How L'Oreal will market products in whitening-crazy Philippines after rebranding

How L'Oreal will market products in whitening-crazy Philippines after rebranding

MANILA, Philippines — French cosmetics giant L'Oreal has committed to removing words like "whitening" from its products in response to the global Black Lives Matter (BLM) call, a move which could be considered a financial risk in markets like the Philippines where fair skin is always the trend.

"The L'Oreal Group has decided to remove the words white/whitening, fair/fairness, light/lightening from all its skin evening products," the company said in a brief statement last month.

Nonetheless, as part of its local sustainability roadmap, L’Oreal Philippines assured consumers that addressing social challenges will not prove to be an obstacle in the company’s vision.

The company's Country Managing Director Supriya Singh explained that it’s a common misconception that its products previously branded as “whitening” were sold for that very purpose.

“Actually, (our company) has never had skin-based bleaching products in our portfolio. This is not something that we have ever had. What our products have that have been branded or marketed as whitening or lightening are products for UV (ultraviolet) protection, uneven skin tone, or spot reduction,” Singh said in a June 23 virtual conference with the media including

“But we now realize the impact that this had on consumers and we want to act now. And therefore, we are taking action now to remove those words from our branding and our marketing.”

Singh explained that the rebranding does not mean phasing out these products or their ingredients altogether "because we know we need it."

She cited how UV protection is especially necessary in the Philippines due to Filipinos' regular sun exposure.

“So we will not be removing those products and removing those ingredients. What we will be doing is changing the way that we brand them and market them so they are actually more pinpointed on what these products do versus using this umbrella of ‘whitening’ which is not specific to the product ingredients.”