The Struggle to Find Halal Cosmetics Online
Unless you’re living in a country where the dominant religion is Islam, finding cosmetics and personal care products that are halal can prove difficult. Certification of cosmetics in western countries is pretty rare, so it’s difficult to know where the best place to shop is. Lots of Muslim women opt for vegan and natural products out of necessity, but there is no guarantee that these are 100% halal, as many do still contain alcohol.
Online retailers are moving towards the natural beauty trend, and halal products are being unknowingly swept along. However, there’s often very little clarification on beauty websites about whether these products are actually halal-certified or not. We’ve put on our investigative journalist hats to find out how easy it is to find halal products online via large-scale retailers, and what the situation actually is.
We’ll start with a winner. Ecco Verde are leading the industry with their e-commerce site that allows you to filter products based upon certifications, including halal certification. Although the choice of products is pretty slim, the clarity over which ones are halal is truly a game-changer.
Halal brands stocked by Ecco Verde, as per their website:
- FAIR Squared
- Paul Penders
- PHB Ethical Beauty
Cult Beauty is a big name in the online beauty retailer game. Famed for having a huge selection of brands and products for customers to try, and bringing to light the products that actually do what they say on the tin. The Cult Conscious initiative, launched by Cult Beauty this year, aims to:
‘cut through the industry ‘noise’ and equip you with key facts that matter… [and] digitally verify the wealth of information that pervades the beauty realm; from whether a product is vegan and cruelty-free to whether it’s housed in recyclable packaging, simply look for the tick to establish each product’s credentials.’
That said, there’s a distinct lack of clarification on their website over which products are halal-certified – where is the tick for halal?
We reached out to Cult Beauty, asking why they don’t specify which products are halal, and for a list of certified brands/products that they stock. This is what they came back with:
“Halal certified brands are not a menu option we currently have, but I’m going to pass this request on to the relevant team as I think this would be a really great category for us to look at having.
For now, I would be unable to confidently recommend a list of Halal certified brands for you, as there is currently no EU regulation on this and is therefore open to interpretation. I do know that the Huda Beauty brand is vegetarian and working on becoming 100% Halal shortly.”
Although they didn’t feel confident to recommend the products, we were super impressed that our request was a) taken seriously and b) taken into consideration. We’ll be keeping an eye out on Cult Beauty for any changes to their site related to halal and will report back if anything comes into fruition.
Content Beauty Wellbeing
Given that Content Beauty Wellbeing is all about natural and organic beauty, it was a surprise to discover that halal certification wasn’t amongst their listed certifications. The products on their site all look absolutely amazing, but the lack of clarification is disappointing.
The ‘badges’ on their website are designed to offer a simplified way for consumers to tell whether a product has gained certification from a particular regulatory body. The badges label the products that are: Certified Organic, Vegan, Great British, Gluten Free, Cruelty Free, Charitable, Recycled Materials, Upcycled, Certified Material, Resource Innovation, Waste Innovation, Design Innovation.
No sign of halal. Nevertheless, when you search for halal-certified in the website search bar, Inika Organic comes up, so it’s not that the retailer doesn’t stock any halal brands, it’s just that they haven’t yet made it visible on their menu or in their filters.
Although Escentual don’t offer customers the opportunity to filter products by certification, their filtering system is so comprehensive that it is actually possible to find vegan products that do not contain silicones, parabens or alcohol simply because you can filter based on ingredients that products do not contain.
That said, there’s still a lack of visibility around products that are halal-certified and based on their list of brands, we’re not entirely certain that Escentual even stock any.
Based on the response that we received from Cult Beauty, we decided to also contact FeelUnique, who are another big online beauty retailer, to see if they’d suggest a change to their site.
We asked them for a list of the halal brands that they stock, and to give credit to FeelUnique, they did provide an answer. Unlike Cult Beauty though, there was no talk of making website changes to accommodate halal.
“Thank you for your email. Please find below some Halal Cosmetic Brands:
- Inika Organics
- PHB ethical Beauty”
Kudos to FeelUnique for having the answer at hand to be able to provide us with, but does this just prove that we’re not the only people asking these questions? And if so, why hasn’t it been made easier to get answers? It’s great that FeelUnique offer halal brands, but we do feel that their halal range has room for growth.
LookFantastic is all about premium beauty ‘carrying over 22,000 products with complimentary worldwide shipping to over 200 countries’ – that’s an impressive claim. We had a look at their website and there’s no doubt that it’s jam-packed with products, but there’s nothing about halal on the menu or in the filtering options. If you type ‘halal’ into the search bar, however, Inika Organic and NailBerry come up in the results.
Again, slim pickings on the range of products available, but at least the right products come up when you use the search bar. LookFantastic do also have a vegan category for their skincare and makeup sections, which is somewhat helpful, but again you’d still need to do further research on the ingredients of each vegan product to figure out if any of them contain alcohol.
Last but certainly not least is Sephora. The thing about Sephora is that a) it’s not available in the UK and b) its product range differs depending upon the region. We know for a fact that Sephora stores in the Asia Pacific region stock halal brands and if we were to ask those particular stores which products are halal, they’d be able to give us a full list. However, on the European website there is no sign of halal certification. Their filtering system is also not comprehensive enough to enable us to filter out products with certain ingredients.
Turns out Sephora makes it pretty difficult for you to get in contact with them over email, so we had to message their Instagram account instead. Again, we asked for a list of halal certified products, and this is what they came back with:
‘We do not have this information available. We’re sorry about that!
Sephora Instagram Team’
Halal products are difficult to find online through a beauty retailer unless you’ve done your research beforehand and know exactly what brands and products you’re looking for. It’s likely that Muslim women living in Europe and the UK have to either shop on specific brand’s websites or rely on checking the ingredients. Relying on checking the label can leave some feeling a lack of complete confidence that the products they have selected are 100% halal. Certification rules out these underlying questions.
What it really comes down to is that certification of beauty products isn’t yet a mainstream trend in Europe; brands haven’t yet spotted that there’s a demand and therefore haven’t gone the certification route. This means a lack of expectation on beauty retailers to be specific on the halal products that they stock.
A good thing that has come out of this is that Cult Beauty might be taking this into consideration. It could come to nothing, but like we said we’ll keep an eye on it and keep pushing – we can be hopeful that if one online retailer makes the change, others will follow.