fair and lovely

Fair & Lovely skin-lightening face cream will be rebranded after backlash

After being widely accused of promoting negative stereotypes around darker skin tones, Unilever's Fair & Lovely skin cream has announced plans to re-brand its name.

The skin-lightening cream has been receiving huge backlash in recent weeks, with many claiming that the product endorses a singular idea of beauty.

The decision to re-brand comes after more than 18,000 people signed petitions urging Unilever to halt its production of the range.

One of the petitions claimed that the product has been "built upon, perpetuated and benefited from internalised racism and promotes anti-blackness sentiments."

Announcing the news, President of Beauty and Personal Care at Unilever, Sunny Jain, said that the company is "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."

Unilever will also be removing references to "whitening" or "lightening" from the products.

They added: "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."

Unilever also insisted that the brand has never been and is not a "bleaching product."

Last year, "shade guides" and before-and-after impressions were removed from Fair & Lovely packaging. 

The skin care products are sold in countries such as Thailand, India, Indonesia and Pakistan.

While Unilever does not sell Fair & Lovely in Canada, products from the range can be found in beauty supply stores across the country — many of which cater to Asian, African and Caribbean communities.

Health Canada actively seizes large quantities of these unauthorized products each year. The department strongly discourages Canadians from using these products. If people see the products for sale, they are asked to report it to Health Canada, so that the department can take appropriate action.

The decision by Unilever comes as many companies re-assess their branding, following world-wide Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the death of George Floyd.

Companies such as Uncle Ben's and Aunt Jemima have also decided to re-brand their products due to issues around racial stereotyping.

Lead photo by

Adam Jones

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