With the intensive BLM (Black Lives Matter) movement in the west gaining immense traction, many cosmetics brands are removing suggestive descriptors like whitening or lightening. All these measures to finally rectify racial stereotyping being perpetuated through their products for quite some time now.
Industry-leading French cosmetics company L’Oréal was the latest to announce that they would be removing words like “whitening” and “lightening” from their products.
This move comes after many beauty brands received backlash for their skin lightening products amidst ongoing protests for racial equality.
L’Oréalis a big player in the personal care category and owns global brands like Garnier, L’Oréal Paris, Maybelline New York, amongst others. “The L’Oréal Group acknowledges the legitimate concerns about the terms used to describe skin even-ing products, and has therefore decided to remove the words white/whitening, fair/fairness, light/lightening from all its skin even-ing products,” the company said in a statement.
L’Oréal’s skin brightening creams are targeted towards Asian, African, and Caribbean buyers and occupy a stronghold on the market share.
Just a day before L’Oréal’s announcement, FMCG major, Unilever had announced its plans to drop the “Fair” from its Fair & lovely products. “We are fully committed to having a global portfolio of skincare brands that is inclusive and cares for all skin tones, celebrating greater diversity of beauty,” Sunny Jain, the head of Unilever’s Beauty & Personal Care, said. “We recognize that the use of the words’ fair’, ‘white,’ and ‘light’ suggest a single ideal of beauty that we don’t think is right, and we want to address this.”
However, this FMCG giant recently came out with the new brand name, “Glow & Lovely” which is already drawing a lot of flak from netizens who think that such a brand rework still works in favor the ‘whitening and lightening magic’ that the brand shouldn’t have used in the first place.
However, while only the terminology is being correct by L’oreal and Unilever, US-based FMCG giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) announced that it has stopped selling its skin-whitening creams globally as well as in India. They have also pledged to discontinue some of their Neutrogena and Clean & Clear products, advertised as dark-spot reducers in Asia and the Middle East.
Other India-based FMCG firm Emami, which owns fairness cream brand Fair & Handsome, said it is still evaluating the current situation.
Picture Credits: Instagram (@Asianwomanfestival; @Manal_Mirza); Facebook page (Emami; Unilever)