What you need to know about halal beauty in Malaysia
We speak to PrettySuci and mySMINK, two of Malaysia's rising beauty platforms about their products and the demand for halal cosmetics
Ethical, organic, vegan… halal? The newest beauty buzzword is as close to home as they come. No surprises here. Over 60% of Malaysia's population practise Islam, and stylish Muslim women here have been at the forefront of a contemporary expression of faith through fashion (exhibit A: When modest fashion designer Hana Tajima launched her first collection with Uniqlo, it was in South East Asia with Yuna as the face; exhibit B: FashionValet).
Naturally, the next step would be to look for beauty brands that share the same principles. Enter new online beauty platforms PrettySuci and mySMINK. Both websites offer an array of beauty and grooming products spanning skincare, makeup, haircare and bodycare that have been halal-certified by JAKIM or are in the process of obtaining certification.
"Some are awaiting their halal certification from JAKIM, they have shared with us the documentation and their application numbers," PrettySuci founders YM Tunku Dato' Kaiyisah and Natasha Ozeir told ELLE. "We know that it is not easy or cheap to obtain certification, therefore we welcome those brands who share and aspire to produce halal certified products but cannot wait as long before they can launch their products."
But what makes a beauty product halal? According to the director of JAKIM's Halal Hub Division Dato' Dr. Sirajuddin bin Suhaimee, these are the requirements that must be met for a product to be certified halal:
1. It does not contain any part of a human being (i.e keratin and placenta).
2. It does not contain any part of animal prohibited by shariah law (i.e pork derived ingredients like gelatine, glycerine, collagen).
3. Instruments used to process the cosmetics are not contaminated with najs (defined as filth, including things that are not permissible such as pigs, and their derivatives, blood, carrion, fluids or objects discharged from humans or animals, such as urine, excrements, blood, vomit and pus).
4. The product must not be hazardous or poisonous to health.
"These days, people are very aware and careful with what they put on their skin, so we've made it mandatory for all products to provide us with a complete list of ingredients which we've listed on our site," said mySMINK founders Nadia and Diana Nasimuddin.
Unlike PrettySuci, MySMINK also offers products that don't have halal certification, but their certified halal products are listed on a dedicated tab on the website to ease your shopping experience. Diana and Nadia added that it's important for MySMINK to focus on Malaysian beauty brands, though they plan to eventually expand to the South East Asian region soon.
"All this gives our local beauty brands the opportunity to build an international audience," the duo said. "Think of the times as a consumer in Malaysia that you've wanted to shop on sites like ColourPop or Pat McGrath Labs. A lot of the time it's hard to justify the shipping fees when you want just one or two items. But mySMINK helps eradicate that issue by giving consumers the option to shop multiple brands on a single platform."
The halal beauty industry is only set to grow, as beauty companies slowly begin to acknowledge demand from a group of customers who have not necessarily been catered to in the past. We look forward to seeing halal brands develop as the ethical and organic brands before it, and to Muslim beauty aficionados having access to a full lineup of safe, effective beauty products they can take comfort in using.
Related: 9 halal beauty picks from PrettySuci