Fair & Lovely (cosmetics)
Fair & Lovely is a skin-lightening cosmetic product of Hindustan Unilever introduced to the market in India in 1975. Fair & Lovely is available in India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and other parts of Asia, and is also exported to other parts of the world, such as the West, where it is sold in Asian supermarkets.
Unilever patented the brand Fair & Lovely in 1971 after the patenting of niacinamide, a melanin suppressor, which is the cream's main active ingredient. Fair and Lovely contains stearic acid, mainly sourced from animal body fats (like lard) which contain the highest amount of stearic acid by weight compared to plant-based fats.
The target consumer profile for Fair & Lovely is the 18 and above age group, and the bulk of the users are in the age 21–35 category, though there is evidence that girls as young as 12–14 also use the cream. As of 2012 the brand occupied 80% of the fairness cream market in India and is one of Hindustan Unilever's most successful cosmetics lines.
Marketing campaigns of the product have been criticized for promoting colorism. Marketing for the product in all countries implies whiter skin equates beauty and self-confidence. Hindustan Unilever Limited research claims that "90 per cent of Indian women want to use whiteners because it is aspirational, like losing weight. A fair skin is, like education, regarded as a social and economic step up." Following this controversy, including a 2007 television advertisement in which the actor Saif Ali Khan expressed preference for the fair-skinned Neha Dhupia over the darker-skinned Priyanka Chopra, the company suspended television advertisements for the product.
- Miranda A. Farage, Kenneth W. Miller, Howard I. Maibach. Textbook of Aging Skin 540896554 (2009), p.498: "In a recent work, niacinamide and glucosamine (in particular, its derivative N-acetyl glucosamine [NAG]) have been determined to be effective in reducing melanin production in culture. In vitro, glucosamine reduces production of melanin."
- Jham, Vimi. Cases on Consumer-Centric Marketing Management (2013) 1466643587, p. 102: "The target consumer profile for Fair & Lovely is in the age group of 18 and above. The bulk of the users are in the age group of 21-35 and brand communication has always been targeted at this age group."
- Mike Peng. Global Strategy 0324590997 (2008), p. 414: "The target market for Fair & Lovely is predominantly young women aged 18–35 (Srisha, 2001). Disturbingly, “there is repeated evidence that schoolgirls in the 12–14 years category widely use fairness creams" (Ninan, 2003)."
- Alma M. Garcia. Contested Images: Women of Color in Popular Culture (2012) 0759119635, p. 182: "Through its Indian subsidiary, Hindustan Lever Limited, Unilever patented Fair & Lovely in 1971 following the patenting of niacinamide, a melanin suppressor, which is its main active ingredient. Test marketed in South India in 1975, available throughout India in 1978. Fair & Lovely has become the largest-selling skin cream in India, accounting for 80 per cent of the fairness cream market."
- Mariam, Simra (2017-03-27). "Daring To Be Dark: Fighting Against Colorism In South Asian Cultures". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2019-01-06.
- Lynne Eagle, Stephan Dahl. Marketing Ethics & Society (2015) 1473934028: "Advertisements in all the countries in which Fair & Lovely is sold show product users getting better jobs, getting married or having a brighter future (and being noticeably happier) as a result of their lighter skin."
- Aneel Karnani. Fighting Poverty Together: Rethinking Strategies 0230120237 (2011), p. 101: "Hindustan Unilever Limited, Unilever's Indian subsidiary, claims Fair & Lovely is doing good by fulfilling a social need. HUL research says that '90 per cent of Indian women want to use whiteners because it is aspirational, like losing weight. A fair skin is like education, regarded as a social and economic step up.'"
- Sidharth Balakrishna Case Studies in Marketing Pearson 2011, 8131757978 Case Study 1: Fair & Lovely p.5 "... responding to an advertisement in which the actor Saif Ali Khan prefers the fair-skinned starlet Neha Dhupia over Priyanka Chopra, known for her dusky, wheatish complexion."