Following Hindustan Unilever’s decision to remove the word ‘Fair’ from their skincare product ‘Fair & Lovely,’ cosmetic brand L’Oreal has also made an announcement. The French company has announced that it will remove words such as white, fair, and light from all its skincare products.
"The L'Oreal Group acknowledges the legitimate concerns about the terms used to describe skin evening products, and has therefore decided to remove the words white/whitening, fair/fairness, light/lightning from all its skin even-ing products," the company has said in a statement.
Over the last few years, there has been widespread criticism against skin lightning products as they encourage the inherent bias in Indian culture against dark complexion. Many prominent personalities, including actor Nandita Das, has spoken up on this issue, and even launched a campaign named Dark is Beautiful. A growing number of social media influencers also have been promoting the cause, as awareness rises on body positivity and mental health.
The recent Black Lives Matter movement in the US – which has made its waves felt across India as well – has catalysed the conversation on inclusivity here, and the need to do away with colourism has gained strength. A few week ago, US-based healthcare and FMCG giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) also stopped the sale of its skin-whitening creams like Neutrogena Fine Fairness and Clear Fairness by Clean & Clear globally, including in India.
In February 2020, the Government of India's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare amended the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954, stating brands endorsing pharmaceutical products for fairness of skin, hair loss, improvement of height or obesity, among others, will be fined with a penalty of Rs 50 lakh and will serve a prison time up to five years. The move was aimed at ending the branding and marketing of products that continues to fan such prejudices.