Earlier, Johnson & Johnson had announced its exit from the fairness creams market globally. Some of L’Oreal’s skin-lightening products in India are sold under the Garnier and L’Oreal Paris brands.
While Hindustan Unilever’s Fair & Lovely (which will be rebranded in a few months to remove the word ‘fair’) is a market leader with a share of about 40%, L’Oreal’s market share is in low single digits. However, the recall for L’Oreal’s brands is high, given its greater presence in hair. Skincare and sun protection segment, which includes skin-lightening products, contributes 35% to L’Oreal’s global sales of 30 billion euros.
According to Euromonitor International’s report on the beauty and personal care market, basic moisturisers have grown from approximately Rs 7,000 crore in 2017 to over Rs 8,000 crore in 2019. Skin-whitening forms nearly 80% of the market. The impact of such global decisions by multinationals is being felt by domestic players as well.
Homegrown companies like Emami and CavinKare are evaluating the situation. Emami said it is studying all implications currently and evaluating internally to decide on the next course of action.
Euromonitor International’s consultant Pradeep Srinivasan said, “People are more empowered now, with information readily available and accessible across different social media platforms. This has led to a lot more awareness that beauty isn’t only skin deep and there are more traits involved — which has evolved the definition of beauty standards in the country. While the trend of inclusive beauty and embracing darker skin tones is gaining momentum, it is more of an urban phenomenon, with this segment only accounting for 34.5% of total population in 2019. However, many international and homegrown beauty companies have embraced this trend and launched facial make-up products that cater to darker skin tones.”
Srinivasan said the skin-whitening segment faces uncertainty in the near future with the health and family welfare ministry cracking down on advertisements that promote fairness creams through an amendment to the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Bill, 2020.