For Muslim women who feel they are violating Islam's teachings by using skin creams with alcohol and pig residues, Layla Mandi has the
answer: religiously-correct "halal" cosmetics.
The Canadian makeup artist who converted to Islam is marketing cosmetics called OnePure, which she says have the luxury feel of international brands minus the elements banned under Islamic law.
"There are pork derivatives and alcohol in most cosmetics products, so Muslims should really use something else," Mandi said.
From Islamic banking to alcohol-free hotels, products tagged as halal have become popular among devout Muslims — who pray five times a day and perform other rituals. Under the concept of halal — which means "lawful" in Arabic — pork and its by-products, alcohol and animals not slaughtered according to Koranic procedures are all forbidden.
"Muslims don't want to go around and pray five times a day having pork residues on their body," said Mandi, in her early thirties and swathed in a slim black abaya, or cloak, with wisps of blond hair sticking from under her head scarf.
According to Mandi, fatty acids and gelatin used in moisturisers, shampoos, face masks and lipsticks as well as other items are often extracted from pigs. Determined to create a halal product, Mandi brought together a dermatologist and a chemist and told them the deal: cosmetics and skin-care products free of pork and alcohol.