Islam, Beauty, and Halal Cosmetics: Female Youth Muslim Expressing Spirituality through Cosmetics

Nurul Ilmi Idrus (Universitas Hasanuddin)
Andi Batara Al-Isra (Universitas Hasanuddin)


In Indonesia, where Muslims are dominated (88%), the concern about what is halal (permissible) or haram (forbidden) is very significant. Halal used to be associated with food and drinks, as there are some food (i.e. pork) and drink (i.e. alcohol) that are forbidden for Muslims to consume. In the last few years, promotion on halal cosmetics has become more intense and in line with the more who are veiled. This study was conducted in Makassar, the capital metropolitan city of South Sulawesi. Twenty veiled single female students participated in the interviews, aged between 20 and 23 years, who are from various students’ Islamic organization, and involve in Islamic organization which we assume that they tend to and in line with the use of halal cosmetics. We triangulate in-depth interview, observation and focus group discussion as our data collection methods. Halal label is not new issue in halal market. Halal cosmetics, according to Fatwa Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) No. 26/2013 on Cosmetics, are cosmetics which do not contain ‘forbidden elements’, and ‘not bodily harmful’; and cosmetics as medicines (haajiyat or primary need) and as a complement (tahsiniyat or tertiary).We discovered various emic perceptions on halal cosmetics.  Cosmetics are halal when they are in line with the fatwa of MUI, when they have halal label, has Islamic attribute (brand name, i.e. Wardah), the label of Food and Drug Control Agency (BPOM), and/or when the cosmetics are widely used. But, whether a cosmetic is halal—by the halal label—is not the main matter of concern and as they also change from one product to another, the term cocok is very significant. But halal cosmetic is not just about whether the product is halal or haram (forbidden). It is also related to spirituality. Wardah—an Islamic name with natural colored products—has become the most popular cosmetics in Indonesia with a massive advertisement using an artist wearing head scarf (hijab or jilbab) as the product icon. Beauty is expressed in natural colored cosmetic, as striking color (menor, wah) may attract others, especially the opposite sex, and that is forbidden (haram), as grooming (dandan) is best only for women theselves, their close family and their (future) husband. The more natural the cosmetic color, the more religious they feel, and therefore the most common cosmetics they use are facial moisturizer and powder, in addition to milk cleanser and toner. Cosmetics such as lipstick, blush on and eye shadow are rarely use or use only in a very special occasion, and only by those who really like dandan. The main point is they want to look confident with their natural beauty as well as religious (Islami).

Keywords: Islam, halal, cosmetic, beauty