Goodbye Fair and Lovely: HUL to remove the word ‘fair’ from its brand

The new name, HUL said, is awaiting regulatory approvals and the company expects to change the name in the next few months.
Fair and Lovely branding
Fair and Lovely branding

In a major announcement, consumer goods company Hindustan Unilever has announced that it will be rebranding its flagship brand Fair & Lovely by removing the word ‘Fair’ from the brand name. This comes as there is a global debate over racial inequality and beauty standards.

The new name, HUL said, is awaiting regulatory approvals and the company expects to change the name in the next few months.

HUL's decision comes a week after American multinational Johnson and Johnson announced that it will be stopping the sale of two fairness products that are sold in India.

Fair and Lovely is HUL’s flagship skincare product and reportedly generates $560 million in annual sales. Reports suggest that it holds 50-70% share of the skin whitening market in India.

HUL claimed in a statement that over the last decade, Fair & Lovely’s advertising has evolved to communicate a message of women’s empowerment.

“The 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,” it claims.

HUL further justified its fairness cream product saying that the brand’s communication moved away from the benefits of fairness, whitening and skin lightening from the beginning of 2019 and moved towards glow, even tone, skin clarity and radiance, which are holistic measures of healthy skin.

HUL also claims to have removed from Fair & Lovely’s packaging, words such as ‘fair/fairness’, ‘white/whitening’, and ‘light/lightening’. 

“The company will continue to evolve its advertising, to feature women of different skin tones, representative of the variety of beauty across India,” the company said in a statement.

Some of the fair and lovely products, however, still show women in two different skin tones on the pack.

It said that in addition to the changes to Fair & Lovely, the rest of the company’s skin care portfolio will also reflect the ‘new vision of positive beauty’.

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 cameo with two faces 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. The new name is awaiting regulatory approvals, and the pack with the revised name will be available in the market in the next few months.”

Johnson and Johnson said earlier this week that its Neutrogena Fine Fairness cream, which is sold in Asia and the Middle East, and Clean & Clear fairness cream, which sold only in India will not be sold anymore.

“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 own unique skin tone. This was never our intention - healthy skin is beautiful skin,” a company spokesperson said in a statement earlier this week.

A Reuters report quoting Euromonitor International stated that around 6,277 tonnes of skin lightening products, including those labelled as ‘anti-ageing’ or ‘spot removal treatments', were sold across the world in 2019.

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