“We have certainly created man in the best of stature” – Al-Quran 95:4
This quote reminds us that Allah has created every single one of us perfectly. Nowadays, however, women are constantly bombarded with messages that lead us to think that we have to meet the beauty standards set by mainstream media (read: hourglass figures, pouty lips and ‘on fleek’ eyebrows).
Although we are created perfect, I believe that there is nothing wrong with enhancing the beauty that God has bestowed upon us. With that being said, it is important to note that some of the practices to achieve these high beauty standards are not prohibited or haram in Islam. Here are five ways you can beautify yourself the halal way.
1. Remove excess hair
It is haram to remove or shorten eyebrow hairs as Prophet Muhammad PBUH has “cursed” women who pluck their eyebrow hairs. Nevertheless, most Islamic scholars have mentioned that it is permissible for a woman to remove excess hair from other parts of her face, such as the upper lip area and chin area. Hair from the arms and legs are also permissible to be removed.
Most women use razors and epilators to remove excess hair on their face and body. If you have the means, laser hair removal is also permissible on two conditions; the procedure is done by a female specialist and the laser treatment doesn’t cause any harm to yourself.
2. Follow the Sunnah
You can keep yourself neat and tidy by following the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad PBUH, which is to remove pubic hairs, cut your nails and pluck your armpit hair regularly. It is prohibited to let the hair and nails grow for more than 40 nights as it is said to resemble animals.
Many beauty tips can actually be found in the Sunnah and most of these beautifying techniques have been around for hundreds of centuries. One item that is gaining popularity again nowadays is the miswak. A miswak is a small stick from the Salvadora persica plant. To create bristles, one end of the miswak is chewed to separate the wood fibres. This would release the cleaning properties of the miswak. All that is left to be done is to rub the bristles on your teeth, just like a toothbrush.
Other more popular beauty practices that are still carried out till today are using henna to stain the skin and fingernails and using kohl as eyeliner.
3. Restore your hair health
In the hadith, it is said that “there is healing in black cumin for all diseases except death”. Black cumin seed contains over a hundred beneficial components, such as linoleic acid, calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin B and vitamin C. It has been written in many ancient texts that black seed oil can help alleviate certain ailments which include asthma, dry cough and diarrhoea.
Other than being used for medical purposes, black seed oil is also beneficial for your hair. Like most hair oils, black seed oil conditions your hair by locking in moisture and keeps frizziness at bay. But what makes black seed oil so special is that it can help curb hair fall and prevent greying.
Black seed oil contains two potent antihistamines; nigellone and thymoquinone. Together with the other beneficial components mentioned earlier, these ingredients help to nourish hair follicles and work to strengthen and regrow hair. Black seed oil also inhibits the reduction of the pigment cells in the hair follicle, which in turn prevent grey hair.
4. Use halal cosmetics that are good for you
Most of us are aware that the ingredients in our cosmetics products should not contain any haram components, such as animal-derived ingredients and alcohol. But did you know that your cosmetic products should also not be harmful to your body? Islam forbids causing harm to oneself. Prophet Muhammad PBUH once said: “there should be neither causing harm nor reciprocating harm.”
Therefore, you should avoid using cosmetics that contain toxic ingredients that can be harmful to you in the short and long run. Some examples of toxic ingredients commonly found in many widely available cosmetics products include parabens, sodium lauryl sulfates and synthetic colours. It has been scientifically proven that these ingredients can increase the risk of cancer and are skin, lung and eye irritants.
Instead, turn to natural makeup and skincare alternatives. You can purchase cosmetics from many halal-friendly and vegan makeup and skincare brands that are popping up both locally and internationally. You can even easily whip up your own cosmetics at home with commonly found kitchen ingredients!
5. Opt for halal hair dyes
Most conventional hair dyes found in beauty salons and drugstores contain harsh ingredients that can damage your hair. Moreover, these hair dyes can form a coating on your hair strands that don’t allow water to permeate your hair follicles. This can nullify your ablution (wudhu) and obligatory bath (ghusl). Therefore, most Muslim women turn to henna hair dyes as it is a well-known halal product.
The major downside of henna hair dyes is that the colour selection is limited to shades of black, brown and burgundy. If you want to be adventurous with your hair colour, you’ll be happy to know that there are halal-certified hair dyes on the market! Similar to halal cosmetics, these halal hair dyes claim to not contain haram ingredients and are water-permeable.
#HZtip: Halal hair dyes are easily found in Malaysian and Indonesian stores. It can be difficult to find them in Muslim-minority countries such as Singapore. But not to worry, wherever you are, halal hair dyes can be easily purchased online.
While chasing beauty on the outside, don’t forget to also beautify yourself on the inside. May we all radiate beauty from inside out fellow sisters!