Category Archives: Health & Beauty

Real Purity Lipstick Review

The Backstory:

(Please skip to “The Review” portion of this blog post if you are not interested in the backstory as to why I switched to these lipsticks):

The whole point of my blog is to allow others to share my journey towards increasing my practice of the deen as I progress through life. It is a very difficult thing to do when living in a non-Muslim majority country where the line between halal and haram is often blurred. We have to face the daily grind of making choices, endless choices, between halal and haram options with our limited understanding and knowledge. These choices span every category of life, including food, socialization, interaction, attire, and even personal care and cosmetic products. Therefore, I like to share on this blog what I have learned so far and to provide halal alternatives to those on a journey similar to mine.

Oftentimes, the importance of choosing halal options in the personal care and cosmetics categories are less apparent because most people don’t even realize that their favorite products include haram ingredients. For example, are most of you aware that carmine, which is a color obtained from crushed insects, is used in majority of lipsticks? Or that ethanol/ethyl alcohol is sometimes used in cosmetics? Or that many of the ingredients, such as phenoxyethanol and heavy metals, used in lipsticks can cause slow damage to your health with regular use? Since skin absorbs a lot of what is put on it and lipsticks are often unintentionally ingested with use, it is equally important for me to make sure that my lipsticks have the least harmful ingredients possible as I have thyroid issues made worse with toxins and because the holy Qur’an advises:

“O ye people, eat of what is on earth, lawful and good.” (2:168)

“Let not your own hands contribute to your destruction” (02:195)

Since I became aware of the problem that a lot of cosmetics and personal care products are not halal-friendly nor safe for our health, I decided to slowly transition to better alternatives. One of my recent goals was to transition all of my lipsticks to halal-friendly ones and, boy, was it difficult (truly frustrating!) to find ones that were both halal-friendly and relatively harmless. I found halal-certified lipstick brands that contained harmful pigments or natural brands that either contained ethyl alcohol/ethanol or were not vegan (so we could avoid carmine and potentially other haram animal by-products).

Unfortunately, after much research, I personally could not find a halal-certified lipstick that contained the least harmful ingredients possible according to Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. However, I did find a non-halal-certified brand named Real Purity that sells vegan, natural, and ethanol/ethyl alcohol-free lipsticks according to their website and customer service in June 2018. All the lipstick ingredients appear to be halal and relatively safe with the best of my knowledge after I emailed customer service to verify this:

June 6, 2018:
Hi Tabassum,
Thank you again for reaching out to us!
The lipsticks do not contain soy or any type of alcohol.
Have a wonderful rest of you week!

 

Best Regards,

Cheryl Johnson
Customer Service Assistant
RealPurity, Inc.
Phone-1-800-253-1694
Fax – 1-812-473-0803
June 7, 2018:
Hello,
Yes, they are vegan.

Best Regards,

Cheryl Johnson
Customer Service Assistant
RealPurity, Inc.
Phone-1-800-253-1694
Fax – 1-812-473-0803
I asked on June 7, 2018: On a few different websites it says the realpurity red color lipsticks (such as clover red) may contain carmine. Is this true? I hope you don’t mind me confirming as it is very important to me to avoid any animal byproducts.
Response from customer service on June 8, 2018:
Hello,
That is not correct. Unfortunately, we cannot control some of our dealers website’s. When we see the issue we do reach out to them and ask them to update their information.

Best Regards,

Cheryl Johnson
Customer Service Assistant
RealPurity, Inc.
Phone-1-800-253-1694
Fax – 1-812-473-0803

As you can see, I did the painstaking task of contacting the lipstick brand to confirm (to the best of my knowledge, and Allah knows best) that the ingredients they use in their lipsticks are permissible for us, In Shaa Allah. However, please take a look at the ingredients tab for each lipstick or contact customer service yourselves at the time of purchase in case of changes to the ingredients. Finally, please note I only researched the lipstick ingredients and cannot confirm if their other products are halal or natural at this point in time.

The Review:

I’m sure that if halal and natural ingredients are not important to you, then you will find better lipsticks. I, myself, was not expecting the best quality since my research led me to just one brand that I felt confident met all my requirements. What would be the chances that the lipsticks themselves were also wonderful? Well, I was pleasantly surprised that the Real Purity lipsticks are actually of excellent quality considering that they only contain natural ingredients. Not only are they highly pigmented, they are also non-drying on the lips when applied with chapstick. My lips feel wonderfully moisturized even though I chose more of the matte colors. I will say, however, that I usually prefer lipsticks that are even more matte but these were so beautiful on and non-drying that I did not care. The colors are also very beautiful and look lovely on darker skin-tones and darker, uneven lips.

