Priya Arora and
The companies have responded to a new wave of criticism calling beauty products that advocate lighter skin discriminatory.
As major consumer products companies have rushed to declare their opposition to racism in response to the national outrage over the killing of George Floyd, many of them have been accused of openly promoting a beauty standard rooted in racism and discrimination.
Unilever, Procter & Gamble, L’Oreal and Johnson & Johnson — some of the world’s biggest advertisers — sell beauty products that advocate lighter, whiter skin in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Those products are not marketed in the United States, but the sales of the skin lighteners have drawn criticism, especially from South Asians, for perpetuating colorism — the term describing the preference for lighter skin — in other countries, under popular brand names like Pond’s, Olay, Garnier and Neutrogena, and their own labels like Fair & Lovely.
The backlash appears to be forcing action.