Guwahati: Hindustan Unilever, India’s largest packaged consumer goods firm, on Thursday said that it would abandon its unhealthy persuasion to make many generations of Indians go ‘lighter,’ by removing the word ‘fair’ from its over four-decade-old skin care product, ‘Fair & Lovely.’
“We’re committed to a skin care portfolio that’s inclusive of all skin tones, celebrating the diversity of beauty. That’s why we’re removing the words ‘fairness’, ‘whitening’ & ‘lightening’ from products, and changing the Fair & Lovely brand name,” read a tweet by the Hindustan Unilever official Twitter handle.
According to a statement by the company, Sunny Jain, president, beauty & personal care, explained that they are fully committed to having a global portfolio of skin care brands that is inclusive and cares for all skin tones, celebrating greater diversity of beauty. “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’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,” the statement added.
This is not the first attempt by the company to rebrand the cream. In 2019, words such as light/lightening, fair/fairness, white/whiteness were dropped from packaging. Now more emphasis would be given to changing words like from “fairness” to “glow” (another acceptable word which has been used by cosmetic care products for skin lightening treatments).
It seems the language is what that was changed for the company website still targets “fairness problems” such as “darkness”, among other things. The cream also uses ingredient like niacinamide (listed) which is a Google search away from telling us that it’s a melanin suppressant.
This rebranding fiasco is an apparent response to the Black Lives Matter movement that was triggered by brutal police violence against the black community in America. This movement echoed to discussions about colourism and racism across the world and triggered many serious conversations about it. Many other companies were also called out on this famous being the removal of “skin tone” filter cum option from the popular matrimonial site Shaadi.com. Previously users were asked to state their skin colour under the “skin tone” option and the users could even search for their prospective mates via skin colour.
According to the company, the new name is awaiting regulatory approvals and that the revised name would be available in the next few months.