Are Your Cosmetics Halal? {Part 1}

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem.


Are you one of the people who just buy things without checking whether the item is halal or not especially in the cosmetics you put on your skin? Well, if you are, this is the high time for you to know which products are halal and which aren’t.

Just a trivia, cosmetics are not just the makeup products we use on our faces.

Cosmetics can be the shampoo, perfume, lotion, powder, lipstick, moisturizer, hand sanitizer, after shave, soap, deodorant etc that you use on your body. Whatever you spray or put on your skin eventually becomes part of it. This is why we should be careful on what we use. I, myself, am a victim of not being vigilant on what I use on my skin.

So, what are the items we need to check on the labels for us to exclude the products on our shelves? Here they are:

  • Check if the product contains a Halal or Kosher (Halal equivalent for Jews, mind you they don’t consume pork) Certification symbol on it.
  • HOWEVER, even if it has a Kosher symbol, it is not halal  if it contains the following (from Muslim Consumer Group):
    • Gelatin from pork and nonzabiha cow
      ·         Kosher Gelatin except fish gelatin·         L-Cysteine made from human hair or chicken or duck feathers·         Wine

      ·         Liquor

      ·         Beer batter

      ·         Rum flavor

    • Ethyl Alcohol as a main ingredient appears on the ingredient list
      ·         Cochineal or Carmine, a red color from insects·         Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce·         Yeast Extract or Autolyzed Yeast made from brewer’s yeast, a byproduct of beer making

      ·         Torula Yeast grown on alcohol

      ·         Nucleotides (building block of nucleic acid) are obtained from Torula yeast cells grown on alcohol, used in Infant Milk formulas to help babies build a good immune, digestive system and decreased incident of diarrhea

      ·         Vanilla Extract which contains minimum of 35% Alcohol

      ·         Wine Vinegar

      ·         If ethyl alcohol is used as a solvent in natural or artificial flavors.

      ·         Confectionary Glaze or Resinous Glaze made with Shellac which is dissolve in alcohol and then alcohol is evaporated

      ·         Carrageenan, if ethyl alcohol or Isopropyl alcohol was used during processing for crystallization

      ·         Natural Vanilla or Natural Vanilla Flavor(because Alcohol is used in its extraction).

You saw Ethyl Alcohol and question if it is halal or not. According to the scholars, this type of alcohol is haraam due to the following facts:

  • (it is mentioned in Muslim Food Guide (1420/200 edition) that Ethanol (ethyl alcohol) is also impermissible as it is generated from the fermentation of sugars from cane, forming the intoxicating element of all fermented liquors)
  • Ethyl Alcohol is also used in many cosmetic agents both for men (Aftershave Lotion) and for female perfumes. Ethyl Alcohol is absorbed through the skin. It then passes through the flesh into the blood vessels and finally mixes with the blood and circulates throughout the body. Once in the blood it is as good as if one has ingested through the mouth. As a small quantity of any intoxicant is haram therefore, as mentioned earlier, all liquid cosmetic products containing Ethyl Alcohol are prohibited. Other names given to synthetic Ethyl Alcohol are, Ethanol, Methylated Spirits (contains 5 percent Methyl Alcohol and 95 percent Ethyl Alcohol). Products containing these ingredients therefore will also be prohibited. (source)

Are there types of alcohol that are halal? Here they are:

  • Benzyl alcohol – is produced naturally by many plants and is commonly found in fruits and teas. It is also found in a variety of essential oils including jasmine, hyacinth, and ylang-ylang. It is used as a bactericide (kills bacteria) in personal care formulations and it does not cause intoxication, therefore it is classed as Halal, even though its chemical name contains the word ‘Alcohol’.
  • Stearyl alcohol – also Cetearyl Alcohol, Myristyl Alcohol, Behenyl Alcohol and Cetyl alcohol are emulsifiers, meaning they help the oily ingredients in the formulation dissolve in the water phase to give the cream a smooth consistency. They tend to be white, waxy solids and are known as fatty alcohols, which occur naturally in some plants and animals. These could be Halal, even though the name suggests otherwise, because if ingested, they are not intoxicating.
  • Cetyl Alcohol –  is a long chain alcohol which is solid hence obviously not drinkabale nor does it cause intoxication if at all ingested. Therefore, it is halal to use in cosmetic products. It is also not absorbed through the skin when applied as a cream.
  • Cetearyl alcohol – in cosmetics and skincare Cetearyl Alcohol is not really an “alcohol” such as ethyl or rubbing alcohol, which would dry the skin, but is an emulsifying wax made by combining fatty alcohols derived from vegetable sources.
  • Denatured Alcohol – is an industrial methylated spirit or surgical spirit (contains natural or synthesised ethanol and denaturing agent such as methanol or methylisobutyl ketone). We regard it as permissible for external use.


Let’s get straight, which of the cosmetic products are haraam? And why?

  • TRESemme Hair products – Some of their products contain ingredients that are derived from animal-by-products. Any product containing Glycerin and/or Stearic Acid contains animal by products, but no pork by-products. (still, we can’t be sure)
  • Revlon (Rose and Primerose Revlon Ultra HD Lipstick) – It is not Halal due to presence of Carmine red color which is obtained from insect. All insect except locust are Haram.
  • Olay (creams and oils) – They have no a that their products are would not contain Pork byproducts. The company stated, “All our products may or may not contain animal by-products, depending on what ingredient source was available at the time of manufacture. The ingredients may be derived from a variety of vegetable sources, such as coconut or palm kernel oil, or animal sources, typically beef or pork, hides or bones. Please be assured P&G uses vegetable resources whenever possible. All of our products have the ingredients listed on the back label. Or you can find the ingredient list for each product on our website. These ingredients may be derived from animal: Alcohol (fatty) Gelatin Glycerin Hydrolyzed Collagen Keratin Amino Acids Tallow Glycerides”
  • Jordana lipsticks – They are not Halal because they are made with carmine red color.
  • The Body Shop – company claimed to use gelatin either from pork or non zabiha beef, Shellac which might be dissolved in alcohol. The Body Shop products are not recommended to be use by Muslims.
  • Neutrogena makeup products  Pork fat is used in some Neutrogena Makeup products(December 2010) They will not Halal if Carmine Red Color is used.
  • Avon makeup products – Some products are made with pork fat and some products are Kosher(December 2010). They are NOT Halal if Carmine Red Color is used.
  • All others – Look for Cochineal, if it is there then it will not be Halal because Insects are Haram

For more information about the ingredients used in the products in the market, kindly go to this link.

I hope this will open our eyes to check on the labels first before we buy and use anything. I am a victim and I hope no more people will be a victim of non-Halal products. As Muslims, we are obliged to check everything we consume. And if we don’t know what they put on the labels, it is our duty to learn about them.

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1 Comment

  1. Revlon hair color is halal kindly tell me plz?

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