What Does it Mean for Makeup to be 'Halal?' An Interview with Mora Cosmetics
Jul 28, 2022
Mora Cosmetic founders Minara El-Rahman and Jasmine Dayal
As Muslims, we pride ourselves on following a religion that is so all-inclusive that it becomes a lifestyle. From the spiritual aspects of faith and belief in things we cannot see but know with certainty are real, to mundane everyday tasks like what outfit we choose to wear or how we use the bathroom, Islam is there to guide us. So, it makes sense that our religion would also have guidelines around skincare and cosmetics, making some products halal (permissible) and others haram (impermissible).
Muslim women have been leading the halal beauty brand scene for a while now, introducing wudu-friendly nail polishes and stains, easy-to-remove foundation and concealer that do not impede wudu (ablution for prayer), perfumes and colognes that do not contain alcohol, and beyond. (We know the jury is out on whether some of these products are really halal or wudu-friendly, but this article isn’t about debating that.)
One such innovative halal beauty brand is Mora Cosmetics, founded by Minara El-Rahman, whose easy-to-use multisticks can be used on eyes, cheeks and lips with a glowy satin sheen finish. Formulated with melanated skin in mind, these products are highly pigmented and gentle on the skin containing non-toxic, halal ingredients.
I’ve tried the products, and they work beautifully! I especially love Minxy, a rosy pink shade, on my cheeks, and Jessie’s Girl, a decadent brown shade, as a lipstick. I spoke with Minara about Mora about what makes it halal, how the products work and what’s next for this brand. Mora is also the first halal beauty brand to be carried by a major department store, JCPenney (shop Mora products at JCP here).
Physician and influencer Dr. Fatima wearing Mora makeup.
What inspired you to create Mora?
I was inspired to create Mora Cosmetics because when I was pregnant with my second child, my doctor told me only to use clean beauty products. That's when I realized that makeup could contain harmful ingredients and carcinogens! When I looked for clean beauty alternatives, I discovered many of them weren't pigmented enough for my brown skin. So, I wanted to change that.
As I kept researching ingredients, I realized, WOW, not a single makeup brand sold in retailers was marketed as halal. So I took the chance to make my line by cashing out my 401k and just doing it. When I told my good friend Jasmine Dayal about my plans, she wanted to join as a cofounder, so we are both getting to work on building this beautiful brand together.
What about Mora makes it a “halal” makeup brand?
Mora Cosmetics is a makeup brand that only formulates vegan formulas that don't use alcohol. We also focus our formulas on using sustainable, ethical ingredients. We in the process of getting halal-certified with Halal Watch. As Muslims, we should strive for excellence, so each formula will use high-quality ingredients that enhance the beauty that God has given us. Even our packaging is sustainable. We use PCR (post-consumer recycled) tubes and cartons that are recyclable.
Describe your products! How do you suggest we use them?
Our products are multitaskers! We intend for them to have more than one purpose. Instead of adding to your makeup clutter, we want to streamline your beauty routine. For example, the Satin Sheen Multistick is a blush and lipstick. Here's a tutorial that demonstrate how our products show up on the skin:
Tell us about your partnership with JCPenney. How did it come about, and can we find Mora in our local JCP?
The retail partnership with JCP would not have been possible without Thirteenlune, an e-commerce destination designed to inspire the discovery of beauty brands created by Black and Brown founders. I am super passionate about Mora Cosmetics because, for a long time, it seemed like the beauty industry ignored Muslim women and their beauty needs. So when I reached out to the founder of Thirteenlune and told them that I was one of the few halal makeup brand founders (especially in North America), we had a chance to be featured as a brand on their hyper-inclusive e-commerce site.
From there, JCP tapped Thirteenlune to curate beauty brands for the launch of JCP Beauty, and they asked us to join their brand assortment. So, of course, we said yes!
Tell us about some more of your successes.
The most significant success is getting beauty lovers to see that halal makeup isn't just for Muslims. My intentions for creating this brand were, of course, to make space for Muslims, but also to make the word "halal" as acceptable in beauty as the terms "clean" and "vegan" are. Each milestone we reach is for our community. It means so much to see beauty insiders embrace us as a brand.
Another success is famed makeup artist Matin Maulawizada valuing our brand and using our makeup on celebrities such as Cynthia Nixon, Jessica Chastain and Beanie Feldstein. When I see Mora Cosmetics used, I am thrilled and flattered! Lastly, the press from Well+Good, Into the Gloss, and Popsugar extolling our products are special. I appreciate all those beauty editors for taking the time to share the word about Mora Cosmetics!
What is next for Mora?
Image source: Mora Cosmetics
We are launching two new colors of our inaugural product, the satin sheen multistick. The new colors are just universally flattering and beautiful. We are also planning to launch a NEW game-changing product by the end of this year. We can't wait to share that soon.
I also cannot wait to see what’s in store for Mora. And just for fun, coordinating your hijab with your makeup is totally a thing, so try Rose Quartz with Mora’s Minxy, Bordeaux with Hyped, and Hot Chocolate with Jessie’s Girl! You can thank me later. ;)
Have you tried Mora Cosmetics? Let us know what you love about halal beauty and what halal beauty and makeup mean to you in the comments below!
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