L'Oreal to drop words white, fair, light from skincare range

Cosmetics brands have been under the scanner over products that promote skin fairness amid growing voices against racial stereotyping. This has intensified in the wake of the 'Black Lives Matter' movement in the West.

27th Jun 2020
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French cosmetics major L'Oreal Group on Friday said it will drop words such as white, fair, and light from all its skincare products, a day after Unilever announced a similar move.


Cosmetics brands have been under the scanner over products that promote skin fairness amid growing voices against racial stereotyping. This has intensified in the wake of the 'Black Lives Matter' movement in the West.


Fairness cream ad



"The L'Oreal Group acknowledges the legitimate concerns about the terms used to describe skin evening products, and has therefore decided to remove the words white/whitening, fair/fairness, light/lightning from all its skin even-ing products," the company said in a statement.


L'Oreal is a big player in the personal care category and owns global brands like Garnier, L'Oreal Paris, Maybelline New York and NYX Professional Makeup.


FMCG major Unilever had on Thursday said it is withdrawing the word 'Fair' from its popular skincare brand 'Fair & Lovely'. Several companies have been forced to reassess their products and branding following the 'Black Lives Matter' protests across the globe.


Recently, US-based healthcare and FMCG giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) stopped the sale of its skin-whitening creams globally, including in India.


Kolkata-based FMCG firm Emami, which owns fairness cream brand Fair & Handsome, had said it is evaluating the current situation.


"We, as responsible corporate citizens value consumer sentiments and take cognizance of the holistic approach that is required to be taken to address their needs. We are studying all implications currently and evaluating internally to decide our next course of action," an Emami spokesperson had said.


In February 2020, the Government of India's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare amended the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954, stating brands endorsing pharmaceutical products for fairness of skin, hair loss, improvement of height or obesity, among others, will be fined with a penalty of Rs 50 lakh and will serve a prison time up to five years.


(Disclaimer: Additional background information has been added to this PTI copy for context.)

(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)

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