SkinYoga Coffee Body Scrub

There are lots of skincare stuff hidden on our kitchen shelves that we seldom use. One among those is my favorite ‘Coffee’. The revitalizing smell of coffee calms the senses. When used in excess caffeine maybe bad for health, but when applied to the skin coffee has a number of benefits. SkinYoga was kind enough to send me a sample of their “Coffee Body Scrub”. In this post I am going to review the “SkinYoga Coffee Body Scrub”.

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Skin Yoga Sandalwood Saffron Face Mask

I am always eager to try out anything new I come across. As Skin Yoga sent me samples of their products, I am now on a self-pampering spree, trying a sample a day. I have really started to love their products. Looks like the good old days are back when I took such good care of my skin. The smell of sandalwood, turmeric, orange-peels and everything natural is so nostalgic sometimes. Well in this post I am going to review Skin Yoga’s Sandalwood Saffron Face Mask. This one seems to impress me a bit more than the orange body scrub.

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A brief description of the product:
The goodness of sandalwood will reverse the signs of aging and gradually remove wrinkles and dark spots. Saffron will improve skin texture and also naturally make skin brighter and more radiant. The anti-oxidants found in walnuts are essential to skin regeneration and elasticity. The product also moisturizes the skin as it is infused with 100% natural coconut oil. Continue reading

Skin Yoga Product Review

It has been a long time since I have posted. I almost abandoned the blog for a month or so. But finally I am back with an interesting post for halal and vegan beauty product lovers. The halal beauty scene is growing day by day. Good to know that, as I am myself a lover of halal beauty products. A few days ago, a brand contacted me to review a few of their skincare products. I was really happy to know the company’s claim of being cruelty free, halal and vegan friendly. What more does a Muslimah want when choosing skincare products.

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Now let me introduce you to this new awesome brand — Skin Yoga.  This is a brand started and owned by three sisters Radhika, Jargriti and Deepika. They beleive in the essence of natural remedies, and this belief is what led to the beginnings of the brand Skin Yoga.

For today I am firstly going to review the product “Fresh Orange Body Scrub”. Continue reading

7th Heaven Face Mask Review

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This is my first review of a skincare product.I have chosen to review a coconut face mask. On a random visit to the Boots store, I came across face masks from the 7th Heaven brand, formerly known as Montagne Jeunesse. As I had previously listed the brand in my blog post about halal skincare brands, I felt obliged to try them myself. I picked up the Creamy Coconut Face mask. I am now completely in love with their products.

What instantly attracted me to this mask was it’s claim of being suitable for dry and dull skin. I suffer from extreme dry skin especially during the harsh winters. The biggest benefit of the Seventh Heaven brand is that they are free from animal byproducts. You can see in the above picture the product is “Leaping bunny certified” and “Vegetarian society approved”.  Continue reading

Vegan high-street beauty brands

So this post has been in my drafts, sleeping cozily since a few weeks, until I finally decided to publish it. When going to Hajj last year, I decided to discard all the products that gave me a red signal of being haram. Most of my products contained just carmine. I was totally saved from pork fat, as I used only L’Oreal and Maybelline, and these brands are pork-fat free, Allhamdullilah!. But alas, even these top-notch brands are not under the halal or vegan list. So with the help of a few buddies, I did some research on the easily affordable and available drugstore and high-street brands of cosmetics. I have complied it in the list below.Blackbird.pngB for Beautiful by Superdrug:
Superdrug B brand is one awesome brand. It is both affordable and really does do the job. A friend of mine swears by their B.Flawless foundation. I have personally used their lip glosses and was pretty impressed by their quality and price. As the brand is owned by Superdrug, it is obvious to be found only in their stores. The brand proudly states on each of their product that they are both vegetarian and vegan.

Barry M cosmetics:
This brand has a soft-spot in my heart, because their’s were the first vegetarian cosmetics I ever happened to use . I still own different shades of their lipsticks. Their satin super-slick lipsticks are my all time favorite. This range offers the most sophisticated colors I say. And then there’s the awesome Barry M Blink Precision Eyeliner. I love it, and it has got into my list of indispensable products. Barry M cosmetics can be found in Superdrug and Boots.

