• Estée Lauder Companies, which owns cosmetics brands Clinique, MAC, and Bobbi Brown, will review the "cultural sensitivity" of its products, according to the leak memo.
  • The company will review the use of the terms "brightening" and "whitening," the memo said.
  • Susan Akkad, Estée Lauder's senior vice-president, told Bloomberg that the company would also review the range of shades available for current and future products.
  • In June, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, and L'Oreal announced they would pull select skin-lightening products from shelves.
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Estée Lauder Companies has become the latest beauty giant to announce a review of its product for "cultural sensitivity," which will include the use of terms "brightening" and "whitening," according to a leaked memo.

The makeup and skincare company, which owns cosmetics brands Clinique, MAC, and Bobbi Brown, will also review the range of shades available for both existing and upcoming products, Susan Akkad, Estée Lauder's senior vice-president, told Bloomberg, which reported the leaked memo.

The cosmetics industry has faced criticism for vocally supporting the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, but failing to change its products. In June, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, and L'Oreal announced they would pull select skin-lightening products from shelves and remove words like "whitening" and "fair" from products.

The same month, Estée Lauder pledged new racial equity measures, including proportionate representation of nlack models in its marketing campaigns, and ensuring its product shades and formulas meet the needs of the Black community.

The company also committed to doubling its expenditure on ingredients, packaging materials, and supplies from Black-owned businesses over the next three years. It announced that its brands and the founding Lauder family would donate $10 million over the next three years to racial and social justice causes. 

Estée Lauder Companies owns more than 25 cosmetic, fragrance, and haircare brands. It reported a 32% drop in its net sales in the three months to June 30. The sales slump, caused by stores closing during lockdown, prompted it to shut 15% of its stores for good and cut up to 2,000 jobs.

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