," he says. This is not to say that any brand that self-certifies is not halal, but that since there is no mandatory independent regulating body, consumers should steer clear of blindly purchasing products simply because they are labeled halal.
The halal industry has plenty of room to grow, and for an industry that is worth billions we certainly expect it to. More and more businesses around the world are tapping into the halal cosmetics ideology, eyeing potential Middle Eastern and South Asian consumers. Japanese company Shiseido obtained halal certification in Vietnam in 2012, and currently sells 28 halal skin-care products under the Za brand in Malaysia. Even brands like Estée Lauder and Colgate-Palmolive have products that are halal-approved.