Sleek:
A classic budget brand, Sleek makeup is available in most of the high-street drugstores. I have never used any of their products, but my buddies have gone gaga over their matte lipstick range. I have also heard (from friends) good reviews about their face make-up range. Sleek is against animal-cruelty and they do also have many products suitable for vegans. A complete list of their vegan products can be found on the vegan taff website.

Collection Cosmetics:
This brand formerly known as Collection 2000 is a modest high-street brand. A friend of mine suggested trying the highlighter from collection. I went for the pearl sheen highlighter, and was quite impressed by the quality of the product and also the perfect pricing. Most of their products are suitable for vegetarians and there are others that are also suitable for vegans. There is a complete list of the products classified as per their suitability. Check the list here.

Rosie for Autograph:
This brand is exclusive to Marks & Spencer. Firstly M&S have their very own range of makeup products under the brand name Autograph. Rosie for autograph is a makeup collection from Rosie Huntington Whiteley. This sub brand of Autograph is also exclusive to M&S. I just randomly browsed through the online catalog and found most of the products to be suitable for vegetarians and vegans. The good news is they are also free from alcohol. Thanks to the beauty credentials of the supermodel. You can browse through their products here.

Urban Decay:
This is one famous makeup brand with the best of shades in every category. I have personally never used them. However, through my online research I found out that this brand is a cruelty-free and vegan certified brand. What more! No more checking of the ingredients for animal bi-products. Urban decay is easily available online. Oh! Yes I have even seen a counter of Urban Decay makeup in Debenhams.

Too Faced:
Next comes the high-spirited brand of Too faced. This brand is completely against animal cruelty. They also have a long list of products that are suitable for vegans and vegetarians. Even their make-up brushes are against animal cruelty 😆 .They have an online shop, or you can purchase too faced products from amazon and for sure some branches of Debenhams also have too-faced counters.
Find out more about animal bi-product free cosmetics here.

Models Own it:
Another cute high-street brand — simple, easily available and affordable. They are a NO NO to animal testing, as the website bluntly states— We do not test our products or ingredients on animals. End of story. 😆 . I found this quite funny. And the best part it the website gives a complete list of ingredients below the product name. There is also a [V] sign beside every product suitable for vegans. You can find the list here.

Lottie London:
This one’s a rather new brand, and the company website states that the company is cruelty-free and their brushes are vegan. Not sure about their makeup products. But vegan make-up brushes are of a definite halal origin. You can find them in the superdrug stores or at asos.

Tried my best to research the best of makeup brands that have no animal bi-products (pig fat included). But I give no guarantee of the alcohol content. However most synthetic alcohols are not the intoxicating ones and are permissible when used in personal care products. For a better understanding of alcohol content in products please do read my post on alcohol in personal care products.

Disclaimer: These brands are not HALAL certified.
I have only included the brands whose websites state that they are against animal cruelty and are Vegan— meaning whose products are free from animal by-products. The main concerns being carmine and pig fat or any other animal fat from animals whose slaughter process is a doubt for Muslims. Rest if the products contain ethyl alcohol or ethanol then they are not halal.

 

 

Halal skin care brands(U.K)

Asalamualaikum lovelies!!!. Finally back after a wonderful Eid-ul-fitr. Had loads of fun Allhamdullilah!!! Wore lovely dresses, makeup, had yummy food and enjoyed the weekend just lazying around as hubby was at home. I haven’t posted in the beauty category since long. Just remembered that long back I posted about halal skin care brands from India. Now finally did some intense research and listed out a few halal skin care brands found in the U.K. I have tried only a very few  from the London brands, as I purchase my skin care products mostly in bulk from India and also thanks to amazon and eBay for the ease with which they make anything available online. So finally here’s the list.

