Unilever has announced it will rename and rebrand Fair & Lovely, since skin "whitening" products, or ones that claim to be, are so controversial. The brand’s new name will be revealed soon, the company says.
Unilever stated it is removing the words ‘fair/fairness’, ‘white/whitening’, and ‘light/lightening’ from all its products’ packs and communication. The Fair & Lovely brand name will be changed in the next few months.
The move comes after a Change.org petition posted, which is now up to nearly 15,000 signatures.
The petition states, "Colorism, discrimination based on the color of your skin, is a direct by-product of racism affecting millions of people today, that fairness creams such as Fair & Lovely continue to advance."
Sunny Jain, president, Beauty & Personal Care, Unilever, responded to the controversy, stating, “We recognize 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.”
Jain continues, "We have been working on the evolution of our Fair & Lovely brand, which is sold across Asia, progressively moving to a more inclusive vision of beauty that celebrates skin glow. We have changed the advertising, communication and – more recently – the packaging in South Asia, and we think it’s important that we now share the next step that we have been working on: changing the brand name."
Jain adds, "We will also continue to evolve our advertising, to feature women of different skin tones, representative of the variety of beauty across India and other countries. We want Fair & Lovely to become a brand that celebrates glowing and radiant skin, regardless of skin tone."
The petition notes that Unilever says it "celebrates and advances diversity and inclusivity" -- and recently pledged more than 1 million USD , which is 0.2% of Fair & Lovely’s revenue, to organizations and activists working for social justice and racial equality. However, it adds, "continuing with the production and sale of Fair & Lovely is directly contradictory to this pledge."
In related news, L’Oreal’s Jean-Paul Agon Clears Up the ‘Whitening’ Controversy
Not A Skin Bleaching Product
In its statement, Unilever makes it clear that Fair & Lovely is not a skin bleaching product -- and never has been.
The brand uses a combination of vitamin B3, glycerine, UVA and UVB sunscreens. The statement explains, "This was a much-needed move from harmful chemicals like mercury and bleach, which consumers were using. The brand has been progressively changing its formulation, and includes other vitamins like B6, C & E, allantoin, known to improve skin health and protect the skin from external aggressors, UV rays and environmental pollution."
The product claims to improve skin barrier function, skin firmness and smooth skin texture, to "enhance radiance and glow," the company states, "as currently represented in advertising and communication."
Stay Tuned, Changes Ahead
Unilever says its evolution to "a more inclusive vision of beauty that celebrates and cares for all skin tones" -- and no longer uses the words ‘white/whitening’, ‘light/lightening or ‘fair/fairness’ -- will be a policy for all its brands moving forward.
The company adds that the registration process to rebrand Fair & Lovely is underway, and it expects to unveil the new brand name within the next few months. Unilever will also announce Fair & Lovely Foundation’s new name later this year.
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