Growing up on the street from Ulta Beauty’s Chicago headquarters, Jordan Karim always knew she wanted to be a part of this large retailer. “I always thought I would work at Ulta,” says Karim. Instead, she became a research chemist working with brands like Skinceuticals and Johnson & Johnson. She loves the products she helped create, but says that as a Muslim, she feels “guilty” about using them because they’re not halal—meaning Muslims aren’t. allowed to use them. So she started her own skincare brand, Flora & Noor.. This is the first halal certified skincare brand in the US and as of January 22, it’s on sale at Ulta.
When Flora & Noor launched in December 2020, it filled a huge void for beauty-loving Muslims living in the US. “Because of the vacancy [in the market]we had to make our own, order it abroad or use haram (which means not allowed under islamic law) and then feel guilty about it—or not guilty about it. Personally, I feel guilty about that, which is why I created Flora & Noor,” Karim said. “When you’re praying, [Muslims] Do it five times a day, you have to do the so-called Wudu, which is a cleansing practice before you pray. If you have beauty products that aren’t halal-certified—if you have anything on your skin like makeup, fake nails, or anything else that’s waterproof—you must wash it off. With our products, you can still pray five times a day without having to completely eliminate your skin care routine.”
Flora & Noor Super Glow Vitamin C and Niacinamide Gel Moisturizer — $34.00
This moisturizer is part of the brand’s vitamin C line. “People always recommend vitamin C to treat hyperpigmentation, but a lot of times those formulas aren’t good for melanin-rich skin,” says Karim. “Either they don’t really work or they have a side effect when the percentages in the formula are too strong and the result can be more hyperpigmentation. So I created a sensitive skin-friendly vitamin C collection.”
In order for a product to achieve halal certification, it must follow a strict set of guidelines. First and foremost, all components need to be traceable. “A really very important part of being halal certified is that all ingredients are traceable and legally sourced,” says Karim. Additionally, the recipes must not contain any animal by-products (Flora & Noor’s also excludes honey, which means they’re also vegan) or alcohol. “We can’t use alcohol on our skin or drink it,” says Karim, “but it benefits everyone, too, as alcohol can be quite drying and most of the time in recipes it’s not necessary.
As you can imagine, formulating within these constraints can be extremely difficult—especially since they extend to each part of the supply chain process, meaning there can’t be any cross-contamination with other products coming from the same lab, warehouse, etc. “To create a brand, you have to do work with other manufacturers, other chemists and Karim say, and they may not know what halal is. “We really have to bring in the American Islamic Service. [one of a number of entities in the U.S. that performs halal certification] to provide education for our co-manufacturer, our third-party logistics [partners]and everyone on our team to make sure everyone understands the mission and what exactly ‘halal certified’ means to make sure we have the formulas to deliver to our community.”
Although Flora & Noor was created for Muslims, its strict ingredient standards have made it increasingly popular among non-Muslims who are looking for recipes.” cleaner”, more sensitive skin friendly. Karim. Products do not include GMOs, parabens or sulfates,” Plus, part of being halal-certified is that we can’t really have any of the ingredients in our formulas that could be in our formulas. anyway harmful to a consumer. So there are some ingredients that you will find in other clean formulas, because based on ratings, they have very a small percentage of potential harm, but we cannot have any of those ingredients in our formula. We really go beyond cleanliness.”
Flora & Noor Berry Oxygen Mask with Glycolic Acid — $32.00
“The oxygen berry mask is my favorite because it exfoliates so well but is still gentle on your skin,” says Karim. “The exfoliation is done with glycolic acid as well as cranberry and blueberry powder. And right away when you open the jar, you can smell blueberries and cranberries, so it smells great and you can see the pulp in the recipe. It just feels so good on the skin and you can see results almost immediately. It’s really inspired by pressurized oxygen facials.”
Another driving factor behind Flora & Noor’s creation is the fact that many halal certified products on the market do not work well on melanin-rich skin. “I’m a black Muslim,” Karim said. “When you buy beauty products from abroad, specifically Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, a lot of the products – even those that are halal certified – don’t solve the skin problems of these people. people with melanin rich skin Even though it’s an Eastern part of the world, the target is western beauty standards, so a lot of products are trying to whiten skin or just target people with white skin even though that doesn’t really reflect the population.”
So Karim has created products to address skin problems common in people with dark skin. “Think of eczema, hyperpigmentation, and melasma,” she says. She also made sure she used ingredients that were gentle enough. Because when using a dark spot product for example, if the active ingredients are too strong for someone who also has dark skin, it can cause irritation leading to an even worse darkening. “Also, a lot of products create a white film on your skin. And this is something I’ve seen first-hand in skin-care pharmaceuticals,” so she formulated it to ensure this. is not the problem.
Flora & Noor first launched on Amazon and is also sold at retailers like Walmart and Thirteen Lune. Ulta is the brand’s largest beauty retail partner, and it’s currently only available online. “My goal has always been to be involved and partner with Ulta,” says Karim. “This is really a fulfilling moment for me.”
Flora & Noor Rose Renewal Tri-Peptide and Ceramide Cleanser — $28.00
This cleanser belongs to the Rose Renewal line. “We used real Egyptian rose petals and hibiscus flowers,” says Karim. Of course, the Rose Renewal range is inspired by Egyptian traditions and ingredients.” This cleanser also includes ceramides to fortify the skin barrier, moisture-boosting peptides, aloe vera, and hydrating hyaluronic acid.
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