"Last month Hindustan Unilever, the creators of the popular skin-whitening line Fair & Lovely said they would be rebranding the product to "Glow & Lovely" after years of criticism that the brand name promotes colourism."
But Dr. Radhika Parameswaran, a Professor in the Media School at Indiana University, Bloomington, who has studied colourism, believes that the replacement of 'Fair' to 'Glow' is unlikely to undo thousands of years of prejudice. While Fair & Lovely first hit markets in 1975, skin bleaching has existed in South Asia long before cosmetics appeared, in the form of beauty rituals. These involved using cream of milk, turmeric and lemon juice to lighten the skin of children from a young age.
"Even back then, people would say that applying these to your skin would make you 'glow'. I think people know 'glow', along with 'brighten' is a euphemism for skin lightening," says Professor Parameswaran. "So, given how resilient colourism is, I'm not sure 'Glow and Lovely' is going to do much to attack it in any substantive way."