Alhamdulillah, these days we are seeing an increase of halal-certified products in the cosmetic market industry. More companies are finding importance and seeing the positive results in making products to cater to all beliefs and practices. In addition to this, we see how many brands are competing to create a halal range of products that practising Muslims can wear.
First Of All, What Is Halal?
Halal is an Arabic word for lawful or permitted. Halal is commonly used in reference to meat or food, but most recently has taken effect in personal care products, cosmetics and more recently, nail polish. For something to be considered halal, it must meet halal criteria and be free from any component that Muslims are prohibited from consuming according to Islamic (Shariah) Law. It must also be processed, produced, manufactured and stored using utensils, equipment or machinery that have been cleansed according to Islamic law. There are many beauty products that are not halal. This is because many ingredients in these products are prohibited in the Qur’an. This includes alcohol and other ingredients that are harmful or derived from animals & insects.
What Makes Most Nail Polishes Haram?
Many formulas include the prohibited ingredients described above. Additionally, nail polishes are also not breathable & do not let water or air through to the nails. You may ask why should this matter?
This act of washing before prayer is referred to as performing “Wudu”- wudhu is a ritual washing of the hands, lower arms, face, head, and feet that is completed before performing the five daily prayers – salah. Traditional polishes form a barrier over the nail, therefore oxygen and water are unable to touch the skin itself. Practising Muslims need to completely remove nail polish before prayer and later apply it again. The constant application & removal of nail products is not only an inconvenience but can also be damaging to the nails and cuticles especially the ones that contain all the nasty ingredients!
So, What Is Halal Nail Polish?
I would say Halal certified nail polish is a polish that does not contain any harmful chemicals and haram ingredients that will be considered impure to pray in. A halal certified, breathable nail polish that allows oxygen and water to pass through does not necessarily mean it is wudhu friendly. We know that the technology used to form these polishes is similar to what is used in contact lenses where the water is able to penetrate through the lens to the eyes, but unfortunately when conducting these tests at home not all nail polish brands have been able to reach the nail, and even when it has there’s no proof or confirmation that it will reach the whole nail. Halal nail polish is however much healthier for the nails in general, the formulas used to allow the nails to breathe and are usually created with less harmful ingredients making them much kinder to your nails.
Are Halal And Vegan The Same?
Many people are curious to know the difference between Halal and Vegan cosmetic products. It’s interesting to know that yes, there is a difference. If a product is halal, although it is rare, it’s not always considered to be vegan, as muslims are allowed to use ingredients such as beeswax, honey and animal fats that have been halal sourced from halal animals. Vegans are not allowed to use such ingredients and if a beauty product is vegan, that does not necessarily mean that it is halal. Vegan cosmetics can sometimes contain alcohol and some alcohols can make the cosmetic product impure for Muslims. Make sure to read a product’s ingredients and/or look for the halal logo on the packaging to ensure it is certified halal.
What Are The Benefits Of Wearing Halal Nail Polish?
Halal and vegan nail polishes are the much healthier alternative to your regular nail polish. Once you know about the harmful chemicals in a typical nail polish, you’ll never go back. Many top nail brands use harsh ingredients such as, formaldehyde, toluene and DBP, that are known to cause cancer or contribute to other negative health concerns. The water-permeability aspect of these Halal & Vegan brands allows for oxygen and water to penetrate through the nail polish and allow the nails to breathe. You can now say goodbye to thin, brittle nails and enjoy innovative nail polish formulas with good pigmentation and wear-ability that are certified & completely cruelty-free. Sacrificing quality for a healthier alternative is now history!
How Can You Prove That A Breathable Nail Polish Is Wudu-Friendly?
Well, in theory, if oxygen permeates a film then hydrogen attached to oxygen (water) can also travel through the film. Most halal nail varnish cosmetic companies will test their products in a laboratory setting, where they are able to demonstrate that oxygen can transfer from one side of the film to the other in a diffusion chamber. If the outcome is positive, then the theory is satisfied. Experimentally, a nail polish film sample is put inside a diffusion chamber separating the two halves of the chamber. Oxygen flows into the top of the chamber and an oxygen-free carrier gas flows into the other half on the other side of the film. This experiment concludes that water passes through the surface of the polish, making the product “breathable” and “Wudu-friendly”. Here is an example of a public experiment Inglot did to show it’s effects:
Additionally, many beauty influencers & youtubers have undertaken home experiments themselves where they apply the layers of polish on a tissue, allowed it to dry and then applied droplets of water to the top to see if it comes through. I found this really interesting because there was a difference in results depending on the number of layers of nail polish there was. In conclusion many of them didn’t recommend applying more than 2 coats of thin, evenly layered polish to the nails. Applying the polish in this process will help to ensure the permeability of the product.
