Estée Lauder is reviewing the language and marketing around its skin-lightening creams as companies face increasing scrutiny over their racial equality pledges.
Rival cosmetics firms have faced accusations of cultural insensitivity in recent months because they sell products designed to lighten the skin, seen by critics as perpetuating so-called colourism.
Estée Lauder, which owns 25 brands including Bobbi Brown, Clinique and La Mer, is hoping to avoid similar criticism by assessing the use of terms such as “brightening” and “lightening” on its products and considering whether certain lines should have a wider range of shades, according to Bloomberg.
It did not disclose which products would be affected.
The decision comes in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement across the world, which calls for racial equality and has brought racial bias to the forefront of consumers' minds. In June, Estée Lauder employees sent a letter to William Lauder, the company's executive chairman, asking him to do more to address race-related issues.
A subsequent memo sent to staff in August outlined the ways the company planned to do better, including "reviewing all products for local relevancy and cultural sensitivity" and working with more black-owned businesses.
The company is the latest to rethink its strategy around skin-lightening products in particular. In June, Unilever decided to change the name of its Fair & Lovely skin lightening brand following a shopper backlash.
The consumer goods company's Indian arm said it would no longer use the words “fair/fairness”, “white/whitening”, or “light/lightening” in advertising or the packaging of the brand, which is sold in South Asia.
But it will continue to sell the brand under a different name - in contrast with rival Johnson & Johnson, which announced the same month that it would discontinue two of its Asian skin lightening products.