In a memo obtained by Bloomberg News, the company’s executives told employees last month that the company will re-evaluate skincare and makeup lines for “cultural sensitivity,” examining the use of terms like ‘brightening’ and ‘lightening’.
Elsewhere in the cosmetics world, some of Estée’s top competitors have had to rename or discontinue skin-lightening products, in response to public backlash, including Johnson & Johnson, which announced in June that it would stop selling two of its skin-lightening products sold in its Asia market.
According to a report by Grand View Research, the global skin lightening products market size is expected to reach USD 13.7 billion by 2025.
Estée’s examination of its own products comes after the company dealt with political and race-related controversy earlier this year. In early June — amidst national Black Lives Matter protests — the company’s employees called for the resignation of company heir Ronald Lauder because of his support of President Donald Trump, claiming his political views were damaging to the company’s corporate values.
Days later, the company released a statement detailing its plans to commit to “racial equity.” It pledged to support Black-owned businesses, support external organizations and non-profits fighting for racial and social justice, and ensure that its brands “meet the diverse shade and formula needs of the Black community and our Black consumers, as appropriate by market,” among other commitments.
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