Skin whitening cream Fair & Lovely to be renamed

The Hindustan Unilever decision comes after social media backlash over prejudice 

Hindustan Unilever said last week that it will drop the word “fair” from its “Fair & Lovely” range of products, which have long been criticised for promoting negative stereotypes against people with darker skin. Fair & Lovely is the most popular brand in the whitening creams. The social media backlash has increased in recent period after the new wave of protests in America against racism. The cosmetics companies are feeling the increased pressure through social media. 
Over the years, cosmetics companies had sold their whitening creams and other range of products in South Asia portraying that white skin is beautiful. These companies promoted the concept through the media campaigns and ads that beauty is linked with fair skin. The dark skin is not beautiful. These campaigns and ads encourage the women of dark skin to use these whitening creams to look fair skinned.   
The company said the “evolution of its skincare portfolio to a more inclusive vision of beauty” would include removing the words fair/fairness, white/whitening and light/lightening from packaging and marketing and changing the brand name from Fair & Lovely over the next months. 
Hindustan Unilever Chairman Sanjiv Mehta said in a statement said that “We are making our skin care portfolio more inclusive ... a more diverse portrayal of beauty.” The company also sells the popular Dove and Knorr range of products.
Sunny Jain, Unilever’s president of its beauty and personal care division, said in a separate statement that “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 are evolving the way 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.”
Unilever’s ‘Fair & Lovely’ brand dominates the market in South Asia. Similar products are also sold by L’Oreal and Procter & Gamble.Products marketed as skin lightening have a huge market in South Asia due to a societal obsession with fairer skin tones, but those notions are being questioned more frequently in recent periods. The other companies also considering to drop whitening and fairness from their brands. 
In India, the biggest market for “Fair & Lovely”, fairness products have long been endorsed by leading Bollywood celebrities, as well as other youth icons.Adverts have regularly featured two faces showing skin tone transformation, as well as shade guides to show “improvement”.
Unilever’s India unit, in which the company owns a 67% stake, said it had shifted from such marketing in 2019 and would continue to evolve it to feature women of different skin tones.
According to some media reports, public records indicate Hindustan Unilever last week filed an application to trademark a logo for soaps, creams, shampoos and other products under the brand name “Glow & Lovely”.
In 2018, the company also registered trademarks to market skincare and hair care products under the brand names “Even & Lovely”, “Always Lovely”, “Care & Lovely” and “I Am Lovely”, among others.Skin-lightening is a multi-million-dollar industry in China, south Asia and parts of Africa. 
Young generation of activists in recent years have sought to challenge the obsession with fairness through campaigns promoting the idea that “Dark is Beautiful” and under the hash tag #unfairandlovely. 
                                                          Rukhsana Manzoor Deputy Editor


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