France’s L’Oreal to remove words like ‘whitening’ from products

France's L'Oreal to remove words like 'whitening' from products
A screenshot of the skin care whitening section on L'Oreal's website
French cosmetics giant L'Oreal announced Saturday it was removing words like "whitening" from its products, against the backdrop of global anti-racism protests.

“The L'Oreal Group has decided to remove the words white/whitening, fair/fairness, light/lightening from all its skin evening products,” the company said in a statement.

The announcement follows Thursday's decision by the Indian and Bangladeshi arms of Unilever to rename their locally marketed “Fair & Lovely” skin-lightening cream for the same reason.

Anglo-Dutch firm Unilever — which reportedly raked in some $500 million in revenue from the product in India last year — said it would stop using the word “Fair” in the name as the brand was “committed to celebrating all skin tones”.

A screenshot of the skin care whitening range on on L'Oreal's website, with several products named “White Perfect”.

Several companies — including L'Oreal — have been criticised recently for skin-lightening products after the global rise of the Black Lives Matter movement following the police killing in the US of African-American George Floyd last month.

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.

Several American groups have said they would to change their visual identity, such as Mars, which says it plans to develop its famous Uncle Ben's brand, which uses a caricature of an African American as its logo.


Member comments

  1. No. It’s just blatant pandering to a PC minority. “de-emphasize the mainstream”. Oh please give us all a rest and try living in the real world not some advertising company’s idea of what they think a world should be like.

  2. There’s no need to become alarmist over the decisions of companies to simply adjust their marketing practices to avoid perpetuating standardized beauty. Sometimes in order to promote fairness, diversity, and inclusivity, we have to de-emphasize the mainstream, especially if they historically have racial undertones that go beyond beauty standards. This does not mean people are not allowed to find fair skin desirable, but just that it does not need to be the focus of the ads. And yes, Japanese geishas do whiten their face, and fair skin was desirable even back in Ancient Rome, but that has very little to do with why modern Japanese women seek out white skin, or the aspirations of Italian women. It may be hard to accept change as we may take it as a personal attack on what we’ve been accustomed to, but if these small changes lead to people being able to celebrate freely their preferences and choices without bias, stigma, and pressure, then isn’t wrapping your head around this worth it?

  3. It seems not Nick-nack. In Japan geishas have been putting white face powder for centuries, are they going to be banned from doing it and all prints of them destroyed. It’s bad enough that my alma mater Cambridge is searching for statues to tear down. They have already had a go at films so I presume books will be next. The same thing happened in the 30’s and look what that lead to.

  4. Quite agree with Boggy. This is racism turned inside out. So what are we going to do with ‘Tanning cream’ then?
    ‘Light and fair skinned’ women have been held desirable attributes across most races across most of the world across many centuries. Are we now not allowed this attitude?

  5. Oh for heaven’s sake. It’s all getting tedious and out of hand. Haven’t these companies and people got the balls to say enough is enough?

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.