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Halal nail polish - What do you have to watch out for?

Halal nail polish - What do you have to watch out for?

In this article, you will learn whether nail polish is permitted for a devout Muslim woman, and if so, according to which criteria it is halal. Our recommendations for ordering halal or water-permeable nail polish can be found at the end of this article.


The Prophet (sav.) said that cleanliness is part of faith. It is the basis of many other religious duties of Muslims. These duties include praying five times a day. One of six conditions that must be fulfilled before prayer is purity of the body. These duties can be found in the Koran, for example, in Sura Maide verse 6:   

"You believers! When you stand up for prayer (salaat), wash your face (before) and your hands up to the elbows and stroke your head and (wash) your feet up to the ankles!


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For this purpose Muslims perform a ritual ablution. During the washing, the prescribed areas must be completely covered with water. The "prayer washing" in Islam does not differ for women or men. 


There are similar guidelines for the "whole body wash", which is recommended by the Prophet Muhammad (sav.) at least once a week. Here, literally every centimeter of the body must have come into contact with water once. If this is not the case, the washing and thus also the prayer is invalid.

Because of these ritual washes and the associated moistening of the corresponding body parts, the dilemma begins with conventional nail polish products. Classical commercial nail polishes are usually characterized by the fact that after drying, they form a coherent net with which a film is drawn over the nail, which completely coats it. The dried nail polish is not permeable to water or air and is also not breathable. This is where the problem arises: when Muslim women try to wash their hands with water for the prayer wash or the full body wash, the nails remain untouched - and thus the ritual wash and thus the prayer is not valid.


In the meantime, water-permeable nail polish is available

The fact that traditional nail polish is not water-permeable becomes particularly clear when after some time the polish can only be dissolved and wiped off the nail by using special organic solvents, so-called nail polish removers. 


Basically it should be underlined that the decoration of nails is basically allowed according to different fatwas. It is also allowed to pray with varnish on the nails. In order to perform the corresponding prayer washing, the lacquer would have to be removed each time to perform a valid ritual washing. However, there are now nail polishes that solve this dilemma by being water permeable. The water gets through the nail polish onto the nail without the nail polish having to be removed. So that a nail varnish is called "halal"can be applied, it must be proven (e.g. in testing laboratories) that the water permeability is given. However, there are other criteria for classifying and certifying a nail polish as "halal". For example, the product should not contain alcohol if the origin of the alcohol is unknown. According to various jurisdictions (fatwa) in Islam, the use of synthetically produced and 100% pure alcohols in cosmetic products is permitted. Alcohol extracts from fermented grapes, for example, are not allowed.


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Animal welfare - animal testing is not permitted for halal cosmetics 

It is also important that the products manufactured are not tested on animals, in animal experiments. Islam places the utmost importance on the good treatment and welfare of animals. In the life of the Prophet Muhammad (sav), dozens of examples can be found of how he stood up for the just and good treatment of animals and the general welfare of animals. In some traditions, the Prophet says that Allah will be merciful to all who are merciful to every living creature, even if it is only a lamb. (Ahmed, III, 436; Hâkim, IV, 257) Against this background, it is not possible to consider products as halal if animals are used and suffered in their production or testing. Cruelty to animals is therefore strictly prohibited in the production of halal nail polish and other halal cosmetics.  

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