L’Oreal to Drop ‘Whitening’ from Products for Racial Equality

L'Oreal Storefront
French cosmetic brand L'Oreal is responding to calls for racial equality by dropping "whitening and lightening" from its product names.

French cosmetics giant L’Oreal will be repacking their best-selling products in response to calls for racial equality. The brand will be removing terms “whitening” and “lightening” after consumer backlash and protest against racial stereotypes.

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

Prior to that, leading consumer brand Unilever said it will be rebranding its “Fair & Lovely” cream, a popular skin lightening product in Asia. While the product is reportedly making the company $500 million in revenue, Unilever acknowledged that the name promotes racist stereotypes.

L’Oreal and Unilever are just two of the beauty industry giants who are responding to consumer calls racial equality.

Skin brightening and lightening creams are best-sellers in Asia, Africa, and Caribbean markets who are led to believe that whiter and lighter skin is more desirable.

“We are fully committed to having a global portfolio of skincare brands that is inclusive and cares for all skin tones, celebrating greater diversity of beauty. We recognize 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,” Sunny Jain, head of Unilever’s Beauty & Personal Care, said.

Johnson & Johnson, for its part, pledged to discontinue some Neutrogena and Clean & Clear products. The brand markets dark-spot reducers in Asia and the Middle East.