#shiseido

L’Oreal whitewashes 1,300 years of Japanese culture

L’Oreal is the latest company to fold to the cancel culture by removing removing the words white/whitening, fair/fairness, light/lightening from all its skin evening products. The cosmetics brand will still sell the creams which is basically as hypocritical as it gets.

If L’Oreal truly wanted to take a stand and put an end to systemic racism, it would dictate to its core customers that they need to check their bigotry and ban the creams as the tool to enforce correct behaviours.

The irony of skin whitening creams is that whites make up a tiny slice of users. Indeed Asian women make up the bulk of the buyers.

Did L’Oreal realize that during the Nara Period (710–94), Japanese women painted their face with a white powder called oshiroi? This was also documented in texts during the Heian Period (794–1185). White facial colour stood as a symbol of beauty then as it does today.

So that is to say the Japanese self-determined their own views on beauty over 1,300 years ago, before the country ever encountered “gaijin”, a name that came 500 years later when Kublai Khan tried to invade in the 13th Century.

You can learn more about the skin whitening cream market here. Note it also includes the wonderful success story of a black woman, Rachel Roff, who filled a gap in the market by targeting people of colour with products the racist (?) product developers at J&J never bothered to cater to because they deemed it uncommercial.

Never mind, you’ve been told by L’Oreal.

#BlackSkinMatters. J&J caves to the cancel culture mob

Now J&J is dumping hand whitening cream after social pressure surrounding racial inequality.

Perhaps sunscreen and tanning lotions should be banned by the company too? After all, those who want a darker complexion must be just as guilty of dermatological appropriation.

Or is J&J’s move really just a cynical attempt by the legal and PR departments to appear as a good corporate citizen amidst a criminal probe into whether the pharma giant lied to the public about the possible cancer risks of its talcum powder?

Also, did J&J ever think of the demand from similar products for coloured women?

Urban Rx deliberately targeted this space because of an absence of products tailored to their needs. Perhaps J&J should self-flagellate for not catering this area and apologize for racially insensitive product developers. Publicly sack them to appease the mob. Black Skin Matters.

Forbes says sales for UrbanRx are booming.

Urban Rx Founder Rachel Roff opened a spa in Charlotte, North Carolina 12 years ago and found that although 50% of the women in the south are African-American, Roff could not find products that provided adequate skin care for women with darker skin. Over time she developed a skincare technology she calls Cleartone Advanced Technology…Although she still operates the spa, that business is dwarfed by the skincare business, which continues to grow very rapidly.

See a need. Fill a need. We hope Roff continues to do well. After all, if coloured women care about removing blemishes surely they have exactly the same requirements as women of other skin tones. It isn’t racist. It is a choice.

Skin whitening products are extremely popular in Asian and Middle Eastern markets. Perhaps J&J should launch a targeted ad campaign shaming c.70% of the world’s female population for their dermatological privilege.

According to Grandview Research , the global skin lightening products market size was valued at US$ 8.3 billion in 2018 and a CAGR of 7.8%pa.

Didn’t J&J’s PR department study what happened to P&G when it targeted ‘toxic masculinity’ via the Gillette brand which wiped $8 billion in value?

From our perspective, J&J products are off our list. We never ask anyone to boycott companies but we are sick of being lectured to by sanctimonious businesses who want to morally preen.

These brands are totally within their rights to make commercial decisions about product lines.

However they don’t have an obligation to tell customers that their personal preferences with respect to hygiene, skincare or anything else are not in step with the times, especially in cultures that hold different views about beauty which are often centuries old.

Japanese skin whitening giants Shiseido and KOSÉ will be loving such corporate harakiri by J&J. J&J shareholders won’t.

Get woke, go broke.