Arab-Owned Beauty Brands That Are Innovative AF
Although the (long overdue) push to put more minority-owned businesses in the spotlight is finally taking hold, for Arabic folks, playing an important role in the beauty world is nothing new. In fact, some things you might consider to be modern-day beauty staples (i.e. Turkish baths, argan oil, rose water) have deep roots in Arabic culture.
And while it's always important to stock your vanity with items from a variety of diverse creators, there's no better time than now — Arab History Month — to celebrate the game-changing innovations that Arabic entrepreneurs are contributing to the beauty world.
So whether you are seeking a new serum or always in the market for shinier, stronger strands, go grab your wallet because these Arab-owned beauty brands are sure to have everything you need — and then some. Just "window" shopping at the moment? Then bookmark this link STAT for the next time you're on a mission to refill your moisturizer. After all, supporting minority-owned businesses is important 365 days of the year — plus, these products are just cool and effective!
Meaning "to heal" in Arabic, Shiffa is a Dubai-based beauty brand whose range of portions and lotions stand true to their name. Whether you opt for the rich Healing Balm (Buy It, $106, bloomingdales.com) or the milky Aromatic Facial Cleanser (Buy It, $80, bloomingdales.com), you're sure to be left with smooth, spa-like skin. And as if you needed another reason to shop Shiffa, this Arab-owned beauty brand is the brainchild of female physician Lamees Hamdan, M.D.
Each vegan and cruelty-free product in Plenaire's collection is crafted with the notion that taking care of your skin (and, thus, yourself) should always feel good — no matter the kind of day your dermis is having. Battling a breakout? Rather than fixate on those stubborn zits (and, let's be honest, feel like sh*t because of 'em), cover the bumps with the Violet Paste Overnight Blemish Treatment (Buy It, $42, credobeauty.com) and feel your confidence start to rise as the formula gets to work. Or maybe you're just having a bad day and need a little pick me up. The Droplet Lightweight Moisture Gel (Buy It. $47, credobeauty.com) can help with that, transforming your skin from dull to dewy and your mood from dreary to cheery. (Related: Jelly Skin-Care Products Are the New Trendy Texture for Oily Skin)
You'd be hard-pressed to find a hair- or skin-care line that doesn't tout the terms "Moroccan" or "argan" somewhere on its packaging. But for IZIL, using those words on their labels isn't just a marketing tactic. Founded by Morocco-born Mouna Abbassay, the brand's beauty products are rich with ingredients such as argan oil (which, ICYDK, is just a purer form of Moroccan oil). In addition to this vitamin E- and antioxidant-packed potion that's good for both your skin and strands, IZIL's products are also made with hair-strengthening prickly pear oil — i.e. Nutritive Oil for Dy & Dull Hair (Buy It, $45, izilbeauty.com) — skin-nourishing almond oil — i.e. Illuminating Almond Scrub (Buy It, $50, izilbeauty.com) — and a trove of other soothing, great-smelling notes. (Related: The Best Hair Oil for Your Hair Type)
The vibrant, diverse selection of nail polishes in 786 Cosmetics' catalog are all Halal-certified, meaning they're are porous and thus allow oxygen to pass through the polish to the nail (so your natural nails won't get destroyed in the painting process). Complex chemistry aside, Halal lacquers also free of alcohol, animal products, and other ingredients prohibited in the Islamic faith, according to the ISWA Halal Certification Department. On top of that, 786 Cosmetics' polishes come in a range of colors from a rich red inspired by the sandstone walls of the Agra Fort in India (Buy It, $13, walmart.com) to a soft pink that channels the romantic city of Casablanca, Morocco (Buy It, $13, walmart.com).
From materials such as soft chiffon and buttery satin to bold prints, Austere Attire creates super-cute hijabs and corresponding accessories that are meant to make a statement. And while the Los Angeles-based company's collection looks (and feels!) like the type of luxury goods you'd find on Rodeo Drive, their products are actually available at a particularly affordable price point.
Although Sitti Soap is technically a soap company, the brand's heart is really centered on activism. Founded by Noora Sharrab and Jacqueline Sofia in 2014, Sitti Soap is committed to helping female refugees in the Middle East by providing them with employment opportunities and a sustainable income, according to the company's site. To boot, every soap purchase is paired with a story about its creator; you can read about all of the artisan soap makers behind each bar on Sitti's website.
If there's a particularly gender-polarizing type of beauty product, it's scent. How often do you see a male-oriented fragrance described as "floral" or a female-positioned one as "icy" or "musky"? Exactly — and Arcadia's unisex fragrances are changing that. Founder Amna Al Habtoor created the line in 2018 under the guiding principle that every individual's narrative — and scent — is highly personal. Head to the company's website to click through a list of different stories, each of which is paired with a particular fragrance. Choose the journey that speaks to you the most and you're sure to get a fragrance that fits your vibe.
While working as a NICU nurse, Ahlam Abbas (aka Lam) became particularly frustrated with the skin-care products available. Not only were they ineffective in improving her complexion but they also included harsh ingredients — two realizations that prompted the Palestinian American to engineer her own all-natural, sulfate-free, unisex skin-care line: Dirty Lamb. And while skin-care enthusiasts overall will appreciate all of the brand's offerings, coffee lovers, in particular, will rejoice over the company's cult-favorite Coffee Scrub. Made of 100 percent Arabic coffee, this exfoliating product is designed to combat inflammation and stubborn acne scars while leaving your skin feeling silky smooth. (Related: How to Find the Best Face Exfoliator for Your Skin-Care Routine)
If you've strolled through any major cosmetics store recently, there's a chance you're familiar with Huda Beauty cosmetics. Since it was founded in 2013 by Huda Kattan, the brand has expanded far beyond its OG product of false eyelashes (Buy It, $19, sephora.com) to now offer a myriad of must-have goodies, including velvety liquid lipsticks (Buy It, $20, sephora.com) sephora.com), glittery shadow compacts (Buy It, $65, sephora.com), and liquid eyeliner (Buy It,
$25 $12, sephora.com). Not sure how to best apply a recently purchased product? No problem. Both the brand and founder's Instagram are loaded with how-to videos.
For Kuwait-born Sheika Al Sabah, color therapy — and the emotional connection a person experiences when viewing each shade — is the driving ideology behind her skin-care company, Prismologie. Browsing through the website alone is a serious feast-for-the-eyes, with rainbow-colored packages containing bath and body products such as citrus-scented shower gel (Buy It, $20, amazon.com) and skin-soothing rose quartz cream (Buy It, $18, amazon.com). (Related: The Benefits of Red, Green, and Blue Light Therapy)
Green Bar Bahrain
Green Bar Bahrain's line of natural beauty products draws inspiration from centuries-old Middle Eastern beauty practices that its founder, Reem Al Khalifa, grew up learning. Each ingredient the company uses is sourced from local farms and suppliers in the Bahrain region. The yummy-smelling mint, mulberry, rose, and palm herbs contained in each soap product, however, are harvested directly on Green Bar's family land. (Related: What's the Difference Between Clean and Natural Beauty Products?)
You didn't think just one Kattan sister was going to make her mark on the beauty world, did you? Enter: Kayali, a perfume line imagined by none other than Huda and her sister, Mona Kattan. On top of smelling ahh-mazing, scents are meant to be layered to create your own personalized fragrance. Select just one or mix and match fragrances such as floral Elexir (Buy It, $85, sephora.com) and earthy Musk (Buy It, $85, sephora.com).