L’Oreal has announced it will remove words like “whitening” from its skincare products, a move that comes amid global anti-racism protests sparked by the death of George Floyd in the United States.
The French cosmetics company - the largest in the world - said in a statement on Saturday that it “has decided to remove the words ‘white/whitening’, ‘fair/fairness’, ‘light/lightening’ from all its skin evening products”.
The move follows a similar one by the Indian and Bangladeshi arms of Unilever on Thursday, who said it would rename its locally marketed “Fair & Lovely” skin-lightening cream.
Earlier in June, L’Oreal faced criticism after tweeting that it “stands in solidarity with the Black community and against injustice of any kind. Speaking out is worth it”.
The social media post drew a negative response from people who claimed the company’s business model and advertising has long focused on white consumers.
Munroe Bergdof - who was L’Oreal UK’s first openly transgender model - accused the company of hypocrisy for having fired her in 2017 for decrying “the racial violence of white people”.
Several companies including L’Oreal and Uniliver have come under recent fire for skin-lightening products in the wake of growing support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Last week Johnson & Johnson said it would stop selling two lines of skin whitening products that refer to “Fairness” on its labels.