Nails Can Be Beautiful, Healthy and Halal

Halal consumers are paying attention to ingredients. How many times have you looked at a list of ingredients, read long chemical names that you couldn’t pronounce and then said ‘OK’ and placed the product in your cart?  Companies can no longer count on blind acceptance of ingredients. For many reasons, people are careful about what is in the products they consume.

When it comes to cosmetics and skin care products, consumers are looking at what they’re made of before putting them on their skin, hair, and nails Ingredients, however, can be very complicated.  Let’s take a closer look at nail polish.

Halal nail designs.


Ingredients in Nail Polish

In nail polish there are eight main ingredients:

  • micas -a natural or synthetic crystal 
  • dyes and pigments -CL indicates color, each color can come from a different source
  • plasticizers -Trimethyl pentanyl diisobutyrate, triphenyl phosphate, camphor, and ethyl tosylamide 
  • UV stabilizers -Benzophenone 
  • dispersants -Stearalkonium hectorite, stearalkonium bentonite 
  • solvents -Ethyl acetate, butyl acetate, propyl acetate, and isopropyl acetate, toluene
  • resin -nitrocellulose, polymer, copolymer, resin

Natural minerals and stones are a great source for Halal nail colors.

Can Nail Polish be Halal?

Halal literally means “permissible” and “haram” Its opposite means forbidden.

There is nothing in the sacred texts that says that people are forbidden from coloring their nails.  In fact, people have used henna for 9000 years, and scholars established that it is not haram, as there is no evidence that it damages the health of those who use it. On the contrary, natural good quality henna is known to have healing properties.

Why Do People Want Halal Nail Polish?

Natural henna art is a Halal way for Muslimahs to enjoy festive colors and designs.

Halal Compliance

There are several reasons why Halal nail polish is in high demand. The first has to do with the ingredients in the nail polish. Nail polish ingredients may be derived from organic or inorganic sources. They may be plant, mineral, or animal sourced.

For example, colors may be sourced from insect blood, or thickeners from animal proteins.  Halal certification ensures that the ingredients in nail polish are not animal based.

Woman wearing henna and Halal nail polish.

Wudu Friendly

Before praying, Muslims perform ritual washing (Wudu). The hands (including the nails) must be washed 3 times. Many people believe that by wearing nail polish, the worshipper is not in a prayer-ready pure state, as they were not able to wash the nails under the polish.

While there is some debate about this notion, the general feeling amongst the fashionable and well-coiffed worshipper is “better safe than sorry”.  In other words, if a water permeable nail polish is available, then it will be chosen over others.

Muslim bride wearing henna and Halal nail polish.

Health Concerns

Many mainstream mass-produced nail polishes are not breathable. The ingredients discolor nails and do not permit breathability. When nails can’t breathe, they become damaged. This is the source of many problems, as human nails are porous. Anything that is unhealthy for the body is not permitted. Keep in mind, when companies advertise breathable nail polish, it doesn’t mean that the product is also porous or permeable.

Halal nail polish station.

Halal Nail Polish Brands

Over the past decade, many good Halal nail polish brands have emerged. Their features and benefits may differ from one brand to the next.

Keep in mind that some brands are simply “breathable” and not “permeable”, some brands are not certified, and some larger brands may have one or two Halal certified product lines.

The following is a list of what consumers can look for in a brand.​​

  • Permeability
  • Breathability
  • Halal ingredient compliance
  • Halal process compliance
  • Alcohol Free (or Shariah compliant)
  • Vegan
  • Cruelty Free

Halal nail polish is water permeable.

Some brands include:


Islamic Services of America certifies cosmetic brands and products that meet halal compliance standards.  Many brands are certifying their products to assure consumers that they are Halal compliant and wudu-friendly. 

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