Here are some instructions on how to conduct a test at home for yourself:
- Place one coat of nail varnish on a small area of paper towel or coffee filter. (Allow to completely dry)
- Place another paper towel underneath to help confirm the results
- Using an eyedropper, place two drops of water in the center of the dried nail varnish
- Confirm results by checking the bottom of the paper towel and it should be wet/damp. The second piece of paper towel may be damp.
Here is a good example of a halal certified nail polish test carried out by Hashima Watts that shares her experience & conclusion on the Orley brand’s breathable polish range:
This Polish brand was the very first on the market to create varnish that allows air & moisture to pass through to the nail, and it’s due to this permeability, that it is said to comply with the requirements of wudhu. It’s interesting to note that even though Poland has only a very tiny Muslim population, this is the land where one of the most popular halal nail polish comes from, and it comes in a whole rainbow of shades!
This is definitely a brand that has gained the most popularity in terms of it being more water permeable with their revolutionary micro-pore technology, their halal nail polish allows water molecules to penetrate through the semipermeable color membrane much easier and faster than other known brands. Tuesday in Love is a Canadian company specializing in Halal certified makeup and skincare as well as it’s unique Halal certified water permeable nail polish. You can view some of their product video reviews here.
Maya’s nail polish is as clean as clean can be: they’re certified halal, 9-free, vegan, and verified water permeable. For Muslims, their site includes a special wudhu tutorial, with instructions on how to take special care while washing the nails. They have an impressive colour range with even glitters and metallic options – which are normally harder to find in other brands.
The Andrea halal Line is a Portuguese brand certified halal by an official certification body, it’s permeable to water as well as to steam, oxygen and humidity, permitting the nail to “breathe”. Contains no nasty chemicals such toluene, formaldehyde, camphor & DBP. Comes in a nice collection of long lasting intense colours that are chip resistant with prime coverage
All Zahara’s products are vegan, cruelty-free and on top of being founded by a Muslim woman believing that “Inclusivity should no longer be a trend, it should be a benchmark“. Alia believes her brand is more than just nail polish, she further states that it’s a celebration of women putting themselves first – their dreams, their well-being and their beliefs. “It’s not about meeting the expectations of others, but to carve our own paths and to live life on our own terms.”
Zahara nail polish formula is not tested on animals, they are Vegan & cruelty-free, halal-certified and 10 Free (meaning their nail polish is non-toxic)
Lena breathable nail polishes were created for the sophisticated, health-conscious woman looking for great colours and quality. All their polishes are vibrant, rich and long-lasting giving them a beautiful finish with a quick drying time. Lena aims to create gorgeous shades ranging from subtle hues to funkier shades keeping up with the latest trends. I also love the naming of their range, combined with the sparkly glitter options, it makes the experience that little bit extra fun. They state they are halal-friendly on their website, however they do not have certification from what I can see.
Vivian Kondor’s unique halal henna nail polish formulation allows moisture and oxygen to pass through the pores in the polish making it permeable, kinder to your nails, breathable & more hygienic. The added henna in the polish protects your nails due to the Keratin in it which is a protein that strengthens the nails & prevents them from becoming weak or split easily. The formula is also 7 FREE which means it doesn’t contain the following chemicals: Toluene, Dibutyl Phthalate, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, Camphor, Triphenyl Phosphate and Xylene.
Orly offers salon-quality manicures in Minutes with no basecoat or topcoat needed, their nail polish is infused with Argan Oil, Pro-Vitamin B5 + Vitamin C and boasts a 13-Free Formula that prevents chipping & peeling. All the breathable colour range are certified halal, vegan & cruelty-free. Please note that according to the video review above, the Orly nail polish did not show to allow any water through the dried polish. I would recommend self-testing yourself, however, I am highlighting these brands for their healthier formula and halal certification only, and not as a wudhu friendly nail polish.
Iba is all about No Impurities & Pure Beauty. Iba specialises in makeup, skincare & haircare as well as nail polish, their products enhance beauty without damaging the skin or hair. All Iba products are certified halal & free of alcohol, pig fat, other animal-derived ingredients, sulfates and parabens.
