Representing the underrepresented: Ex-L’Oréal execs launch halal beauty brand to cater to diverse Muslim consumer base

By Amanda Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

Founders of Shade M Beauty highlights importance of diversity within Muslim community. ©Shade M Beauty
Founders of Shade M Beauty highlights importance of diversity within Muslim community. ©Shade M Beauty

Related tags: Halal cosmetics, make-up

Two former L’Oreal Group executives have founded a make-up brand to cater to the ethnically diverse group of consumers within the niche but growing halal market.

Dubai-based Shade M Beauty was founded by Jolie Nubani and Nour Khalife, who have 18 years of experience in the beauty industry between them working with brands such as Yves Saint Laurent Beauty and Giorgio Armani Beauty.

Their experience working with global beauty brands led them to launch a brand that could fill a significant gap in the market.

“It was so obvious that there was a narrow scope regarding representation and production of products for an ethnically diverse population of women like me and Nour, being both of Middle Eastern descent,”​ said Nubani, who serves as Chief Marketing Officer for the brand.

With over a billion Muslim women worldwide, the company believes halal beauty will follow the clean beauty trend as the next ‘must-have’ ​in the cosmetics industry.

Halal goes hand in hand with the growing trend in vegan and clean beauty. Although Halal and Vegan are not the same, the two are nearly synonymous and avoid similar ingredients. Halal ties up directly with the ethos of vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics, which are increasingly becoming a standard,” ​said Nubani.

She highlighted that the brand welcomed non-Muslim beauty consumers as well, “Regardless of the morals that guide you, halal products are suitable for everyone.”

The brand launched in February this year with a range of 15 matte liquid lipsticks that are clean, halal-certified, PETA approved vegan and cruelty-free.

“We specifically chose lipsticks because it’s such an experimental category that people always love to try. It plays on the individual mood and gives this immediate boost of energy and happiness,” ​said Nubani.

The brand has plans to roll out a whole range of make-up products to cater to the growing demand for halal beauty.

“We don’t believe halal is a trend but rather a significant beauty retail space. The demand for halal beauty products is growing like wildfire! The market is projected to be worth $90 billion by 2023. However, we haven’t seen many brands respond to this demand, which is where we come in, Shade M is ahead of the curve and our team is excited to shake up the mainstream industry,” ​said Nubani.

Inclusivity mission

When it comes to product development, Nubani told CosmeticsDesign-Asia​ that the company designed products for “those who have been underrepresented​” in the mainstream beauty market.

“Muslim consumers are not looking to be a separate community. Their needs, just as the needs of all beauty consumers, should be met and easily found in the same retail space that they are currently buying their cosmetics. Not in secondary, difficult to find, individual platforms or market spaces.”

She continued: We want to design products that showcase how awesome and diverse these women are while still being inclusive of women belonging to different minority groups who are often marginalised in the beauty realm.”

Nubani stressed that even though Muslim beauty consumers were considered minority group, there was still an extremely ethnically diverse range of women within it.

She added that many brands in the market were guilty of not paying attention to the needs of the minority.

“So many brands just put enough shades in a range of foundations and believe they’ll be inclusive but that’s not how it works,”​ said Nubani.

“You might have 100 shades but if the undertones and base pigmentation aren’t formulated correctly the product oxidises on your skin. This is a major issue because it means the product goes whiter. For a person with darker or more olive skin tones – like many Muslim women, this just doesn’t work.”

As such, the company has made it a priority to create highly pigmented products.

“To be inclusive, Shade M has made it a top priority that every product we create has the deepest pigmentation possible. This makes every shade versatile and works for the lightest to darkest skin tone because we genuinely believe everyone should have an equal experience across products.”

With the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the company has yet to confirm the launch dates of the new products it plans to launch or its plans to expand into the wider market, said Nubani.

“While we have product roll out ambition and retail expansion strategies, we would be hard-pressed to tell you what the next 12 months will hold. If COVID-19 has taught us anything it’s to focus on building our Shade M community and staying connected to what is happening across markets.”

Jolie Nubani, Chief Marketing Officer & Co-Founder, Shade M Beauty, will lead a session at in-cosmetics Asia on ‘The future of Halal Beauty’ on Tuesday 3 November at 14:00 in the Marketing Trends Theatre. The session will highlight how brands are innovating, the strategies to obtain certification, and discuss whether ‘Halal’ is a purchase-driver. It will also reveal the future opportunities to expand on cruelty-free, vegan and organic product innovations, as well as to appeal to non-Muslim populations.

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