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PHB ETHICAL BEAUTY (Pure. Handmade. British):
An exemplary halal beauty brand, PHB Ethical Beauty has its origins in the city of Birmingham. It is a family owned business, and offers a range of skin care products, hair care products and cosmetics along with a men’s range. This brand boasts of manufacturing products that are— cruelty-free, halal-certified, organic, vegan, paraben-free and hand-made. I haven’t seen them in any of the drug stores or high-street shops, but they have a very attractive online shop that delivers world-wide at reasonable prices.

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SKIN YOGA: (Towards being a purer you)
Started by three lively and lovely sisters, the brand of Skin Yoga offers cruelty-free, preservative-free, paraben-free, halal and vegan skincare products. The company was kind enough to send me products for review, and I absolutely love them. Skin Yoga offers natural products with no chemical additions to them. The products might take time to work, but will leave the skin beautiful than ever if used persistently. I love the fact that these products are raw without much processing, and are therefore packed with the goodness of natural ingredients.  Do try them out. They sell in UK, through their online website.

SIMPLE— Sensitive Skin Experts:
Simple is a really simple brand :-P. The website states quite frankly that a few of their might contain ethyl alcohol which is haram. Rest most of their products are alcohol free and animal byproduct free, except for two products, one’s a shampoo and the other a conditioner which use animal products as the website states. Rest of their products are vegan and alcohol-free. This brand is easily available in any drug store or online. The pricing is quite classy and the products are effective from my personal experience.

MY PURE:
Yet another indigenous brand of Britian. The brand of My Pure was started in the year 2004. Their products range from body care, skin care, hair care, men’s care and also include baby care products. It’s an all-rounder in personal care products. The company website proudly claims to be vegan, vegetarian, organic, cruelty-free, paraben-free and sulfate free. Mashallah! that’s once nice brand. But not sure of the presence of alcohol in their products. So please check the label to be sure. The pricing is also quite appropriate.   

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LUSH COSMETICS:
The world famous lush is an English brand with its headquarters in Dorset, United Kingdom. I think this brand really needs no introduction, as it is a really famous one. Lush offers a variety of products that include body care, face care, hair care, makeup and perfumes. The brand is famous for being 100% vegetarian,  against animal testing, fair-trade, hand-made and for its naked packaging. But I do feel the pricing is a bit on the higher side. But the products are really worth the pounds.

SUPER DRUG ‘B’— B is for Beautiful:
Humility thy name is Superdrug!!!. I just love love love their products. Superdrug B range includes skin care, makeup, anti-aging, men’s range and also includes make-up accessories. I have used their moisturizers and sunscreens which were really awesome. Not to forget their range of essential oils is also a hit. The makeup range is really wow! as you get really impressive products at a very humble cost. The Superdrug B brand is completely vegan, vegetarian and cruelty-free as the products themselves state. This brand is a leaping-bunny certified one. As per the alcohol just checkout for ethyl alcohol or ethanol.

MONTAGNE JEUNESSE:
The Montagne Jeunesse’s is one famous British brand. I have seen many of their face-masks in the high-street drugstores, but never tried them. Their products include face-masks, hair range, eye&nose range, body range, foot range and men’s range. Have heard that their products are really effective for their ordinary pricing.This brand is vegetarian society certified, leaping bunny verified and PETA certified. Their products are made from organic ingredients and surely stand up to their claims. Alcohol as an ingredient varies in products just check out for that one.

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BENTLEY ORGANIC:
Soaps and shampoos always are at a risk of containing sodium tallowate— an ingredient derived from beef fat or pork fat. Yeww!!! So to be safe one can go for the Bentley Organic range of soaps and shampoos. This is an authentic English brand which offers body care, hair care, baby care and household cleaning products. Their products are vegetarian, vegan(except for the ones containing honey), paraben-free, organic and cruelty-free. Bentley organic is a U.K Soil Association approved brand.

In addition to these English brands, there are other brands as well that produce real good vegetarian and vegan beauty products and are available in the U.K. Ethyl alcohol OR ethanol is the only problematic ingredient to be searched for. Rest, all the above brands offer really effective products at decent prices. No mess of checking for animal fats :-P.

