Fair and Lovely: Can renaming a fairness cream stop colourism?

Consumer giant Unilever says it will rebrand its bestselling skin lightening cream Fair and Lovely and drop the word “fair” from its name. While the news has been welcomed, campaigners say the move doesn’t go far enough – and in India demand for such products shows no sign of waning.
Unilever and its Indian subsidiary Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) have been criticised extensively for promoting colourism and making girls with darker shades feel insecure and inadequate.
Pressure had been mounting since last week when US multinational Johnson and Johnson announced it would no longer produce or sell two of its creams which are popular in Asia and the Middle East in response to the death of George Floyd and the worldwide debate about racism it sparked.
“Conversations over the past few weeks highlighted that some product names or claims on our Neutrogena and Clean & Clear dark-spot reducer products represent fairness or white as better than your own unique skin tone,” Johnson and Johnson said in a statement. “This was never our intention – healthy skin is beautiful skin.”

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