June 26, 2020 / 2:32 PM / 11 days ago

L'Oreal to drop words such as 'whitening' from skin products

FILE PHOTO: The logo of French cosmetics group L'Oreal in Levallois-Perret, France, February 7, 2020. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - L’Oreal (OREP.PA), the world’s biggest cosmetics company, will remove words referencing “white”, “fair” and “light” from its skin-evening products, a spokeswoman said on Friday, a day after Unilever (ULVR.L) made a similar announcement in the face of growing social media criticism.

Unilever and L’Oreal are two big players in the global market for skin whitening creams used in many Asian, African and Caribbean countries where fair skin is often considered desirable.

Unilever, in particular, came under fire for its “Fair & Lovely” brand at a time of worldwide focus on racial injustice following weeks of protests sparked by the May death of George Floyd, a Black man, in police custody in the United States.

L’Oreal’s products include Garnier Skin Naturals White Complete Multi Action Fairness Cream.

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) went a step further, saying it would stop selling skin whitening creams sold in Asia and the Middle East under its Neutrogena and Clean & Clear brand.

Reporting by Martinne Geller, editing by Louise Heavens and Angus MacSwan

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