Insha Allah will update halal cosmetic brands soon. Till then see ya!!!. Jazakallah khayr.

Alcohol in personal care products and cosmetics.

We all love taking care of ourselves. It is a basic human instinct. Taking care of the largest organ of the body— the skin,  exists deep in the subconscious of a woman’s mind. Coming to these skin care products, there is a really conflicting view regarding the presence of alcohol in them. Alcohol is one such beverage that is highly forbidden in the holy Quran in addition to the meat of swine. Skin care products, cosmetics, after-shave lotions, perfumes, deodorants, blah blah the list goes on when checking for the presence of alcohol. It is really good to be assured you are not angering the creator whilst beautifying yourself. Alcohol is haram, in the sense it leads to intoxication. But are all the so-called alcohols haram???.Lets count on the haram and halal alcohols present in our quotidian personal care products. Most of these chemical formulations are permissible as they have no link to the real alcohol. Its quite surprising.

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ETHYL ALCOHOL—HARAM
As Wikipedia defines “ethyl alcohol also commonly called as ethanol or drinking alcohol is the principal type of alcohol present in alcoholic beverages and is produced by the fermentation of sugars by yeasts”. It is mostly used as a solvent in mouth-washes, perfumes and deodorants. When used it might enter the blood stream leading to intoxication in some cases. Hence ethyl alcohol or ethanol used in personal care products is haram. So one should avoid it.

CETEARYL ALCOHOL- HALAL
Cetearyl alcohol also called as cetostearyl alcohol or cetylstearyl is not alcohol in the true sense. It is an emulsifier prepared by combining fatty alcohols that are derived from vegetable oils like palm oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter or Shea butter. It does not involve the process of fermentation. It helps in binding the oils and water in personal care products like shampoos, hair conditioners and facial creams. It has no intoxicating effects as it is not consumable in the original form. It is a solid mass, a wax like substance. Hence it is halal to be used in personal products.

CETYL ALCOHOL— HALAL
Cetyl alcohol is also derived from fatty-alcohols and is a long chain alcohol. It is in the form of solid wax flakes at room temperature. It is derived from palmitic acid or palm oil, and causes no intoxication even if taken orally. Cetyl alcohol is used as an emulsifying wax in shampoos, creams and lotions. It is also uses as a medicinal ingredient in certain skin disorder treatments. It is halal as it has no point in intoxicating humans, as it is just a white waxy substance

STEARYL ALCOHOL— AMBIGUOUS STATUS
Stearyl alcohol is an organic compound classified as a fatty alcohol. It takes the form of white crystals and flakes and is insoluble in water. Stearyl alcohol is produced from stearic acid and is often used as an emulsifier or emollient in creams, shampoos and other personal care products to give it a thickened state. Stearic acid is often produced from the fats of animals like pigs, cows and sheep, wherein the product is not halal. But if  the product is from a vegan or vegetarian brand then stearyl alcohol might contain stearic acid from plant sources like Shea butter and Cocoa butter and is halal in status.

BENZYL ALCOHOL—HALAL
Benzyl alcohol is one naturally occurring alcohol. It is derived from a variety of fruits and teas. Benzyl alcohol is an naturally found aromatic compound with no intoxicating effect. It is also found in many essential oils like those of jasmine, hyacinth and ylang-ylang. It is used in perfumes and deodorants and is considered halal as it is either found naturally with no intoxicating effect or it is chemically prepared and is not consumable.

LANOLIN ALCOHOL—HALAL
Lanolin is a substance derived from the sheared fleece of a sheep. The animal is unharmed during the entire process. The extracted lanolin is mixed with acetic acid to prepare what is called lanolin alcohol or sheep alcohol. It is used as an emollient in face creams.This is considered to be halal as in the sense it is not consumable and has an animal ingredient which is derived without slaughtering the animal.

