Unilever To Drop Fair from ‘Fair & Lovely’ Brand After Backlash

Fair and Lovely to be renamed

The consumer goods company Unilever Limited will drop the word Fair from its global brand Fair and Lovely in the light of massive backlash around the world for the brand’s obsession with fair skin. The new name, which is reportedly undisclosed, is awaiting regulatory approvals. The company is expecting to change the name entirely in the next few months.

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Fair & Lovely Holds 50-70 Percent Of Fairness Cream Market In India

Fair & Lovely is Hindustan Unilever’s flagship product and captures around 50-70 percent of the skin whitening creams market in India. As per WSJ, it also generates $560 million in annual sales. Experts says, this is better late than never. But many activists are questioning, what’s in changing a name alone? “If the creams exist, if their composition is ‘meant to help people change their skin tone,’ then what’s the point of this?”

“We are making our skin care portfolio more inclusive and want to lead the celebration of a more diverse portrayal of beauty”- Unilever

Fair and Lovely has received considerable backlash from women, activists, non profits and platforms like SheThePeople which question the need for brands to promote fair skin and in essence discrimination based on colour. According to Euromonitor International, about 6,277 tonnes of skin lighteners were sold worldwide last year, including products marketed as anti-aging creams targeting dark spots or freckles.

On its part, Sunny Jain, President Beauty & Personal Care at Unilever explains their move. “We are fully committed to having a global portfolio of skin care brands that is inclusive and cares for all skin tones, celebrating greater diversity of beauty. We recognise 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. As we’re evolving the way that we communicate the skin benefits of our products that deliver radiant and even tone skin, it’s also important to change the language we use.”

Company Also Aiming At Changing Rest Of The Skin Care Portfolio

Apart from the Fair & Lovely cream, the company is also planning to redesign its skin care portfolio. “We are making our skin care portfolio more inclusive and want to lead the celebration of a more diverse portrayal of beauty. In 2019, we removed the cameo with two faces as well as the shade guides from the packaging of Fair & Lovely and the brand communication progressed from fairness to glow which is a more holistic and inclusive measure of healthy skin,” the company said.

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“These changes were very well received by our consumers.  We now announce that we will remove the word ‘Fair’ from our brand name Fair & Lovely. The new name is awaiting regulatory approvals, and the pack with the revised name will be available in the market in the next few months,” the release added.

Other Companies Working Towards Normalizing Skin Tone

A few days ago, American Multinational Johnson & Johnson decided to stop selling skin whitening lotions, including dark spot reducers which were also used to lighten skin tone. The product aims to profess that ‘dark-spot reducer products represent fairness or white as better than your own unique skin tone,’ which, the company said, was never their intention. It also announced modifying the skin tones in which the band aids are manufactured.