While there is an abundance of cosmetic brands in the market, there used to be limited choice for Muslim women who prefer halal cosmetics.
Times have changed with halal cosmetics and personal care products emerging as the fastest growing consumer segment for Malaysia, according to a report last year on the Ministry of International Trade and Industry website (MITI).
The Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC) – under the auspices of MITI – states that there are currently more than 100 certified halal cosmetics and personal care companies. These include Wipro Unza, Southern Lion, Johnson & Johnson, SimpliSiti, Clara International, Eversoft, Safi, Silky Girl and Shokubutso.
Datuk Dr Sirajuddin Suhaimee, director of the Halal Hub Division of Jakim, confirms that Jakim (Malaysian Islamic Development Department) has seen an increase in applications by local and foreign cosmetic brands seeking halal certification.
“Halal cosmetics and personal care products, including the accessories, are products permitted under Shariah law and must fulfill certain conditions,” he explains.
Those conditions, he says, include “not containing any human parts or materials derived from it; being free of ingredients derived from animals that are prohibited for Muslims by Islamic law or from animals that are not slaughtered the halal way; being free of any genetically modified organisms (GMO) materials that have been declared as unclean (najis) according to Islamic practice.”
He added, “During the preparation, processing or manufacturing, there must be no contact (with non-halal material). Halal also means the product does not harm customers.
“To apply for Jakim’s halal certification, the applicant needs to ensure that their product has been registered and has the approval letter from the National Pharmaceutical Control Bureau (NPCB).”
According to Dr Sirajuddin, halal certification complies with the MS2200: 2008 Consumer Good – Section 1: Cosmetic and Personal Care – General Guidelines, the decision of the National Fatwa Council for Islamic Affairs and other related guidelines and regulations.
He said there must also be compliance with the NPCB’s Guidelines for Control of Cosmetic Products in Malaysia and Guidelines on Cosmetic Good Manufacturing Practice.
How are cosmetic products reviewed before a halal certification is given? “The cosmetic products are tested by the Department of Chemistry in Petaling Jaya, an authorised laboratory, and it only happens if there is doubt over the ingredients. A brand that introduces new products must re-apply for the halal certification,” he says.
When buying halal cosmetic products, Dr Sirajuddin says that consumers should look for the Malaysia Halal Logo with the Malaysia Standard (MS) number and the file reference number (the last 10 digits). For international cosmetic products, they should look for the foreign halal logo recognised by Jakim on the product packaging.
Growth Of Malaysian Halal Beauty Brands
In a report on the MITI website, HDC says Malaysia’s export value for halal cosmetics and personal care as of the third quarter of 2015 topped RM1.7bil, reflecting 5.5% of total halal exports (RM31.1bil).
It’s no wonder that the lucrative beauty industry has seen the emergence of independent local beauty brands.
Among them are Cocomess, Sorfina Hal, Duck Cosmetics, Kamelia Cosmetics, Marcella & Co, Chaco, Orkid Cosmetics, Naelofar, Nita, Dida, So.lek and Imaan Suci.
Hemy Sorfina Halim, founder of halal makeup brand Sorfina Hal, says “the halal cosmetics market is valued at US$230bil (RM971.8bil) and while there is a rising demand, there is a lack of supply in the market.”
Sorfina Hal – which offers halal colour cosmetics – is a brand under the Cosmetics division of DNA Biosciences, a pharmaceutical, medical and cosmetics distributor.
“In Malaysia, the perception of halal makeup is highly attached to Islam but it should not be that way. Instead, people should see the quality that halal products offer,” Hemy says.
“Halal certification means premium ingredients, hygienic manufacturing and processing facilities, high quality logistics, et cetera.”
“Sorfina Hal’s standpoint is about offering high quality halal makeup and is on par with organic or natural products. With our brand image we don’t tie ourselves to a religious point of view. We resonate with people of all backgrounds who have an appreciation for pure and natural products,” Hemy explains.
Dahlia Nadirah Juhari, founder of So.lek, says in her Instagram that the most asked questions are whether So.lek is halal, approved by the Health Ministry and solat-friendly.
She says they are in the midst of getting halal certification, and are approved by the Health Ministry.
“I’m not so comfortable to say whether it’s solat-friendly as it depends on you as a consumer. Some say as long as the ingredients are halal you can pray while wearing the makeup. Some say ‘nope, you’d have to take it off.’ That is why we always emphasise that our products are easily applied and removed,” Dahlia adds in her Instagram.
Founder of Cocomess, a local haircare brand, Nurfazwena Rusli Somers – better known as Ena – says, “There weren’t many halal hair products available in the market that contained natural and organic base ingredients, so it was important for us to get halal certification.”
Obtaining Jakim’s halal certification can take a year or more according to Ena, and it’s a tedious process as Jakim needs to approve each ingredient.
“Halal cosmetics are not exclusive to Muslims as they are associated with ethical consumerism and can appeal to non-Muslims. Halal has also become a worldwide symbol for quality assurance and a lifestyle choice,” Ena says.
Personal healthcare giant Guardian has announced that it is in the process of rolling out its new packaging with the Jakim halal logo on its own-brand halal products.
“Guardian’s own-brand went through a relaunch in March this year. The halal certification is part of an exercise to offer customers quality they can trust,” says Alfonso Roderos, corporate brand director for Guardian Health and Beauty Sdn Bhd.
Roderos says that the halal certification applies to selected ranges of Guardian’s own-brand products.
“The Jakim halal certification ensures that stringent standards are met at all stages of the product manufacturing process. The certification should add another layer of assurance for consumers and help us gain their confidence and trust. Our move will let Muslim customers access a much wider range of products, at prices they will love,” Roderos says.