Mumbai: The cosmetics producing giant companies Unilever and Johnson & Johnson, French cosmetics L’Oreal on Friday said that it has decided to drop words ‘white’, ‘fair’, ‘light’, from all its skin products amid the backlash faced by brands globally for racial overtones of their products.
The beauty company in a statement on Friday said that “The L’Oreal Group acknowledges the legitimate concerns about the terms used to describe skin even-ing products, and has therefore decided to remove the words white/whitening, fair/fairness, light/lightening from all its skin even-ing products”. The move will be extended to all markets globally, said the maker of Gariner shampoo and Maybelline make-up, but it did not mention when it plans to drop these words.
India is the largest market for fairness products. While Hindustan Unilever and Procter & Gamble, Emami and L’Oreal which dominate the near Rs. 3,500 crore fairness cream market in India have long been criticised for encouraging the negative stereotype against darker-skinned people, these companies had been silent on this front until the Black Lives Matter movement hit this year. This was despite the advertising regulator Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) issuing guidelines in 2014 that prohibited ads from depicting dark-skinned people as disadvantaged.
Bollywood celebrities, too, have endorsed the skin whitening creams including Shahrukh Khan, Dia Mirza, Preity Zinta, Katrina Kaif, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Sonam Kapoor, Disha Patani and Yami Gautam in recent years.