786 Cosmetics is not only certified Halal, but it is also vegan-friendly, and cruelty-free, too. You can safely wear these polishes knowing they contain no toxins like formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, camphor, DBP, xylene or parabens. I love that their gorgeous colours and names of their product range were inspired by Muslim cities around the world. I thought the Marrakech bold red, representing the “Rose City” was cute, and being Moroccan I could relate 😉
Karma Organics have Spas in two New Jersey locations, USA. They cater for environmentally-conscious, vegan & Muslim clients & have assured a focus on the natural nail care & products, as well as an amazing boutique spa experience. Please note that the brand has a Halal certified range of products which is displayed in a separate page on their website, indicating that not ALL of their products on their website may be halal.
Nailberry’s award-winning 12-free, vegan-friendly polishes are inspired by nature, health, and wellness. The company started as a luxury nail bar in London, and when the owners noticed their client’s nails were brittle and discoloured, they set out to make a better polish. I love their collection of pastel pinks, purples, and reds that are perfect for spring and summer. They are also 12-free, vegan, gluten-free, and certified by the International Halal Integrity Alliance.
Lab/Halal-Certified, Vegan, Cruelty-Free, Non-GMO, 10-Free Breathable Nail Polishes Made in the USA and contain nourishing ingredients like Vitamins B5, C, and Argan Oil to help keep nails strong and healthy!
Three Beauties is a heritage UK based beauty brand that offers quality products that are safe and affordable. Their formulation is vegan, plant-and-mineral based, 9-free and certified by International Halal Integrity Alliance. Their collection boasts 24 colours in a spectrum of vivid hues as well as special effects and brilliant finishes.
Art of Beauty was founded in 1986 by Zoya and Michael Reyzis. The couple, originally from Russia, had a shared vision which evolved from a small nail salon into a spa focusing on natural nails, skincare and alternative European herbal treatments. Today, the company has grown to become a manufacturer of the most innovative professional beauty products ever created. Their brands include Zoya, Qtica, Smart Spa and Zoom. Their nail polish is certified vegan and cruelty-free but I couldn’t find any halal certification.
Sisters – There’s no doubt that halal nail polish is so much better for your nails than the regular brands. It’s vegan-friendly, free of drying alcohol & harmful chemicals, it’s breathable and water permeable, which means you’re never left with dry, flaky, yellow nails. And of course, you don’t have to be Muslim to enjoy the benefits!
But if you are Muslim, you’ll know that traditionally, Muslim women never dreamed of wearing nail polish outside of their non-praying period due to the wudhu restriction. Wudhu is a ritual of purification and the key to accepted salah, and salah is the key to Jennah. Wudhu has to be performed in the correct (halal) manner, water must touch all parts of the aforementioned body parts, not just some parts. Many Muslim sisters have foregone wearing nail polish for years because by applying the lacquer to their nails they would be blocking water from touching them.
Then came the invention of this, breathable nail varnish that allows molecules of water and oxygen through to the nail, giving many Muslim women a seemingly wudu friendly option. Unfortunately, this has caused much confusion and controversy as to whether or not we as practising Muslim women should be wearing this so-called wudhu friendly nail polish freely throughout our daily life and in our prayers while not knowing for sure if it’s REALLY getting to the complete parts of the nail.
This was a beneficial & thought-provoking talk by Mufti Menk that definitely shed some light onto what you would consider a priority. I would recommend watching it to explain some concerns:
In conclusion, I would definitely prefer to purchase & apply halal nail polish for it’s healthier benefits & halal ingredients. Having said that I would like to clarify that I, personally wouldn’t want to risk wearing it during my praying period. I would only consider enjoying my pretty nails during Aunt Flows visits or maybe when attending a special occasion. Let’s not forget that one should also be cautious on how they beautify themselves before going out in public.
Another important point to add to this, is that many people will not understand that you are actually wearing halal nail varnish and therefore you may be giving the wrong impression to non- Muslims and fellow Muslims alike. I personally have witnessed on one occasion in a masjid, a sister giving nasiha/advice/dawah to another sister about her nail polish just assuming it is not halal. If we in some way or form provoke or encourage someone else to do a disliked or doubtful act, we too can be held accountable for that. ;(
So, when I come across this youtube video by sister Melanie from Haute Hijab, I just simply had to share because she explains it perfectly masha Allah:
It would be great to share your opinions, feelings and conclusions about the subject in the comments section below, there is much debate on the matter and it would be quite interesting & beneficial to hear other people’s views!