Most of the alcohols used in cosmetics just have the tag of alcohol in them. On the contrary they are neither in a consumable form nor can they be observed by the body. And over all they do not have an intoxicating effect. They are just used as emulsifiers or emollients that help in binding oils and water and impart a thickened form to the product. Rest Allah knows best. Just tried to help a bit in differentiating between halal and haram ingredients. Thanks to Wikipedia for a detailed explanation. Thanks to Allah(swt) for guiding us on the right path.

References:  Wikipedia, behalal.org, askimam.org, muftisays.com

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As colorful as “Carmine”.

As women, we all love applying that bright red lipstick. Porcelain skin and red lips are the two most important and indispensable qualities of beauty. But do you know that lipstick you apply contains the extract of insects rather it contains an extract from boiled insects. Yeww!!! as gross as it seems, it is the truth. Carmine is a synthetic food color derived from boiled insects. A vast majority of cosmetic brands use the substance called “Carmine” in their products mostly their lipsticks to give them that red and orangey tinge. Even certain food items do contain this notorious substance which appears to be labelled under innocent names. Lets look deeper into the subject.

WHAT IS CARMINE???
As Wikipedia says “Carmine is a pigment of a bright-red color obtained from the aluminium salt of carminic acid. The pigment is produced from some scale insects such as cochineal scale insects and certain other species”.  So basically speaking the color carmine is extracted from the bodies of insects specifically the cochineal insect that feeds on cacti.

HOW IS CARMINE PREPARED???
Now here is the real gross description. The substance carmine is produced by boiling the cochineal insects in ammonia or a solution of sodium carbonate. After boiling these poor creatures, the entire matter is filter and alum is added to the clear salt solution of carminic acid to precipitate the red aluminium salt, called as the carmine lake or crimson lake. To get a purple color lime is added to the alum.

The insects are killed by immersion in boiling water, or exposure to extreme sunlight or by heating them in ovens. Depending on the method adopted the color emitted from the dead insects varies. The more gruesome the killing the darker the color.

IS CARMINE HALAL??? OR HARAM???
It was narrated by Abdullah ibn Umar that Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) has said “Two types of animals which have died a natural death and two types of blood have been made lawful to us— the two which have died a natural death are those being the creatures of the sea and the locust, and the two types of blood being the liver and the spleen”.— Al-Tirmidhi(4132)

As simply as the above hadith explains, locusts are the only type of insects that are considered to be halal. Whereas carmine comes from the cochineal bugs and hence it is haram. The way those bugs are boiled is undoubtedly against Islamic laws of slaughtering.

CHEMICAL NAME OF CARMINE:
Be quick to check out your cosmetic ingredients list or your food packets for the following euphemisms of boiled bugs—
•Cochineal
•Cochineal extract
•Crimson lake
•Carmine lake
•Natural Red 4
•C.I 75470
•E120.

PRODUCTS TO CHECK FOR CARMINE CONTENT:
Cosmetics: Lipsticks, lip-liners, lip-glosses, lip-balms, nail polish, eye-shadows, eye-liners and kohls as far as I know. To be perfectly convinced, check any cosmetic which has color in it.

Food items: Skittles, Mentos, flavored-yogurts, ice-creams, vitamin supplements, and chocolates of certain famous brands do contain carmine. To be free from doubt just check for  the heavenly for vegetarian sign. That way you’ll also spare yourself of the haram animal fats also.

DO ALL BRANDS USE CARMINE???
Not all brands use carmine in their products. There are many vegetarian and vegan brands that use plant dyes to give the tinge of color to their products. One has to just check out the list of ingredients and the vegetarian symbol to be sure. Even if a brand states to be cruelty free they might just be against animal testing but might use carmine in their products. Being cruelty free is different from being vegan or vegetarian.

Just to be well convinced and satisfied, Islamic-wise and health-wise be sure to check out for this yucky boiled bugs ingredient. I have stressed on lipsticks because it is a vital make-up product, and as it is applied on lips there is a sure chance on ingestion into the mouth. And as for food items one has to be all the more careful, whether it is carmine or haram slaughtered animal fat both are equally impermissible. Many of us are completely unaware of this ingredient, thus a little enlightenment goes a long way. May Allah(swt) guide us on the right path.

