Ruling on dealing in cosmetics and hairdressers’ supplies
Using cosmetics is something that women have their reasons for using, which is that they may make a woman appear more beautiful than if she did not use them. But if a wise woman knows what harm may result from that, she will refrain from using them.
Medical reports have stated that these cosmetics may cause numerous diseases.
For example, they may cause damage to the nerves of the face, and using them repeatedly may cause sensitivities and other kinds of harm whose effect may be seen on the skin after repeated use over a long period of time, such as redness, swelling and secretions.
In the answer to question no. 26799 we quoted comments from a doctor about the damage caused by lipstick, in which he said “Lipstick may cause swelling of the lips or drying and cracking of the thin skin of the lips, because it removes the protective layer of the lips.”
What he said is quite right. In the answer to question no. 26861 we quoted Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz as saying:
The issue of face powder or face creams is subject to further discussion.
If it is used for beautification purposes and does not cause any harm to the face, there is nothing wrong with it, but if it causes some harm such as black spots etc, then it is not allowed because of the harm it causes.
Similarly, Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said, as quoted in the answer to question no. 26799:
Many of these cosmetics contain haraam substances such as impure things, alcohol or foetuses. In the west they deliberately kill foetuses to make cosmetics from them.
The one who examines the situation of women nowadays will realize how successful our enemies have been in marketing their bad products to Muslim women. A look at the statistics on purchase of cosmetics is sufficient to show how serious this matter is. In 1997, women in the Gulf spent nearly three billion riyals on perfume alone, and fifteen million riyals on hair dyes. Sales of lipstick reached more than six hundred tonnes, whilst sales of nail polish reached more than fifty tonnes.
What would the figures be if we added what Muslim women around the world buy? And what if we were to work out the figures now?!
A woman may use cosmetics that are made from natural substances thus avoiding the harm that is caused by those materials. She may adorn herself for her husband with something permissible without it resulting in side-effects.
It should be noted that even if we assume that using these cosmetics may be permissible, the ruling on selling them may be different. Most of those who buy these materials are women who show their adornment and will use them in haraam ways, and they will appear wearing them in the streets and marketplaces, and in front of non-mahram men. The means are subject to the same rulings as the ends.
The one who helps women to use them in these haraam ways by manufacturing them, importing them or selling them is helping to spread these evils and harmful things, so he is a partner in the sin and the action. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Help you one another in Al‑Birr and At‑Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression”
If these cosmetics are free from harmful materials and are sold to those who will definitely or most likely use them for permissible purposes, then it is permissible to buy and sell those materials, otherwise it is haraam to buy and sell them.
For more details please see the answer to question no. 41052.
And Allaah knows best.