As the Black Lives Matter movement prompts reckonings about race and skin color around the world, India’s most popular skin-whitening cream is changing its name. Its manufacturer, Unilever, said Thursday that it’s dropping the word “fair” from the Fair & Lovely brand name – and also eliminating any references to the cream’s whitening or lightening affects.
Hindustan Unilever announced the change on Thursday in response to years of calls to drop the branding or stop selling the creams, adverts for which have featured Bollywood celebrities and in the past promoted their ability to dramatically whiten complexions.
The company said the “evolution of its skincare portfolio to a more inclusive vision of beauty” would include removing the words fair/fairness, white/whitening and light/lightening from packaging and marketing and changing the brand name from Fair & Lovely over the next months.
“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,” said Sunny Jain, President of Unilever’s beauty and personal care division.
“As we are evolving the way 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.”
The company is awaiting regulatory approvals for the new product name and expects the change to go into effect in a few months, Unilever’s India unit said in a statement Thursday.
No word on what the new name will be. The company says the change will happen “in the next few months,” and will affect Fair & Lovely products sold across Asia.