MUMBAI: Consumer giant Unilever will rename their locally marketed ‘Fair & Lovely’ skin-lightening cream in India and Bangladesh amid global anti-racism protests.
The firm said it would stop using the word ‘Fair’ in the name as the brand was “committed to celebrating all skin tones”.
Unilever reportedly received around $500 million in revenue from the product in India last year. The obsession with fair skin is deeply entrenched across Sourth Asia and many cosmetics contain some kind of whitening product.
“We are making our skincare portfolio more inclusive and want to lead the celebration of a more diverse portrayal of beauty,” Sanjiv Mehta, head of Hindustan Unilever, said in a statement. “The brand has never been and is not a bleaching product,” the statement from Unilever Bangladesh said.
READ MORE: Johnson & Johnson to stop selling skin-whitening creams
Several companies including French cosmetics giant L’Oreal have been criticised recently for skin-lightening products after the global rise of the Black Lives Matter movement following the killing in the US of George Floyd.
Johnson & Johnson said last week it would stop selling some Neutrogena and Clean & Clear products, advertised as dark-spot reducers in Asia and the Middle East.
Skin-lightening creams in India have long been endorsed by major Bollywood stars including Shah Rukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra.
Chopra has been criticised on social media for apparent hypocrisy in supporting the racial injustice movement as well as having served as an ambassador for lightening products.
Unilever’s decision ignited controversy on social media as many users appreciated the decision while others condemned for renaming and leaving the product on the shelves.
Bollywood actress Nandita Das said the move was a step in the right direction that would “trigger conversations” around beauty and colour in India.
Unilever said the new brand name would be announced within two months. An Indian news agency reported that Hindustan Unilever began proceedings this month to patent the name ‘Glow & Lovely’.
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