PARIS – L’Oréal is the latest beauty group to revise how it refers to “whitening” and “lightening” skin-care products, which are largely marketed in Asia.
“The L’Oréal 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.
Late last week, Unilever also said it is retooling the language used to describe what have long been marketed as “whitening” or “lightening” products.
Such words most often appear on creams and treatments aimed at making Asian women’s skin lighter and more even-toned. This is increasingly being viewed as conforming to a Western ideal of beauty, wealth and social status amid the worldwide focus on racial injustice rises following the police killing of George Floyd two months ago.
Some L’Oréal brands selling skin-evening products include Lancôme, with its Blanc Expert range, and Garnier, with its Skin Naturals White Complete Multi Action Fairness Cream.
Other whitening lines from other brands include Chanel’s Le Blanc range and Shiseido’s White Lucent collection.
Unilever said it also plans to change the name of its Fair & Lovely brand, which is sold throughout Asia.
The parent of brands including Dove, Pond’s and Vaseline said Thursday it wants to promote a “more inclusive vision of beauty,” and will also remove the words fair/fairness and light/lightening from all Unilever products.
In mid-June, Johnson & Johnson announced it will stop selling the Neutrogena Fine Fairness product line, which had been marketed in Asia and the Middle East, and Clean & Clear Fairness, which was carried in India.
“Conversations over the past few weeks highlighted that some product names or claims on our Dark Spot Reducer products represent fairness or white as better than your own unique skin tone. This was never our intention – healthy skin is beautiful skin,” Johnson & Johnson said in a statement.