It’s no surprise that beauty companies regularly pander to the insecurities of darker skinned women everywhere. And yes, I will say insecurities, because those of us of a deeper hue are constantly reminded that we are less than perfect-that if our hair was a little straighter (or mixed and curly), a little longer, and our skin a little lighter and brighter, then we would perhaps be a little better off. These persistent reminders can chip away at even the most head-strong, self-loving sister.
I wrote about how I felt as if I were a freak during my last visit to India. It was as if many people had never seen a Black person before. But what bugged me out was that I saw several Indians that were my shade, and some even darker than me. Yet, they were always quick to insist that they were Indian, and not Black. Anything but Black.
I was watching TV in Goa, south India, and an ad for L’Oréal’s new product, “White Perfect” came on. It’s important to mention Goa, because there are mostly darker-skinned Indians in the south of the country. I glanced at my friend incredulously. That couldn’t be serious! Is the hatred of dark skin so profound that a beauty company could be so bold as to name a product “White Perfect”? Does black become imperfect? Who was the marketing genius behind this ploy? Yes, lightening creams have existed for ages, but this product is obscene in both concept and delivery.
Loréal advertisement for White Perfect cream; in Spanish, but you get the idea.
In a statement, a representative from L’Oréal states:
“Beyoncé Knowles has been a spokesperson for the L’Oréal Paris brand since 2001,” the company said in a statement to E! News, after coming under withering online attacks suggesting the ad lightened more than just the hair color of the brand’s famous face.
“We highly value our relationship with Ms. Knowles. It is categorically untrue that L’Oréal Paris altered Ms. Knowles’ features or skin-tone in the campaign for Feria’s hair color.”
But if we take a look at most of L’Oréal’s ads we can see a consistent skin tone among celebrities with a wide range of hues. How is that possible, Loréal? And how can I trust that a company offering a product called “White Perfect” have no underlying intentions of perpetuating a centuries-old hatred of color? I’ve never seen this product advertsised here, and I’m sure it would cause an uproar. Black American women have the Beyonce ad, darked-skinned Asian women have “White Perfect”.