Ulta Beauty’s newest initiate, halal skin care brand Flora & Noor, is on a roll.
After taking home grand prizes in last year’s Rare Beauty Brands x Ulta Beauty x Black Girl Ventures Pitch Competition, as well as the Essence Festival of Culture’s New Voices + Chase Pitch Competition, Flora & Noor is celebrating its next big win: becoming the first halal certified brand carried by Ulta Beauty, where it will launch online on Jan. 22.
For founder Jordan Karim, who went to high school down the street from Ulta’s Chicago headquarters and first forayed into beauty with stints at Allergan and Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon before creating her own brand, this moment has been a long time coming.
“It’s a full-circle moment for me to partner with Ulta; they’re America’s largest beauty retailer, and my ultimate goal is to make halal beauty more accessible,” said Karim, noting that although Flora & Noor’s halal — meaning Islamically permissible — formulas seek to provide Muslim consumers with product choices that don’t compromise their beliefs, the brand also has a growing number of non-Muslim devotees.
“People — especially Gen Z and Millennials — want to be a part of things they’ve never heard of before. Even if you’re not Muslim, you can still benefit from products that are halal certified,” she said, likening the swelling interest to the early days of the K-beauty surge.
For a beauty product to be halal, it must be made without alcohol or animal byproduct, and contain ethically sourced ingredients. Beyond meeting this criteria, Flora & Noor’s utilization of botanical versions of active ingredients, such as willow bark powder instead of salicylic acid, and organic reishi mushroom for collagen-like benefits, lies at the core of its mission, which Karim describes as “beyond clean” beauty.
“All of our products are inspired by botanical innovation, traditions and ingredients from Africa and the Middle East,” said Karim, adding that the brand’s Rose Renewal collection, which consists of a cleanser, toner and moisturizer, taps rose petals from Egypt. Meanwhile, Flora & Noor looks to Ghana, Nigeria and Sudan for moisturizing ingredients such as shea butter. Prices range from $24 for the Shea Sugar Scrub to $34 for a vitamin C-powered Bright Side Serum.
“There’s a huge lack of halal certified skin care in the U.S., so a lot of the time Muslims have to kind of DIY it,” said Karim, who recalls setting out on many trips to see her extended family in Egypt braced with spare room in her suitcase to allow for stocking up on halal products not available for purchase in the U.S.
Now coming up on three years in business, Flora & Noor, which is also sold at Thirteen Lune and on Amazon, recently inked a partnership with ingredient database ClearForMe. Through the collaboration, consumers visiting the brand’s website will be able to view information on the benefits of Flora & Noor’s commonly used ingredients.
“There’s now so much education around skin care that didn’t exist when I was younger, but I think social media can also make things more confusing sometimes. We’re hoping to make halal beauty and our ingredients more transparent and easy to digest,” said Karim, who has her sights set on further expansions in the U.K. and Middle East in the coming years.
While the founder did not comment on the brand’s performance, industry sources think Flora & Noor could do around $700,000 in sales in 2023.