Representational Image. (Reuters Photo)
Paris: A bearded imam may have seemed out of place at this week's In-Cosmetics expo in Paris, an annual showcase for the world's leading beauty and personal care products.
But Shaikh Ali Achcar's presence points to a growing demand for makeup that adheres not just to the face, but also to Muslim rules.
"When an animal-based product isn't halal ('allowed' in Arabic), or contains alcohol, it's not only forbidden to consume it, but it's also considered to be impure: you cannot use it on your face, or your skin," said Achcar, manning the stand of the Swiss-based Halal Certification Services (HCS).
"That's why it's increasing the need for halal products in cosmetics," said the Brazilian, who heads HCS's office in Madrid.
Since Islam prohibits the consumption of pork and alcohol, lard-based lipsticks and many perfumes are among beauty products that are off limits for Muslims.
Thanks largely to a 2013 EU ban on animal testing, as well as a skyrocketing demand for vegan cosmetics, many new makeup products contain no animal by-products at all.
But labelling is not uniform and can be confusing.
"The majority of the consumers do not know if the product comes from animal-based ingredients or not. So when they see the halal product, they buy it," says Achcar.