It took Black Lives Matter protests in US to kill fairness creams in India

It took Black Lives Matter protests in US to kill fairness creams in India
Fair and lovely​/Facebook
  • Hindustan Unilever’s popular skin lightening product – Fair & Lovely, is finally going to drop the word ‘fair’ from its name.
  • The recent protests against racial discrimination in the US has spurred the conversation again as brands take a conscious note of ideas that sell ‘fairness’ as beauty.
  • Fair & Lovely has been in India for over 45 years now and has been one of the best-selling creams.
Hindustan Unilever’s popular skin lightening product – Fair & Lovely, is finally going to drop the word ‘fair’ from its name. The move comes as the company has often been called out for propagating a certain idea of beauty.

“We recognise that the use of the words ‘fair’, ‘white’ and ‘light’ suggest a singular ideal of beauty that we don’t think is right, and we want to address this. As we’re evolving the way that we communicate the skin benefits of our products that deliver radiant and even tone skin, it’s also important to change the language we use,” said Sunny Jain, President Beauty & Personal Care, Unilever.

The recent protests against racial discrimination in the US has spurred the conversation again as brands take a conscious note of ideas that sell ‘fairness’ as beauty.

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Fair & Lovely has been in India for over 45 years now and has been one of the best-selling creams. The company said that it will be announcing a new name soon after regulatory approvals.

The decision from Unilever comes just days after Johnson & Johnson announced that it will be discontinuing its skin lightening creams Neutrogena Fine Fairness and Clear Fairness by Clean & Clear. “Conversations over the past few weeks highlighted that some product names or claims on our Neutrogena and Clean & Clear dark-spot reducer products represent fairness or white as better than your own unique skin tone.This was never our intention — healthy skin is beautiful skin,” said Johnson & Johnson in a statement.

All these brands were criticised and called out for years by many activists and celebrities for perpetrating bias on the basis of skin colour. But none of that managed to push these brands into sunset.

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However, the growing furore across the world has forced these multinationals to bite the bullet. Home grown brands of similar nature like Emami, Lotus among others are yet to see the writing on the wall.


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