Hindustan Unilever Ltd’s best-selling Fair & Lovely skin-lightening cream has dropped the word “fair" after complaints that it promoted racial stereotyping. It will now be known as Glow & Lovely.
Glow & Lovely will hit the shelves over the next few months and future innovations will deliver on this new brand, HUL said on Thursday, adding that the brand will now project a “more inclusive vision of positive beauty".
The men’s range of Fair & Lovely will be sold as Glow & Handsome.
HUL started selling Fair & Lovely in India in the 1970s, promoting it as an enabler of success and pitching the idea of ‘fair’ as ‘beautiful’.
However, over the years, consumers the world over have rejected brands and advertising that promote racial stereotypes. More recently, the global Black Lives Matter protests have forced brands to take a call on products that endorse one skin colour over others.
HUL had applied for a trademark for Glow & Lovely with the Controller General of Patents Design & Trade Marks, under the ministry of commerce and industry, in 2018, but the request was refused.
However, on 17 June, the company reapplied for Glow & Lovely (stylized) for a range of categories such as soap, medicated soap, cleaning preparations, and essential oils.
HUL joins a long list of brands looking to market products that appear more inclusive.
Johnson & Johnson in June announced plans to discontinue its range of Neutrogena Fine Fairness and Clean & Clear Fairness product line in India, saying “conversations over the past few weeks highlighted that some product names or claims on our dark spot reducer products represent fairness or white as better than your unique skin tone".
Its move was triggered by conversations around race and colour that have gripped the world after the killing of George Floyd in the US.
Late last week, French beauty company L’Oreal said it will remove the words ‘white’, ‘fair’, and ‘light’, from all its “skin even-ing products".
And HUL, announcing the withdrawal of ‘fair’ from Fair & Lovely last week, said, “The brand is committed to celebrating all skin tones."
However, many consumers argue that a mere change in name will do little to discourage the sale of such products and the strong biases they invoke.
Meanwhile, Kolkata-based Emami Ltd said it will consult legal experts over HUL’s decision to rename its men’s fairness cream brand as ‘Glow & Handsome’ that bears similarity to Emami’s ‘Fair & Handsome’ brand of men’s personal care products.
A spokesperson for Emami said the firm is “shocked" to learn of HUL’s decision to rename its men’s range of Fair & Lovely as ‘Glow & Handsome’. The company also launched Emami ‘Glow & Handsome’ skin cream last week.