Is Nail Polish Haram?

is nail polish haram

Nail polish is not haram (forbidden) in Islam. Since most regular nail polishes create a water-impermeable layer when applied, it’s better to avoid them for performing wudu (ablution).

Many scholars have talked about nail polish and recently we see halal nail polish gaining popularity among Muslim women because of some Islamic laws. While most Muslims find nail polish to be haram we will be discussing all the narratives in this article related to nail paint and Islam.

Wearing Nail Polish In Islam

Is Nail Polish Haram In Islam?

Nail polish is a cosmetic that is applied to the nail plate to color and beautifies the nails and when applied to the nail, an impermeable layer is formed.

There is nothing specifically stated in the Quran about body decorations and adornments (nail polish included).

Being a Muslim means one has to pray five times a day and in order to do that one needs to perform ablution (wudu). In Islam ablution involves washing up the hands, face, and feet with water.

If Muslims take Islamic laws literally then in order to perform ablution the water needs to literally touch the skin. Nail polish usually doesn’t allow water to reach the nails apart from some latest halal nail polish that is being promoted because they allow water to pass through them.

If you believe that water needs to reach the skin then one has to remove nail polish every time one has to perform ablution and it will be fine. So nail polish in itself is not haram. Although there is a hassle to nail polish that women will have to face while performing ablution.

Some Muslim women believe that washing their hands doesn’t mean removing the nail polish for ablution. Normally when one washes one’s hands they don’t remove nail polish. No one else ever pointed to them out that you can’t wash your hands as normally nobody removes their nail polish in order to wash their hands.

It’s only an Islamic law for ablution not normally washing hands that the water needs to touch the skin.

Some Muslim women who are accustomed to wearing nail polish will find it hard when they will get to know that they will have to remove nail polish every time they have to pray in case of the ablution needed. So either they can get away from nail polish or they can avoid prayers.

These implications are there today in our society and we need to address them so that no one feels it’s hard to follow Islam. Some Muslim women don’t pray now and may want to pray in the future. I guess it will be hard for them when they will find that nail polish is not what they can apply daily cause of the five daily prayers.

Actually, I want to discuss the history of painting nails and its Islamic history. You might get shocked but it is. Prophet (peace be upon him) asked the women to paint their nails and at that time women used henna. 

It’s recently that we have found that henna is water-permeable. At the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him), there was no such discovery even though there were no talks of painting the hands and nails with something that is permeable.

Saying that nail polish is haram is totally false. Painting nails is totally halal and is proved by the sunnah of the Prophet. Some Muslims might again argue permeable or not but that’s a different story altogether.

An ablution is an act of cleansing the soul more than the body itself. Of course, the acts of ablution clean the body but the logic behind it is the intention of cleaning before prayer. That is why if you have been wearing socks after the last wudu it is allowed to just pass on wet hands on top of the socks and the wudu will be completed.

Jabir reported:

‘Umar b. Khattab said that a person performed ablution and left a small part equal to the space of a nail (unwashed). The Apostle of Allah (ﷺ) saw that and said: Go back and perform ablution well. He then went back (performed ablution well) and offered the prayer.

[Sahih Muslim 243]

So the water reaching the skin in order for wudu is just the literal meaning and nail polish in no way is haram or forbidden in Islam. A Muslim needs to be cautious though and it’s suggested to remove the nail polish for ablution.

“You should try to have this “nail polish” applied when you are in a state of purity, so as to avoid going against the scholarly view that doing so is obligatory.”


This means that water doesn’t need to reach the skin literally. Ablution will be completed if the paint is applied after the person is pure and then for wudu just wash on top of the nail paint.

Muslim women can also apply nail polish when it’s their menstrual period. As she would not be praying on these days it will be perfectly okay for her to wear nail polish.

READ NEXT: Is Celebrating Birthdays Haram?

Is Praying With Nail Polish Allowed?

Nail polish is not inherently wrong. The problem arises from the inability to perform wudu properly while wearing nail polish.

The entire body would have to be washed if Janabah was a requirement. You would not be able to complete the ghusl without removing nail polish. The layer of polish prevents both wudu and ghusl from being completed.

Nail polish has nothing to do with the prayer itself. If a person has performed wudu and has put on the nail polish the prayer will be accepted. No rules related to painting nails are there with respect to the prayer.

Scholars say one must remove the nail polish in order to perform wudu as the water won’t reach the skin cause of the impermeable nail polish. There is an alternative to this dilemma and that is halal nail polish nowadays. Halal nail polish is water-permeable which makes it totally safe.

Henna is the only color on the nails of the hands and feet, and the water reaches the skin of the nails, so it does not interfere with the performance of wudu.

What Is Halal Nail Polish?

Recently a new nail polish has been discovered that allows water to pass through it and Muslims call it halal nail polish. As it’s water permeable Muslims say it’s okay to wear it and perform ghusl and wudu.

Some brands do not mention halal but say breathable or permeable as well. If Muslims want to try halal nail polish they can search for and buy them on amazon.

Why Is Nail Polish Considered Haram?

Muslims usually don’t wear nail polish as it hinders in performing the ablution (wudu) but nowhere it is haram in Islam. One can perform wudu and wear nail polish and perform salah and it’s totally halal.

READ NEXT: Can You Get Married During Ramadan?

Is Henna Nail Polish Halal?

Yes, it is halal for Muslim women, and they can perform wudu (ablution) while wearing henna nail paint and praying salah. Water is able to reach the skin where henna is applied so it’s perfectly safe and halal.

Final Thoughts

Muslim scholars allow women to wear nail polish under certain conditions. The practice of painting men’s nails is prohibited since it is considered to be imitating women. Wearing nail polish creates a water-repellent layer on the nails, which makes wudu invalid. Alternatively, Muslim women can apply halal nail polish or apply henna in accordance with Islamic law.

Some scholars also believe that wearing nail polish is just like henna and water does not really need to reach the skin if one has performed ghusl and then applied nail polish.

I will suggest you read the article and decide for yourself. My advice is to avoid something that is risky and go for alternatives like halal nail polish.

And Allah Knows Best.

READ NEXT: Is Halloween Haram?

Similar Posts