Real Purity Lipstick Review 2(Left to right: harvest blush, parfait, rose, and clover red)

As you can see from the lipstick swatches above, the colors are gorgeous! The harvest blush color is my personal favorite so far as it looks really nice with my skin-tone and dark lips. It also draws less attention, which may be important to many of you. This color is perfect for warm skin-tones. My skin color is more neutral, so certain cool colors like, rose and parfait, can look good on me too. The clover red is good for both warm and cool skin-tones according to the website and it is more of a true-red color. The great thing about Real Purity is that they list which type of skin tone each lipstick goes best with. Please read the description properly because some of the lipsticks are frosted or shimmery.

One great thing about Real Purity lipsticks is that you can purchase samples of any of the lipstick colors prior to purchasing the full-sized version so that you can feel more confident about your color choices. Though, some people have mentioned in the reviews, that the sample colors can sometimes be a little off from the full-size lipstick colors.

Overall, I love the Real Purity lipsticks and you can see that many others do as well from the great reviews on their website. I cannot believe that I loved each of the colors I purchased when it is usually really difficult for me to find lipsticks that look nice on me. Therefore, I highly recommend this brand and hope you will think about switching to more natural, halal lipstick alternatives too.

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My Hijama Experience

“Indeed in hijama (cupping) there is a cure”.  – Saheeh Muslim

I recently decided to try hijama in order to bring back one of the barely alive sunnahs of our beloved Prophet (SAW). Hijama has both spiritual and physical rewards and I’ve had a positive experience with a hijama practitioner in Atlanta, Georgia called Atlanta Holistic Hijama. I would like to recommend them to anyone interested in hijama because, although they’re a home-based clinic, both the husband and wife are certified and they really take the time to coach you on the importance of hijama and how it is used holistically with an overall healthy lifestyle to bring you spiritually and health benefits. They spent almost thirty minutes or longer discussing nutrition and other healthy habits with me and my husband. I also found their hygiene practice to be very good. Not to mention the lady included an extra step that almost feels like a very relaxing massage. So, it almost feels like I’m at a spa (she even offers dates and honey water at the end).

The importance of hijama in the divine guidance can further be stressed by the following words which were related to the Prophet SAW on the night of Israa (ascension to the heaven) by angels: “O Mohammed, order your ummah (people) with hijama (cupping)”.– Saheeh, Sunan Tirmidhi. (http://www.islam.ru/en/content/story/benefits-hijama-cupping)

Overall, I felt they provided a very personal touch and care that my parents lacked in their experience in a very packed and busy Maryland clinic. Unlike my experience, my parents said their hijama experience was rushed and that they were not even sure if the hijama practitioners did the procedure properly as they were taking off previous cups as soon as they put on the next one and each cup barely had a chance to stay on their backs. I told them they must try Atlanta Holistic Hijama next time they visit. I did not see many reviews available for them when I was researching them and I thought my review may be useful to somebody. While taking my recommendation into account, I encourage you to do your own research and go with a clinic you feel comfortable with. The main thing is that I highly recommend practicing this Sunnah in general.

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: The best thing with which you can treat sickness is cupping” [Bukhari: 5371]

In case you are worried about the pain factor, I noticed that both me and my mom did not feel much pain. Rather, we were just very ticklish when they were making the cuts. However, my father and husband both mentioned it hurt just a little. So, I think it may just depend person to person and on the area being treated but I can say that it was not so overwhelming for my husband and father that they had to stop the procedure midway. So, please don’t be nervous to try hijama if it’s your first time. I believe the benefits will far out-weigh any slight discomfort or pain.

In case you do not really have a good idea of what hijama is, below is a very informative video from the Deen Show.

 

Product Rave: Natural Bodywash

My first recommendation for a natural body wash was for a bar soap by Shea Moisture. Now, I can finally recommend a liquid body wash as I know many people prefer liquid soaps for the convenience. The shower gel is by A La Maison and it comes in two scents, a delicate honeysuckle scent and a lavender scent. Although the experience may not be as luxurious as the Shea Moisture bar soap since it’s not as creamy and moisturizing, it does the job well while using very natural ingredients and the scent is long-lasting. Warning: It is a thinner liquid consistency, which is not a big deal because the ingredient list is my priority but I did want to throw that out there for those who might not like that.

I have personally purchased this shower gel from a health store and a local Publix grocery store. However, I have seen it available on Walmart.com and Amazon.com as well.

Here are the ingredients: Filtered water, coconut oil, olive oil, natural vegetable glycerin, argan oil, tocopherol (vitamin E), natural fragrance with plant extracts and essential oils.

Please check the label to confirm the ingredients list prior to purchase in case of changes or errors.

Product Rave: SheaMoisture’s Organic Coconut & Hibiscus Face & Body Bar

Honestly speaking, I have been on the market for an affordable and effective organic body soap for quite some time and nothing has taken my fancy until now. I am absolutely in love with the Shea Moisture brand’s “Organic Coconut & Hibiscus Shea Butter Soap with Songyi Mushroom.”

