Is halal the next natural beauty trend?

In these enlightened times customers are used to talking about fair trade and organic beauty – but how about halal?

The success of Rose Brown’s unique Birmingham store Pure Halal Beauty is proof there’s a market for customers looking for a new standard in purity.

So, to celebrate her first year in business, we caught up with the 20-year-old entrepreneur to find out how she’s single-handedly growing the category.

Natural beginnings

Like many natural beauty pioneers, Rose Brown’s journey started with her own research into what goes into synthetic beauty brands.

“I heard some horror stores about what goes into conventional products and I couldn’t believe how hard it was to get answers from these big companies,” she says.

As a vegetarian, Brown became interested in halal certification, which she believes is “a whole ethical way of life”, and how it could be applied to natural beauty. However, she found sourcing halal beauty incredibly frustrating.

“I found that it was impossible to get Halaal products in the UK, because they were so obscure – even in a multicultural centre like Birmingham.

But I managed to find brands in Malaysia and south east Asia that people didn’t seem to know about over here. That’s what started my brain ticking – why don’t I make them available to people?”

Stringent certification

This train of thought inspired her to launch her own store stocking the products she found on the internet. It also inspired her to launch her own natural halal beauty brand, The PHB Collection, in Winter 2011.

One of the biggest challenges was making sure the collection met the strict criteria for halal certification.

“The board we work with is incredibly stringent,” explains Rose

“They inspect absolutely everything – and need to trace every ingredient and manufacturing process back to the source. For instance, the products we use to clean the machines might contain alcohol – so we looked at that. It was a hard standard to attain – but now we can offer customers complete assurance.”

Brown says that the store attracts a wide range of customers looking for ethical products. She explains that often customers come in looking for general information about natural beauty too.

“A gentleman came in just wanting to know what parabens were. I’d done the research so I felt confident I could give him a balanced view. We’re not trying to preach – but trying to help people make the right informed decisions.”

Helping customers choose the right natural foundation (one of the store’s top-sellers) shows the kind of personal service the store offers.

“We don’t let people walk out without the wrong foundation,” says Rose.

“If we haven’t got a colour to match their natural skin tone we won’t just send them off with something else. It’s about making people feel good about themselves.”