Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, and L'Oreal Starting a Movement Across the Beauty Industry



Business Insider | June 30, 2020

In the past week alone, several major consumer packaged goods and cosmetics conglomerates announced plans to pull skin-lightening creams from shelves and remove words like "whitening," "lightening," and "fair" from existing products that valorize lighter skin. Their efforts come on the heels of global protests over the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by police officers and support for the Black Lives Matter movement. 

For the beauty industry, the push had been a long time coming. The cosmetics industry has long been the target of controversy for its lack of inclusivity in products that fail to represent a wide range of skin tones and types.

Unilever announced last week that it will change the name of its Fair & Lovely skin-lightening cream, while also removing the terms fair/fairness, white/whitening, and light/lightening across the brand portfolio. 

Johnson & Johnson discontinued skin-lightening products from its portfolio, including Neutrogena Fine Fairness in Asia and the Middle East, as well as Clean & Clear's Clear Fairness sold in India.  L'Oreal became the latest company to reassess its skin-lightening products, sharing in a statement on June 27 that it will remove fair/fairness, white/whitening, and light/lightening from products.

Ben Parr, co-founder of marketing firm Octane AI, said "The moves by these global corporations will for sure continue to drive global impact that the Black Lives Matter movement has started," Parr told Business Insider. "I think that you will probably see a permanent decrease in interest in skin-lightening products worldwide as the world reckons with racism in beauty."


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