P.S That picture is of a lady bird. Cochineal insects look different.

Halal skin care brands (India).

Whoever has said beauty comes naturally was mistaken— okay! beauty does come naturally but then all natural things deplete at some point. Before the process of depletion begins it is better you preserve what little remains of that. Now with a host of skin care products out there in the market you need to carefully choose as to what measures up-to the standards of your definition of beauty. Instead of dabbing a potful of useless stuff onto my face I rather carefully select my beauty products— that being said, they should be halal as in the sense vegetarian with a big NO to animal fats in them (pork specifically) and for sure no to alcohol. Here I have made a list of  beauty products that I have used personally, and these are from the Indian market.

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VICCO:
“Vicco turmeric nahi cosmetic”… remember that jingle of the 90’s?. Well Vicco turmeric skin cream tops my all time favourite skin products chart. Vicco products are complete halal— meaning vegetarian rather should I say they are vegan too with no alcohol content. The company offers a range of products from skin creams to toothpastes and powders. Vicco turmeric skin cream is my HG product, introduced to me by my mother. Do not  be misled by their vintage look— the products are well priced and really do the job.

NO ALCOHOL used in skin creams as  the list of ingredients says so.

BIOTIQUE BOTANICALS:
 This one’s a classic ayurvedic brand offering a range of vegetarian skin care products from the herbal ingredients found in the Himalayas. I always saw my aunt slathering the biotique coconut skin brightening  cream onto her face, I myself brought one and it’s performance was fairly good. The company also has a range of hair-care products all made from natural ingredients. Even their lip-balms are supreme in quality. The price may be a bit on the higher side for some, but they are a must have halal brand.

NO ALCOHOL used in their products as the company website states.

HIMALAYA HERBALS:
Yet another ayurvedic company Himalaya herbals has a vast assortment of skin care, hair-care and general well-being products. The products bear the against animal-testing tags on them. I mostly have used their face washes- the neem and apricot ones,  have also used the rejuvenating night cream, it does a pretty decent job and their bath range specifically the honey and almond soap is an amazing one, the apricot scrub is one to go gaga on . I have heard their health-care range is also quite beneficial. Their pricing is done keeping in mind the Indian aam aadmi.

Check out for ALCOHOL in particular  products.

SHAHNAAZ HERBALS:
 This brand is a top-notch herbal brand producing some very pure and potent skin care products. This is a PETA certified brand against animal cruelty hence no pig fat or any animal derivatives. Used the Shaglow moisturizing cream and was really impressed by the way it repaired my extreme-dry skin. I personally am a fan of Shanaaz products. Shahnaaz herbals products are high-priced alas! for the way they help your skin you can surely give them a try.

NO ALCOHOL used in any of their products as the company website says— halal formulations!!!

AROMA MAGIC:
A quintessential halal firm though it does not state it outwardly. Have gone through their website which states that their products are free of harmful chemicals, synthetic colors, animal derivatives, animal testing and alcohol content. I have personally used the aroma magic almond moisturizer it was good for the humid south Indian weather but discontinued it after coming to England . Their pricing is great too.

NO ALCOHOL used hence an ideally halal brand.

LOTUS HERBALS:
 A very decent herbal brand, with no animal derivatives in their products. Lotus herbals is a pioneer in the field of skincare products. I personally tried their sheamoist moisturizer and a few face washes. This brand was among my quotidian skincare products back in India and I’m in love with their kohl currently.  Though all of the products are herbal, a few odd ones contain alcohol just  be alert enough to check the ingredients. The pricing is quite impressive though.

Most of the products are NON-ALCOHOLIC, spare the odd few which have alcohol in them.

These are just a few among the vast majority of skin care products found in India. I have mostly sorted them on basis of vegetarian and non-alcoholic terms, also these brands are what I have personally used or am using at present. Rest Allah knows best.