Salam Alaikum, I am not an Islamic Scholar but I am a devout Muslim and a Vegan, having studied Quran and Hadiths from Sunni and Shi’a sects I feel competent to answer this question.
Islam is extremely contextual. It’s rules about conduct between friends, strangers and family members are very circumstantial. Men and women are both encouraged to take immaculate care of their grooming, self care and hygiene. It is a mandatory obligation.
However, there are a few things that should be taken note of:
- The use of makeup on a person who is not an adult (a child) is not allowed.
- Makeup routines in excess, designed to draw attention from the opposite sex, male or female is not allowed.
- Makeup is permitted if the adult is married, the husband and wife both agree that wearing makeup in a particular way is acceptable.
- In Islam, mutual consent on anything between a married couple is paramount.
Yes, the products themselves are not derived from animal products or living things and therefore are considered to be halal. But, as I mentioned above it is not about the vegan makeup product but how the vegan makeup product is used.
Is vegan makeup halal?
The cosmetic industry is one of the fastest growing female centric industries globally. Naturally, vegan sectors within the cosmetic industries have grown significantly and are estimated to be equal to non-vegan cosmetic sales within the next fifteen years. Cosmetics are products which are used to improve the female appearance and in particular features on the face such as eyebrows, lips, cheeks, skin complexion and tone.
The two issues of producing halal makeup
When asking if vegan makeup is halal consider two things: the first is how the makeup is produced such as its ingredients, sourcing, labor and even the way it is advertised.
The second how makeup is being applied to the skin, who is wearing the makeup, where it is being worn, the intention of applying the makeup and whether the person wearing makeup will be in the presence of non-related males, the age of the person wearing the makeup and whether the person wearing the makeup is married.
Carrying on the business of halal makeup – the rules of halal cosmetics
For makeup as a product to be halal it must not contain ingredients which are haram (forbidden).
Muslims follow modest dietary restrictions at the direction of Muhammad (swt) which are contained in the Quran and commentary provided in subsequent hadiths. The most important dietary rules which are commonly known include the consumption of alcohol or drugs and any meat derived from swine.
Alcohol: A distinction is made for alcohol in food, medicines, and even consumable products. That if alcohol is not the primary ingredient and that if alcohol makes up a minute amount of the product that it is negligible, that consuming the product would not make someone intoxicated then it is permissible.
Swine: The consumption of pork as food or as a product is strictly forbidden. Any products which contain pork are not allowed.
Blood:Blood and anything derived or “farmed from blood” is strictly forbidden. Any products containing blood, amino acids or fats are not to be consumed.
Carrion: Dead animals or in this context, commonly known as roadkill cannot be eaten or used for fur or anything else including cosmetic products. Muhammad (swt) saw dead animals and knew that consuming these beasts having been taken by death and then caressed in the heat of the desert would not be fit for Allah’s creation to be consumed. Any ingredients derived from carrion are not permissible.
Cattle: Livestock such as cows, sheep, goats, and horses are permissible provided they are prepared in the manner prescribed by Muhammad (swt). However, ingredients which are manufacture red from livestock which were not prepared or slayed in the manner prescribed by Muhammad (swt) are not permissible.
Donkey Meat: According to the Hadith of Ibn Umar the use of Donkey meat and donkey derivatives are not permissible.
Birds: Animals which are worshiped in line with other religions are strictly prohibited such as Owls, Eagles and Hawks which confidently happened to be the main idols of Zoroastrianism and deities of Pagan religions in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. According to Ibn Abbas, Muhammad (swt) has prohibited the eating of meat from birds with talons.
What makes permissible animal ingredients halal? – The process of Dhabihah (slaughter)
The primary command of this process is that the animal must not suffer, the death must be quick and humble. The animal is to be eaten and therefore respect and reverence for the animal must be shown because without Allah, this animal would not be permissible for consumption.
When preparing the blade, it must be as sharp as the circumstances allowed. If your blade is dull and you would not be able to carry out Dhabihah without dignity, then the animal should be spared. If you can sharpen your blade as to allow a single clean cut from ear to ear, then you should proceed with the slaughter with thanks to Allah.
This reference and respect for the animal requires that other animals should not hear, see or smell the slaughter of other animals.
Once the animal has been slaughtered and thanks have been given to Allah for blessing you with this animal to eat, the animal must be hung upside down for long enough that all of the blood has been removed. This is to ensure that the meat you are consuming in bringing sustenance to your body without sin.
For makeup as a product to be halal it must not be advertised in a sexualized manner (Haram).
In Islam, the sexuality of a married couple is encouraged and the beautification of the female is also encouraged as to provide enjoyment or excitement for the husband and wife. A strong sexual relationship between a husband and wife is considered a blessing from Allah. In Islam, the importance of sex between the husband and wife is often overlooked because of Sex is considered a very private matter.
