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L'Oreal Says Will Drop Words Like 'Whitening' and 'Fair' from Its Range of Skin Products

Loreal.

Loreal.

The move follows a similar decision by Unilever on Thursday, in the face of growing social media criticism.

  • Reuters
  • Last Updated: June 26, 2020, 11:32 PM IST
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L'Oreal, the world's biggest cosmetics company, has decided to remove words referring to "white", "fair" and "light" from its skin-evening products, a spokeswoman said on Friday.

The move follows a similar decision by Unilever on Thursday, in the face of growing social media criticism.

The Indian unit of top consumer giant Unilever on Thursday said it would rebrand its skin-lightening cream 'Fair and Lovely', which has received considerable backlash for perpetuating negative stereotypes related to darker skin tones.

Hindustan Unilever said it would drop the word 'Fair' from the product and added that a fresh name for the cream was awaiting regulatory clearances.

Unilever's announcement came as rival Johnson & Johnson said this month that it would stop the sale of skin-whitening creams.

Appeals to stop marketing Fair & Lovely have been around for years, but the movement received a shot in the arm recently. This month, over half a dozen petitions on Change.Org received scores of signatures, aimed at Unilever and its Indian unit Hindustan Unilever.

Unilever owns a 67% stake in Hindustan Unilever, its India unit. The companies also sell the popular Dove and Knorr range of products.

In India, fairness products have long been endorsed by leading Bollywood celebrities, as well as other popular youth icons. Advertisements have regularly featured two faces showing skin tone transformation, as well as shade guides to show "improvement".

Hindustan Unilever said it had moved from that line of advertising in 2019, and "will continue to evolve its advertising to feature women of different skin tones, representative of the variety of beauty across India."

The brand name change is subject to regulatory approvals, the company said in a filing to the exchanges. It did not specify what the new name would be.

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