As a Muslim woman, you might be envious of other ladies with their perfectly manicured and colourful nails. Nail polish is often frowned upon unless ladies are experiencing menstruation and are excused from their daily prayers. Wudhu’ or ablution is not considered valid when you use regular non-porous nail polish. This is due to the fact that water isn’t able to reach all parts of your body including your fingernails.
However, Halal nail polish has been making headways in the beauty world. Brands have begun marketing a porous type of nail polish that practising Muslims can use. As part of efforts to be more inclusive of Muslim consumers, popular cosmetic brands like Orly are manufacturing such nail polishes to encourage Muslim women to express themselves with colourful nails.
What is Halal nail polish?
Halal nail polish is commonly described as breathable nail polish where water can permeate through. It shares similar technology with contact lenses which allow oxygen and hydration to pass through. While it is seen as a ‘Halal’ solution for Muslim women, breathable nail polish also ensures that the nails are kept healthy as it is enriched with essential oils.
The porous chemical makeup allows water to penetrate the nail polish and ultimately, reach your nailbed. Thus, it may be used for everyday life without interfering with ablution and prayers.
Is it really halal?
There have been many debates about usability and whether it is appropriate for Muslim women to wear nail polish. Some conservative Islamic scholars argue that nail polish should be avoided as it is regarded as ornamental. Like other flashy ornaments, it should not be worn in the company of her non-mahrams (people who women can’t marry like her father or uncle).
Others such as notable American Imam Omar Suleiman defended the use of breathable nail polish as a “Halal” alternative. The use of normal nail polish might be considered embarrassing for Muslim women as it indicates that they are experiencing menstruation.
Another glaring criticism is whether this porous nail polish is truly ‘Halal’ as apparently, its water permeability is not very high. There is no credible research rooted in science and facts revealed to support its ‘breathabilty’.
Most pseudoscientists conduct experiments using coffee filters where they would apply a coat of both regular and ‘Halal’ nail polish onto the filters and allow it to dry. Another coffee filter would be placed underneath before drops of water was placed over the nail polishes. Through this amateur experiment, water was able to seep through which supports the claims of permeability.
It would be unfair to totally write off these nail polishes as they are truly Halal-certified. Its ingredients in the products are permissible by Islamic Shariah law. Since there is no true scientific certainty to support its use when performing prayers, it might seem advisable to avoid using nail polish when performing our ablution. But again, everyone is entitled to their own informed choices. For now, maybe Muslim women might want to play it safe with henna.