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Halal principles give cosmetics firms a makeover

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By Reena Amos Dyes
Emirates bussines 247
The foundations of Dubai's halal cosmetics segment are shaping up at the Beautyworld Middle East trade fair.
An estimated Dh550 million worth of halal merchandise is distributed through Dubai each year, with halal cosmetics constituting a large proportion of this figure.

Talking to Emirates Business ahead of yesterday's opening of the trade fair for cosmetics and beauty products in Dubai, Elaine O'Connell, Senior Show Manager, Beautyworld, Middle East, said: "Dubai's position as a regional commercial centre for halal products is having a strong impact on the sale of halal cosmetics.

"In total, an estimated Dh550 million worth of halal merchandise is distributed through the emirate each year, with personal care items constituting a large proportion of this figure.

"Recent developments contributing to this growth include the Malay Chamber of Commerce Malaysia's decision to set up its marketing centre in Dubai. So far, 100 companies retailing more than 400 halal products – including cosmetics – have participated in this venture and it is anticipated that over the next five years more than Dh37 billion of halal products will be channelled through this market."

O'Connell said a recent report from the Institute of Personal Care Science of Australia said that the global cosmetics market is worth $334bn (Dh1.2 trillion) and the global halal cosmetics market is estimated at $13bn.In the Middle East, the market size for halal personal care products is estimated to be worth Dh2.06bn.

"The halal cosmetics industry could be the next emerging sector for the halal industry, after halal food and Islamic finance.

"Consumers in Asia, especially Malaysia and Indonesia, have been the first in driving demand for Shariah-compliant health and beauty products, with Malaysia last year drafting a halal certification standard that evaluates the content, modes of production, storage, handling and packaging for cosmetics and beauty products.

"International Halal Integrity Alliance (IHI Alliance) is working on the global standard, which is set for publication this summer, and should help to push sales of cosmetics among Muslims.

And responding to the latent demand, local health and standardisation authorities in the GCC are increasingly working with recognised international halal certification authorities to screen health and beauty products for their compliance with Islamic principles," O'Connell said. Not only is the halal market not affected by the recession, it has followed its own growth path. Nearly a quarter of the world's population are Muslims and the global halal business, estimated by a Malaysian research company to be worth $635bn a year, has expanded from Islamic countries to Western nations with growing Muslim populations. In France, which is home to about five million Muslims, sales of halal food are set to hit $7.2bn in 2010.

Mah Hussain-Gambles, Founder, Saaf Pure Skincare, which was one of the first halal cosmetics company in Europe, said: "The industry has also benefitted from a rising concern about the use of harmful ingredients in cosmetics and 75 per cent of my customers are non-Muslims. The principles are the same – they want something that does not harm the body, the purity and that is exactly the same as the halal movement," she said.

However, despite the huge growth potential for the market for halal cosmetics, awareness about the use of haram (forbidden by Islam) ingredients in cosmetics is still not widespread in the region. Layla Mandi, Founder, OnePure Halal Beauty, said: "It is fairly common knowledge that beauty companies routinely use animal by-products such as collagen, elastin, stearlic acid and hyaluronic acid in their formulations, because these haram ingredients are inexpensive and simply industry standard.

"As a Muslim consumer, I questioned if those by products could be pork. I did some basic research on the rendering industry and found that without question there could be haram ingredients in my skincare.

"However, sadly, most women in the UAE assume that if a product is being sold in the Gulf it must be okay. Therefore education is my primary objective in all my communications."

O'Connell said: "Despite being a Muslim country, use of halal personal care products is relatively low. The key to marketing seems to be creating awareness among consumers that the products they are using already are not halal.

Manufacturers are now starting to address the demand for halal products with toothpastes and cosmetics, which don't have a trace of pork or alcohol in them, coming into the Middle East market. As more halal brands become available in Muslim countries, awareness should grow among consumers and this should help to grow the personal care markets in devout Muslim countries."

The beauty and cosmetics industry is expected to increase globally by 8.5 per cent by 2014, according to recent research from Euro Monitor International, representing one of the few markets that continues to grow despite the global crisis.

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