The Catalysts for Rapid Growth
When you think halal, you usually would not imagine lipstick or retinol cream. However, halal plays a vital role in consumers purchasing cosmetics. AHF has seen a 132% increase in demand for halal certification of cosmetics and personal care products. AHF believes this trend will continue over the next decade.
With the skin being the biggest organ of the human body, naturally, the ethical and moral guidelines of consumption take on significant weight. And rightfully so. Consumers are taking heed when it comes to products intended to make them look and feel better.
Halal is seen as synonymous with cleanliness and purity. In a world filled with anecdotes of chemical-laden products, skin reactions to inferior cosmetics, and dubious production practices, it is hard to discern which brand is worthy of purchase. What is evident is that with this occurrence becoming more noticed, Halal is emerging as a barometer for trustworthy products.
A study in ¹2014 that sought to determine influencing factors towards cosmetics among urban Muslim women revealed that the halal compliance of the product was higher in the hierarchy than even the health and safety of the product. While this may seem counterintuitive initially, it makes logical sense when you consider that consumers generally will deem something halal as safe and healthy. Adding more traction to the appeal of Halal was a revelation from a study of external views in 2019, which indicated non-Muslims considered Halal products as healthy and safe for ²utilization. This indicates an impressive buy-in to the Halal premise.
Questionable ingredients and products aside, there is another set of values halal products imbue on a more holistic level, such as wholesomeness, purity, healthy, and safety. This can only be appreciated when you look at Halal from the roots of its tradition of protecting physical and spiritual well-being. For this reason,
halal transcends culture, nationality, race, and even religion.
In practice, from the very onset, whether its ingredients, processes, or display and advertising, Halal brands are incepted and built on the tenets of care, respect, and stewardship, transcendent principles that touch humanity at large. And when Halal is interpreted from the backdrop of these principles toward fellow humankind, it signals a host of new meaningful values into the Halal proposition to consumers.
What makes a cosmetic or personal care product halal?
Halal cosmetic or personal care products are free from substances derived from pig, carrion, blood, predatory animals, reptiles, insects, ethyl alcohol, or intoxicants or raw materials detrimental to human health. While seemingly simple, when the complex and often opaque manufacturing processes are examined, it becomes critical to ascertain if a product truly follows your consumption guidelines. This matter is especially vital as it involves what you apply to your skin.
Why are Consumers (Rightfully) Concerned?
Relative to food or drugs, cosmetic products are less regulated. For example, in the US, there is no legal requirement to be FDA approved or registered. Furthermore, FDA does not require cosmetic products to be tested for safety as a prerequisite for going to market. Beyond the regulations listed in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA), the FDA does not concern itself with the minutiae of cosmetic manufacturers.
This framework leaves consumers to determine whether or not a product is in accordance with moral, ethical, and religious standards and if it is genuinely safe for utilization. This is among the imperative reasons for 3rd party halal certification and supervision.
Here are common ingredients that are of concern for halal consumers:
- biotin (often in shampoos)
- caprylic acid
- castor (castoreum – from beavers’ anal glands, oh yes)
- emu oil
- monoglycerides, glycerides
- mink oil
- myristic acid
- oleic acids
- nucleic acids
- carmine (carminic acid)
- panthenol (provitamin B5 and derivatives)
- palmitic acid
- stearic acid
- turtle oil
Key Segments of Growth
Men’s Personal Care
While an argument can be made that men’s personal care products are a relatively under-tapped niche in the broader market, the halal subsegment is specifically under-tapped. Halal certification penetration into products like beard oils, face washes, and moisturizers remains very low. This asymmetry leaves a vacuum for brands looking to fulfill this unmet demand.
Hair Care Products
Hair care products like shampoo, conditioner, and hair oils have high complexity for halal consumers. It can often be challenging to determine proper compliance with halal guidelines due to the proliferation of ingredients like glycerine, collagen, allantoin, myristic acid, and tallow that provide essential functionality to the products. Halal-certified brands build trust with a consumer base by alleviating any concerns regarding the ingredients and production process.
