June 25,th, 2020, (London/Rotterdam): Unilever announced today 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. As part of this decision, the Fair & Lovely brand name will be changed in the next few months.
Sunny Jain, President Beauty & Personal Care, explains, “We are fully committed to having a global portfolio of skin care brands that is inclusive and cares for all skin tones, celebrating greater diversity of beauty. 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. 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 have changed the advertising, communication and – more recently – the packaging in South Asia, and we think it’s important that we now share the next step that we have been working on: changing the brand name. 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,” adds Jain.
The brand’s advertising has been changing since 2014, to a message of women empowerment. Fair & Lovely upholds principles that no association should be made between skin tone and a person’s achievement, potential or worth. We are aware that historic advertising is available on the internet; these ads are not aligned with the current values of the brand.
In 2019, we reflected this evolution on the Fair & Lovely pack in India, removing before-and-after impressions and shade guides that could indicate a transformation; and we have progressed all communication of product benefits towards glow, even tone, skin clarity and radiance.
As part of this journey to embrace and reflect a more inclusive vision of beauty, the next significant step is to update its brand name, which will be shared once several legal and regulatory requirements are met in each country where the brand is available. This registration process is already underway, and we expect to be able to unveil the new brand name within the next few months.
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.
The evolution to a more inclusive vision of beauty that celebrates and cares for all skin tones, and no longer uses the words ‘white/whitening’, ‘light/lightening or ‘fair/fairness’, will be a policy for all Unilever’s Beauty & Personal Care brands.
Connecting women to opportunity
Career guidance. High-quality education. They are vital elements to building a career and essential to empowering women. That’s especially true where socio-cultural, infrastructural or economic barriers stand in women’s way – barriers such as gender stereotyping, safety concerns about studying outside the home, or harmful norms about household responsibilities.
Impact at Scale
The Fair & Lovely Career Foundation was set up in 2003 to offer women scholarships to pursue their education. In 2017, it launched a mobile-friendly career and education platform www.fairandlovelyfoundation.in as a holistic solution. This mobile platform offers career guidance as well as a curated selection of courses. The courses are chosen from well-regarded, high-quality digital education partners such as edX.org (founded by Harvard and MIT), the IT skills training firm, NIIT Limited, and English Edge, an English language training specialist.
By the end of 2019, over one million people had registered to access skills and training through the platform, including 600,000 women, with 350,000 career tests already completed.
As with the rebrand of Fair & Lovely, we will be also announcing Fair & Lovely Foundation’s new name later this year.