Breathable Nail Polish Revolutionizes Muslim Manicures

by Amy Zimmerman

Manicures these days are a complex science. You can get gels or matte, ombré nails or even Daria decals (looking at you, Katy Perry). But while you might find yourself wondering just what sporting OPI’s frost blue “What’s With The Cattitude” says about you, you’ve probably never considered its impermeability. Polish cosmetics company Inglot has launched the world’s first “breathable” nail polish, the O2M line. While most women might not find the average nail polish particularly suffocating, it turns out that impermeability is a big deal for Muslim women worldwide. In fact, nail polish is haram (forbidden) because Muslim men and women are required to perform wudu, the ritual washing of one’s face and arms, every day before prayer. Nail polish creates a barrier between the water and the body, which means that many Muslim women can only wear nail polish when they have their period (and therefore cannot pray/ perform wudu in a public forum). While western women might favor sweatpants and industrial sized bottles of Advil once a month, we certainly don’t have a universal code that tells the world we’re on our periods. The certain embarrassment of such a public admission means that many Muslim women don’t wear any nail polish at all. And that sucks!

Luckily, O2M seems to have succeeded in providing a halal option for Muslim women. Muslim teacher and blogger Mustafa Umar had one of her students test the permeability of the nail polish on coffee filters. She reported that, “After about ten seconds it was clear that the water was prevented from seeping through on the standard polish but clearly went through the O2M. This is sufficient to show that…water does indeed permeate through the nail.” Umar goes on to explain that this scientific permissibility doesn’t necessarily mean that Muslim women will immediately buy out Poland’s entire supply of permeable nail polish. Questions surrounding the modesty of nail polish still remain, with women wondering if bright nails are an overly extravagant display of wealth or merely a harmless indulgence. But as to the issue at hand ( <3 puns), Umar doesn’t see any way in which O2M violates the ritual of wudu. Adventurous manicure fiends can get their permeability on stateside by purchasing O2M enamel here, for 14 bucks a polish. 

Photo: O2M

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