Ethical Beauty update + BDS guidelines 2023


Salaam (hello) everyone, I hope you’re doing okay. Based on the current atrocities happening in Palestine, if you’ve an ounce of humanity I’m sure you’re feeling all the strong emotions – anger, heartbreak, rage, helplessness, guilt, frustration…and the list goes on. Many of us have been deeply disturbed to witness the inhumanity and literal genocide on our phone screens – and never before has a genocide been seen so up close and personal. At this point, if you’re trying to make excuses for Israhell you need to take a long hard self at yourself and that lump of black rock you have in place of your heart. 

ANYWAY, many people have rightly so decided to look into any way possible they have help and/or at least not help fund the genocide – which is where boycotting has been a hot topic once again. If you’re a long term viewer of mine (I would have said reader, but we all know my blogging days have take a firm back seat 🫠), you’ll know I’ve been an ‘ethical blogger’ for over 9 years now. I first learn back in 2014 how many companies we use daily, which are complicit in the cruelty that is happening to innocent people. I still remember looking at my brand new MAC lipstick collection, my favourite face and body foundation, my L’Oreal foundation etc. etc. and feeling sick to my stomach. So something that brought me so much joy, that I would review in detail and talk about with friends and readers alike – the profits from these items were going on to fund illegal occupation?? Absolutely unacceptable to me. Whilst the BDS list is mostly focused on brands that we use regularly for clothing and food – makeup and skincare has always been something I’ve enjoyed, but frankly a non-essential. We won’t die without foundation, mascara and lipgloss, but our money being spent on these brands are contributing towards ethnic-cleansing, genocide and so much more. Can it ever be worth it? 

Of course not. Thankfully, whilst these 4 parent companies do own a LOT of products under their collective umbrellas, there are still many many alternatives available and as one of many who’ve been sticking to avoiding these for almost a decade, we are proof that if you really want to make a change within your own consumerism, it’s completely possible. Boycotting isn’t a short term strategy by any means, I’m not saying quite these brands till a ceasefire – naaaah. Quit these brands because you know that they are all complicit in the ongoing genocide and ethnic-cleansing – which did not start on the 7th of October! For anyone in the back who still hasn’t brushed up on their history. 

See below the 4 parent companies to avoid and WHY:

I will be updating the list in the header of my blog, with brands which have been added/removed from these parent companies. For example, The Body Shop, used to be owned by L’Oreal, but happily in 2017 they were sold to Natura & Co (source here) meaning we can buy them without feeling guilty. I remember for my whole Uni years I was boycotting them and as soon as I found out they were ethical again – the cleansing balm and shampoo were firmly back in my routine. 

What about XYZ Brand?

First and foremost, I have always and will always encourage each person who is wanting to commit to boycotting, to do their own thorough research. It is pretty overwhelming when you make the decision to boycott, do a google and come across list after list after list of brands to stop buying. For anyone not in the know, the BDS which stands for: Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) is a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality. BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity. (Taken from their site). They have been encouraging this since 2005! They know a thing or two about effective and long-lasting boycotting, which is definitely important to keep in mind. 

Secondly I’d like to make it clear that your money is yours to spend and so if you feel like it’s important to boycott X,Y,Z brand due to their founder or CEO etc. investing in an Israeli company or having ties to Zionism, that is completely your prerogative. If you feel like you can stick to this and commit to never buying from this brand again – unless said CEO or founder denounces their support and investments – brilliant. I admire this and honestly applaud the people who can stick to this. However, from the BDS themselves, they say: 

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) calls for a boycott of Israeli and international companies that are complicit in violations of Palestinian rights. Virtually all Israeli companies are complicit to some degree in Israel’s system of occupation and apartheid. We focus our boycotts on a small number of companies and products for maximum impact. We focus on companies that play a clear and direct role in Israel’s crimes and where we think we can have an impact.


The global nature of today’s economy means that there are thousands of companies that have links to Israel and are complicit to various degrees in Israel’s violations of international law. However, for our movement to have real impact we need our consumer boycotts to be easy to explain, have wide appeal and the potential for success. That’s why globally, while we call for divestment from all companies implicated in Israel’s human rights violations, we focus our boycott campaigns on a select few strategic targets. We also encourage the principle of context sensitivity, whereby activists in any given context decide what best to target and how, in line with BDS guidelines. There is a lot of information online claiming that some large companies give money to Israel, some of which turns out to be false. BDS has built a reputation for strictly adhering to established facts and producing the most accurate information.

SO based on this, I have personally made the decision to stick to Boycotting any company under the ‘Big 4’, as stated above any activist should decide what is best to target and how in line with the guidelines – so if for you any CEO or owner investing in an Israeli company is a boycott-able offence – I’m not here to tell you not to. A LOT of people are choosing to boycott LVMH brands for this reason. For ME personally, I am focusing on these 4 parent companies for the reasons stated. They are all either complicit in generous financial donations to Israel – to the point where they’ve been awarded for their contributions AND/or have factories operating on illegal settlements – therefore they are directly profiting off of the displacement of Palestinians who have been forced from their homes and ethnically cleansed. 

I’ve also decided to boycott brands who have only released statements standing with Israel, whilst completely ignoring the genocide and deaths of over 11,000 Palestinians and/or donating anything to Israel and again completely dehumanising Palestinians. Some brands that come to mind, which were previously on the ethical list are: Chanel and Kylie Cosmetics.

That is my stance and plan on boycotting, as I’ve clearly laid out, is it each of our responsibilities to decide how far we wish to go with the boycott – providing we actually stick to it. It is far better to boycott the big 4 long term, than to commit to boycotting 1001 brands for a couple of weeks, only to forget about it all and go back to our normal consumerism routines. Like I said, I’ve been boycotting the big 4 for 9 years and it was a bit challenging at first, but honestly after a few months it became second nature. You may not think this is enough, you may wish to boycott all LVMH brands and other parent companies – please do your due diligence, research and make a choice that is do-able for you

On this basis, I’ve created 2 lists so far with my own personal favourite ethical makeup brands. Again, you may be boycotting in a way that is contrary to this list – please don’t get angry and leave me cross comments and DMs, create a list based on your own research and remember the goals are – 1. to put pressure on these companies to stop their funding and/or factories on illegal settlements and 2. to not fund the genocide through these products. Ultimately we are all on the same side of humanity – the right side, so angrily demanding for anyone to boycott the way you are or trying to shame people into boycotting, not only will not work, but it not helpful to the cause. 

My DMs are always open for respectful conversation and for clarification of certain brands – the way I check if it’s ethical, is googling the parent company and if it’s not the Big 4, it’s good enough for me. Again, if this isn’t where your perspective is sitting, that’s fine, please do your own research and make your own choices. 

Thank-you for taking the time to read this post, please bare with me as I get other lists compiled and updated – skincare, haircare and bodycare faves are next and then sometime towards the end of November, I’m planning to create lists for specific shops – e.g ethical products in Space NK, Boots, Superdrug etc. Naturally it was easiest to start with the products I’ve been consuming, using, loving first but of course there are MANY more which I’ve never tried, but are still not owned by the Big 4. Researching and compiling these lists take a lot of time and so I appreciate your patience here. 

Let’s keep praying, protesting, boycotting, writing to our MPs and educating people outside our echo chambers – until Palestine is free. And it will be free – but in the meantime, we need to check ourselves and what we are doing, where our money is going and how we personally are helping the cause.

Iqra | The Blushing Giraffe

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