Hindustan Unilever, the Indian subsidiary of the global consumer goods giant, announced Thursday that it would “stop using the word ‘Fair’ in the brand name” of its array of skin creams.
The decision was taken to shift toward “a more inclusive vision of beauty,” the company said in a statement.
In India, the preference for lighter skin has been a longstanding, contentious issue. Activists who oppose the use of cosmetics for skin-lightening say some of the best-known Bollywood stars have perpetuated the trend by lending their names and faces to advertising campaigns promoting “fairness” creams.
Hindustan Unilever acknowledged in its statement Thursday that it had previously played up “the benefits of fairness, whitening and skin lightening” while marketing its products.
It said that it sought to move away from that starting last year, by removing all mention of “words such as ‘fair/fairness’, ‘white/whitening’, and ‘light/lightening'” on the packaging of the “Fair & Lovely” skin creams.
The company now chooses to emphasize “glow, even tone, skin clarity and radiance” instead, it said.
“The brand has never been and is not a bleaching product,” it added.
Hindustan Unilever bills itself as one of India’s biggest consumer goods companies, and claims its products reach nine out of 10 households in the country.
The proposed new brand name is subject to regulatory approval, and will likely take effect sometime in the next few months, the company said Thursday.
— CNN’s Swati Gupta and Monica Sarkar contributed to this report.