L’Oreal To Remove Words ‘Fair,’ 'Whitening,' And 'Lightening' From Its Products
French cosmetic giant moves to acknowledge racist stereotypes
The world's largest cosmetics company L’Oreal has announced it will remove words “fair," “lightening," and “whitening" from their skin products.
Some cosmetics brands faced backlash for offering products intended for “fair” skin along with skin-lightening products.
The French company said in a statement to the Associated Press:
“The L’Oreal Group has decided to remove the words white/whitening, fair/fairness, light/lightening from all its skin evening products."
The company's move to remove the words from skin products comes after British model Munroe Bergdorf, the company’s first transgender model before being fired in 2017, had re-emerged.
The company hired Bergdorf as a consultant on their U.K. Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board.
Bergdorf wrote in 2017 in a message to white people:
“Your existence, privilege, and success as a race is built on the backs, blood, and death of people of color."
"Your entire existence is drenched in racism,” she wrote.
“Racism isn’t learned. It’s inherited, and consciously or unconsciously passed down through privilege."
"Once white people begin to admit that their race is the most violent and oppressive force of nature on Earth, then we can talk.”
CNN reported that L’Oreal rehired Bergdorf, and she will serve on the diversity board.
“L’Oreal’s promise for change comes a day after consumer products leader Unilever announced they’d be changing the name of their ‘Fair & Lovely’ cream that is popular in Asia for skin lightening,” Fox News reported.
According to Yahoo News, the product generated $500 million in revenue in India last year, but are now working to acknowledge racist stereotypes via their branding.
“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,” the head of Unilever’s Beauty & Personal Care, Sunny Jain said.
“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.”
The news comes as nationwide protests have prompted other companies to change their product names.
Last week, Quaker Oats announced it would rename and rebrand its pancake brand Aunt Jemima following an online backlash due to the name being "based on a racial stereotype."
Quaker, the company behind the “Aunt Jemima” brand of syrup and other breakfast foods, said Wednesday it would rename this line of products and scrap the logo, which includes an image of a black woman, “to make progress toward racial equality.”