Now, we all know that makeup does emphasize female features which can add multiple dimensions of attraction which can be appreciated by the husband and wife before, during and after sex. The cosmetic industry caters to this demand already by providing us with waxing services, skin soften products like shea butter, perfumes, moisturizers, lotions, and cosmetic products designed to emphasize features on the wife’s face like lipstick.
The philosophy of sex in Islam is that if it feels right then it is right but if it could cause your harm then do not do it. This is taken to mean that vibrators which cause you harm through desensitization is not allowed. Anal Sex on the Husband or Wife is not allowed. The penetration of the Wife with toys is not allowed, because it is harmful.
Because makeup is or has the capacity to be sexual, the intention of ones use of makeup becomes the second most important aspect of choosing makeup. If you take an affinity to a makeup brand that uses nude or partially nude women to advertise a lipstick or other beauty product, then obviously that makeup brand is not permissible. This is because your admiration for the product was attributed to sex. That you were sold on the product because of sex, sex sells!
Makeup which is intended to be used for the appreciation of the wife herself and her husband is encouraged by Allah.
Makeup which is appropriate for your age is also encouraged if used for the appreciation of your married life. Makeup which is used in connection with mandatory dress for employment, is encouraged by Allah. Makeup which uses excessive cheek blushing, darkening of the lips, or excessive lengthening of eyelashes on a single woman is not permissible. Moderation and Modesty appears to be the rule for the use of makeup for single women in Islam.
For makeup as a product to be halal it must not have been produced using slaves or with unlawful employment practices (Obeying the law).
It is commanded by Allah that any Muslim must obey the law of the land, in a Muslim Country this would be shariah law which would require all members of society to follow rulings prescribed by either Shia or Sunni hadith. In a non-Muslim country this requires that all Muslims regardless of sect are required to follow the laws of the land.
If the Laws require that the Ummah act or participate in acts which are prohibited in Islam, then this is permitted under the rules of Taqiyya, provided that the punishment for not participating in the act required by the state is more dangerous than the act itself.
For example, if the countries laws demand that your cosmetic products are to be tested on animals then this would contravene the laws of Islam and is therefore not halal. Under these circumstances, you should not produce cosmetic products as a Muslim nor should you consume cosmetic products from these countries. This is because the production of cosmetic products is a business decision not a legal one. The Quran expressly prohibits the cruel treatment of animals.
If your cosmetic products are produced with the labor of slaves or through illegal employment measures, then your cosmetic products will not be halal. In fact, any product which has been produced because of unfair employment practices should not be consumed. Not only are the commercial operations illegal but as explained the Quran, breaches of the local law are contraventions of the basic laws for the Ummah. Wherever the Ummah are, they are to obey the laws of the land.
The use of slaves is not isolated to Islamic countries, most countries have used and benefited from unpaid labor. Despite this, some countries continue to profit from unpaid labor including from incarcerated individuals. This is especially alarming considering how most countries have outlawed slavery. Because most countries have outlawed slavery, Allah would not allow any Muslim to profit from slavery. I saw this in confidence despite the Quran allowing for the ownership of slaves.
For makeup as a product to be halal it must not have been produced with the assistance of usury, excessive debt or unfavorable contract terms, intellectual property theft or fraud (Riba).
Shariah based economies are heavily weighted towards free market capitalism with elements of state-participation. In Islam, wealth is a responsibility or an obligation to those who are not wealthy. The idea of socialism in Islamic countries is very different to what you might think in western countries.
With that said, businesses are encouraged to grow at their own pace, on their own terms without interference from excessive interest-bearing loans and credit facilities. Usury is the act of issuing loans on unfavorable terms. These terms are commonly seen on products like personal loans, car loans, home loans and credit cards. The use of excessive interest in business is prohibited and is classified as Riba.
Your cosmetic company cannot claim to produce halal products when these products were financed with interest.
Another issue in the cosmetics industry is the theft or unauthorized reproduction of other brands products known as mimics. These products are not halal as they are a creation resulting from theft of someone else’s intellectual product. The ownership of mimic products is considered haram.
What makes a halal cosmetic product halal?
In summary of everything above, if your product passes the ‘sniff test’ on all those rules above, then your product is considered halal. It is not just about the ingredients, it’s about the company’s activities as well which determine the status of the product in Islam.
Using Vegan Makeup The Halal Way – When to Use Vegan Makeup and How to Keep Makeup Halal
Brothers and sisters – I know you want to stay halal, but I also know you want to look your best for your significant other and show your work ethic by being meticulously groomed. The good news is that for the women who read my blog you can continue to apply makeup without any hassle with a few limitations which I will go into small detail about.
For the men who may see this article, I suggest that you encourage your sisters to look their best even though they may not be married. The reasoning for this is that personal grooming a person is how they represent themselves and their family. The only few things that women are not permitted to due with makeup is unnatural shaping of eyebrows, excessive blushing on the cheeks and unnatural lipstick colors.