When L'Oréal Paris named hijab-wearing model Amena Khan as the first-ever face of its hair care line Elvive, it seemed like a turning point in beauty. At long last, cosmetic giants were overtly embracing Muslim consumers. Four years later, however, little has changed and as Ramadan arrives – with Eid around the corner in May – are beauty brands really connecting with Muslim consumers?
For Pakistan and US-based co-founder of Just B cosmetics, Madiha Chan, beauty goods that showcase the joy of this festive period in the Isamic calendar are virtually non-existent. Instead, brands occasionally include a hijab-wearing model within their marketing material as a method of virtue signalling rather than exploring the demographic deeper through celebratory moments.
"I have never seen myself addressed," she says. "We're always an add-on. There might be something for my skin tone, or one hijabi model might pop-up here and there – which is something that really irks me, because not all Muslims wear hijabs, it's a choice."
Muslim consumers spend a lot during Ramadan and Eid. In the UK alone, the Ramadan economy is worth at least £200m. With 1.8 billion Muslim people worldwide, it is the fastest growing religious group – and with it, spending power. Younger Muslims in particular are reportedly driving this 'Generation M' growth as middle class, millennial, Muslim consumers globally bolstered the more than US$2 trillion spending in 2019.
According to the State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2020/2021, Muslim shoppers are forecasted to spend