In Japan, halal nail polish is now a relief to many cancer patients

In Japan, halal nail polish is now a relief to many cancer patients

In Japan, halal nail polish is now a relief to many cancer patients
Disclaimer:Hands on: Nail artist Hitomi Goto (left) paints a Muslim visitor's nails with water permeable polish at an event in Tokyo. | Photo courtesy of Halal Nail Tokyo


In October 2018, a story made the rounds on social media about a terminally ill retired nurse who said that she was left in tears after a beauty salon told her, “We don’t treat cancer patients.”

Now there’s finally a happy ending. According to the Japan Times, Hitomi Goto, a nail artist, is offering comfort to cancer patients in Japan. What’s more, she’s using water-permeable, halal-certified nail polish to do that.

Patients undergoing chemotherapy end up with discoloured nails, and the harsh chemicals in your standard nail polish irritate these sensitive nails. The sharp smell causes nausea, but the acetone in the nail polish remover can actually be painful.

Hitomi lost her mother to stomach cancer in 2010, and she witnessed all the trauma and trials of patients undergoing chemotherapy. Recalling her mother’s discoloured nails and how dispiriting they could be to her, Hitomi decided to become a nail artist volunteering to cancer patients. Hitomi herself was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer and was lucky not to face chemotherapy.

But why choose halal-certified water-permeable nail polish?

Standard nail polish isn’t water permeable, and Hitomi saw that it would result in incomplete wudu, which requires that water reach the nails. In addition to its water-permeability, what drew her interest was that halal-certified nail polishes could be peeled off without nail removers containing acetone. Permeability also allows nails to “breathe” so natural oils in nails are not trapped, making it a much less damaging alternative to traditional varnish.

When the Canadian brand of halal polish she was using peeled off within a few hours, she found an alternative in Bio Water nail polish, which would last a week without chipping and can be removed with an ethanol wipe, which is far less damaging than most nail-polish removers.

Hitomi tested this polish’s permeability in a medical institution, and it passed wudu requirements. It is not halal certified, but for Hitomi’s Muslim customers, its water-permeability makes it just as good.

“I realize some Muslim women are not comfortable using non-certified products, but adding that official sticker really bumps up the price. That’s why I offer them the two options: the halal-certified polish that isn’t so long-lasting, and the non-certified one that lasts and is more affordable,” Japan Times quoted Hitomi as saying.

Hitomi’s nail service has reportedly triggered a demand for halal and less-damaging nail polish in Japan. The Facebook page for her Halal Nail Tokyo, an at-home reservation-only nail-care service, currently has more than 41,000 likes and an average rating of five-out-of-five stars.

(Writing by Seban Scaria

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