1. When this Thai skin lightening advert came out in January of this year it caused a huge fuss with its “white makes you win” message and use of blacking up. Thai skincare company Seoul Secret apologised and removed the video after it went viral.
2. Nadinola bleaching cream still exists to this day, and while their brand image seems to have changed a lot, this highly sexist advert from the 1960s, which suggests that men are more attracted to lighter skinned women, is a testament to the pervasiveness of the idea that “lightness” equals beauty. Skin lightening adverts which take on a similar tone still exist today.
3. Even some our favourite brands sell skin-lightening products. Palmers, best known for their cocoa butter which is a staple of many black women’s cosmetic cupboards, sells a range of skin lightening products, and has been doing so for many years. The historical advert below says that their Skin Success cream, which is still available today, will “tone the shades of your skin for that natural, fairer, clearer loveliness”.
4. These adverts for Sweet George Bleach Cream, from the 1960s/70s, also make outrageous claims about the outcomes of using skin bleaching products. “Help yourself to love, romance, and popularity with a pretty brighter-looking skin”, reads one. The scariest thing about these adverts is that, especially at the time they were published, being lighter-skinned was one route to an easier life.
5. Vaseline is another well-known brand who sell skin lightening cream. This recent advert equates whiteness with being “healthy”.Get involved with gal-dem’s skin lightening series. Comment, tweet us at @galdemzine using the hashtag #skinlighteningseries, or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to share your experience.