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HUL embraces inclusive beauty; to drop ‘fair’, ‘white’, ‘light’ from products

Hindustan Unilever today announced the next step in the evolution of its skin care portfolio, with the rebranding of its flagship brand Fair & Lovely. Taking forward the brand’s journey towards a more inclusive vision of beauty, the company will stop using the word ‘Fair’ in the brand name ‘Fair & Lovely’. The new name is awaiting regulatory approvals and the group expects to change the name in the next few months.

This development is part of Unilever’s global announcement today regarding the next step in the evolution of its skin care portfolio to a more inclusive vision of beauty – which includes the removal of the words ‘fair/fairness’, ‘white/whitening’, and ‘light/lightening’ from its products’ packs and communication.

In a release issued, Sunny Jain, President Beauty & Personal Care, said, “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... As we’re evolving the way that 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. We have been working on the evolution of our Fair & Lovely brand, which is sold across Asia, progressively moving to a more inclusive vision of beauty that celebrates skin glow... We will also continue to evolve our advertising, to feature women of different skin tones, representative of the variety of beauty across India and other countries. We want Fair & Lovely to become a brand that celebrates glowing and radiant skin, regardless of skin tone.”

Over the last decade, Fair & Lovely’s advertising has evolved to communicate a message of women’s empowerment. In a statement issued, HUL said that brand’s vision is to adopt a holistic approach to beauty that cares for people, that must be inclusive and diverse – for everyone, everywhere. The brand is committed to celebrating all skin tones.

In early 2019, the brand’s communication moved away from the benefits of fairness, whitening and skin lightening, towards glow, even tone, skin clarity and radiance, which are holistic measures of healthy skin. HUL also removed from Fair & Lovely’s packaging, words such as ‘fair/fairness’, ‘white/whitening’, and ‘light/lightening’ that could indicate a fairness-led transformation. The cameo with two faces showing shade transformation, as well as the shade guides were removed from the packs.

In a release issued, Sanjiv Mehta, Chairman and Managing Director, HUL, said, “We are making our skin care portfolio more inclusive and want to lead the celebration of a more diverse portrayal of beauty. In 2019, we removed the two faced cameo as well as the shade guides from the packaging of Fair & Lovely and the brand communication progressed from fairness to glow, which is a more holistic and inclusive measure of healthy skin. These changes were very well received by our consumers. We now announce that we will remove the word ‘Fair’ from our brand name Fair & Lovely.”

Explaining the composition of the product, the Unilever global release maintained that Fair & Lovely has never been, and is not, a skin bleaching product. The brand uses a combination of vitamin B3, glycerine, UVA and UVB sunscreens. This was a much-needed move from harmful chemicals like mercury and bleach, which consumers were using. The brand has been progressively changing its formulation, and includes other vitamins like B6, C & E, allantoin, known to improve skin health and protect the skin from external aggressors, UV rays and environmental pollution. The product is designed to improve skin barrier function, improve skin firmness and smoothen skin texture - all of which help enhance radiance and glow, as currently represented in advertising and communication.

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