Makeup & Lipstick Products
While several brands have successfully captured halal market share in the makeup and lipstick segments, there is still room for growth as many of the USA’s major brands have yet to adopt US halal certification for their own manufactured products.
Keys for Success
To be successful in capturing market share in the halal market or growing your business in this market, there are a few valuable keys:
1. Obtaining Halal Certification
This is an apparent requirement that is key to opening the doors to the halal market. American Halal Foundation (AHF) provides halal certification for companies seeking to access this global market. AHF evaluates, inspects, and monitors the various elements of production and every raw material to ensure compliance with the international halal standards.
Cross-segmenting (a term AHF synthesized for this paper) appeals to consumers in a multi-dimensional approach, taking into account various values within the buyer’s archetype. For example, halal consumers generally have a higher affinity towards cruelty-free brands. Similarly, vegan consumers may have a higher affinity for organic products.
This is important for brands to be successful in the halal market. It is not advisable to rely solely on the merit of halal compliance to influence consumers’ purchasing behaviors. This approach would overly simplify the dynamic nature of the halal consumer. While halal will be the most valuable claim, supporting it with other certifications, claims, and branding strategies that appeal to consumers’ dynamic values and interests is essential.
3. Value Alignment
Once you have defined your customer archetype/persona, it will be critical to appeal to the values that are embedded within that persona. For example, it would be prudent for a halal-certified cosmetic/makeup brand to avoid vulgarity as that would be cognitively dissonant for a halal consumer.
In contrast, appealing to the values of sustainability, social welfare, or ethical sourcing is immensely valuable to a brand seeking to cater to halal consumers.
How to become halal certified?
Obtaining halal certification has two key components.
- The product
- The production facility
The first element of qualification pertains to the product. Through documentation and data-gathering on the raw materials/ingredients, AHF’s technical team determines whether the product will qualify for Halal or not.
The main criteria of evaluation are the product be free from:
- Animal derivates besides milk & honey
Note: Certain exemptions for ethanol may apply to the cosmetic products that are applied externally only.
The Production Facility
The second element of qualification pertains to the production facility. For the facility to qualify for Halal certification, it must have protocols and standard operating procedures that ensure the integrity of the Halal identity of the product(s) is maintained at every stage of the process, from raw material receipt to shipment.
In terms of the assessment of the facility, AHF looks to integrate with existing quality systems such as FDA, GMP, or Organic to make the certification process as efficient as possible. So, for example, the GMP protocol you have in place for warehousing will likely meet the Halal standards.
The easiest way to look at Halal certification for both the product and the production facility is to view Halal as an allergen, as you would with a nut-free or gluten-free product. There is scrutiny of the product ingredients, production methods, and cleaning steps for these facilities to ensure no contamination occurs.
The certification process is as follows:
AHF will process your application with no obligation and no cost. Your designated AHF account executive will coordinate with the AHF technical team to walk you through the documentation process to document and verify the Halal compliance of the product and the production facility. A “Halal Agreement” will be instated upon the approval of your application.
Your Account Executive will schedule a Halal audit on a mutually convenient day. This audit is typically 4 hours and includes a training session for employees responsible for Halal production. The primary objective is to determine that everything has been documented is in effect and to what extent.
Your Halal certification documents will be delivered upon successfully completing the Halal audit. Your products and facility will be officially certified as Halal and recognized as such internationally. Your products will bear the most recognized symbol of integrity, authenticity, and wholesomeness in the world. You can add products or facilities by contacting your Account Executive.
²Nusantara Halal J. 2021, Vol. 2 No.1 pp. 1–5 (Article) | Received 24 March 2021 | Revised 3 May 2021 | Accepted 16 June 2021 | Published 30 June 2021 |http://dx.doi.org/10.17977/um060.2021v2p001-005