Sunny Jain, President Beauty & Personal Care, explains, “We 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.”
Unilever says Fair & Lovely has never been and is not a skin bleaching product and that the product is designed to improve skin barrier function, improve skin firmness and smoothen skin texture – all of which help enhance radiance and glow, as currently represented in advertising and communication.
Unilever added further: “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.”
The press release from Unilever notes, “The 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 Unilever’s Beauty & Personal Care brands.”
The next significant step for Unilever is to update its brand name, which will be shared once several legal and regulatory requirements are met in each country where the brand is available. This registration process is already underway, and Unilever expects to be able to unveil the new brand name within the next few months.
However, Fatima Bhutto did have a question:
While others’ comments went on to state, “Unilever says it will rebrand its skin lightening cream #FairandLovely drop the word “fair” from its name. News has been welcomed, campaigners say the move doesn’t go far enough – in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and some other countries, the demand for such products shows no sign of waning.
Unilever does not sell Fair & Lovely in Canada, products from this range can be found in beauty supply stores across the country — many of which cater to Asian (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh), African and Caribbean communities. The product is also freely available on eBay.
In a Pakistani ad campaign, TV actor Sajal Ali is seen promoting an “HD Glow” with the use of these products.
Aishwarya Rai, Miss World 1994, was featured in a Fair & Lovely ad as well.
Whereas this Indian ad promotes a “Chaand sa nikhaar” (moonlight glow) within 30 days.
Another Ad showing an Indian actor promoting “glowing fairness like laser light treatment”.
According to an earlier report published by CBC, “the sale of these “unauthorized” products is illegal, as they may pose serious health risks.”
The decision by Unilever comes as many companies are re-assessing their branding, following world-wide Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the death of George Floyd. In Inda, Bollywood film stars have already faced severe criticism for their promotion of such products when BLM protests started.
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