I had been trying, in vain, to get my husband to use more natural body washes for quite some time but he kept reverting back to using his chemical-laden favorites. He preferred any old conventional body wash over the ones I had found him so far, and I really don’t blame him. The body washes we tried had fewer chemicals, but were not completely void of them, and never provided a better experience. So, I actually gave up and stopped trying to convince him to look for better alternatives. However, we both were now in the habit of looking at the ingredient lists of body washes and trying to at least pick the one that we felt would be less harmful even though it was all a guessing game since the ingredient lists were always filled with unpronounceable and unrecognizable items.

Then one day, as we were walking towards the checkout at Target (out of all places!), we passed by the beauty and health section and I stopped in my tracks as I spotted “organic” written on a random soap bar. My husband and I were really impressed by the simple ingredient list as this was our first time to see a body wash with so clean and few ingredients. We knew we had to try it but we really did not expect much as previous finds had left us with much to be desired.

Needless to say, we were both surprised by how much we loved this body bar. Honestly, I’m not even into bars soaps. I prefer liquid/gel body washes as they’re more convenient. However, this is now my favorite body soap, and even my husband loves it and continues to use it. The body bar leaves you feeling clean and it is ultra-moisturizing. It has a luxurious lather and really beats conventional body soaps in terms of ingredients AND experience.

Here is the list of ingredients from their website:

Coconut Oil*, Coconut Milk, Papaya Enzymes, Vanilla Beans, Shea Butter*, Cocoa Butter*, Vegetable Glycerin, Songyi Mushroom Extract, Vitamin E, Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower, Soaps of Coconut & Palm *Certified organic ingredient

Please check the label for the most current list of ingredients prior to purchasing.

You can find this item at Target for $4.36 or on the Shea Moisture Website for $3.99. The company website states the following:

  • “SheaMoisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Face & Body Bar is designed to cleanse, moisturize and brighten dull skin. Helps to even skin discolorations. Use daily.”

  • “Coconut Oil – nourishes and helps firm skin with Vitamin E and K, iron and fatty acids. Hibiscus Flower – a natural emollient which treats dry, rough skin and helps improve skin tone. Songyi Mushroom – naturally brightens and evens skin tone.”

  • “We leave out all the potentially harmful ingredients that you shouldn’t put on your skin, including:

    • No Parabens

    • No Phthalates

    • No Paraffin

    • No Formaldehyde

    • No Propylene Glycol

    • No Mineral Oil

    • No Synthetic Fragrance

    • No Petrolatum

    • No Synthetic Color

    • No DEA

    • No Animal Testing

Sounds great, right? From what I can tell, this is a great product for Muslims as it appears that the ingredient list is vegetarian and not harmful. Also, animals were not mistreated through product testing. Allah (SWT) knows best, however, and all we can do is try our best. Please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions, and insights.

Why I Wear the Hijab…

In April 2014, I started to wear the hijab (a head covering worn by Muslim women). First and foremost, the hijab is worn by Muslim women as an act of obedience to God’s commands. For an explanation of the other reasons why we wear the hijab, please watch the video linked below.

I am not oppressed and people should not make such assumptions. The day I donned the hijab, I felt like I broke the shackles of societal expectations regarding beauty and the shiny facade of this temporary world. It has brought me closer to Allah (God) and I feel a heightened sense of responsibility to be good and to do good for now I represent Islam and my focus is on the Akhira (after-life) as opposed to the temporary Dunya (worldly life).

However, if I make a mistake or my fellow Muslims do, then please don’t judge Islam by our actions or our deeds. The thing is that we are all “works in process,” striving to better ourselves as the days go by. We as human beings are not perfect…but Islam is. Most importantly, don’t judge Islam by the terrorists who contradict and disobey the holy Quran and the teachings of our Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

If you wear the hijab, ask yourself….are you representing Islam properly? You are indeed a representative and you have a big responsibility.

Amazing Organic Orange-Flavored Dark Chocolate!

The Qur’an (2:168) advises us, “O ye people, eat of what is on earth, Lawful and good.”

The Qur’an (20:81) also advises us to, “Eat of the good things We have provided for your sustenance, but commit no excess therein…”

I have a major addiction to chocolate. Before I got married, I lost around 20 lbs just by giving up my daily dose of chocolate, eating a little bit healthier, and becoming a little bit more active. Guess what! After getting married, I gained all that weight back and some more. Well, now I’m on a mission to get back on track. The first thing I did was to find healthier snack alternatives.

Theo brand offers a very delicious organic orange-flavored 70% dark chocolate that you should be able to find at your local organic stores. The great thing about it is the very clean ingredient list (no soy!): Organic and fairly-traded cocoa beans, organic and fairly-traded sugar, organic and fairly-traded cocoa butter, organic and fairly-traded ground vanilla bean, and organic orange essential oil. Please check the label prior to purchasing to confirm the ingredient list has not changed.

If you’re from Bangladesh, then just imagine mimi-chocolates from our childhood but WITHOUT the GUILT!  Try this choco-bar and let me know what you think in the poll below. Many people don’t like fruit flavored chocolate and I thought that I wouldn’t either but after a few bites, I got addicted! This is a very yummy dark chocolate option for those who want to buy healthier and organic snacks.