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  Fairness Fraud  


 This page may replace gradually Fair n Lovely 1. Contents are nearly same


Duping - Law of the Land


Quoted by MRTPC [earlier version of Competition Commission of India] in Colgate versus Hindustan Unilever fight:

The Supreme Court had ruled that  "the object is to bring honesty and truth in the relationship between the manufacturer and the consumer". And "if the general impression conveyed is false, the most punctilious and scrupulous accuracy in immaterial minutiae will not render the representations true" ...

MRTPC commented that "if the claim of "102"% anti- bacterial superiority is ultimately not found to be true," consumers by and large can be said to have been duped by such advertisement campaign.  'This injury caused to the public in general can hardly be compensated in terms of money, as the feeling of being duped cannot be evaluated in monetary terms'.

Lofty words to lull the public. And Duping goes on at an increased rate as of 2015.


Chapter 17


This site is about Haircare. Yet there is a separate chapter on Toilet Soaps, Shampoos, Toothpastes, and fairness creams. In the promotion of all these products of daily use, there is some amount of Duping.

That is the connection with haircare. Secondly, not all the points can be brought out with examples of dubious shampoo claims. So I have included other products also in this book. This helped me present the unstated / understated negative side with examples / published evidences.

Compared to other products / other areas, haircare problems are largely unresolved issues since Centuries. So the reader should guard against dubious claims to avoid getting duped.


Medical Opinion against Fairness Creams

1. "Actually, these are drugs that are sold as cosmetics, to avoid legal control." - View of Anil Gangoo, president of Indian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists and Leprologists. Hindustan Unilever, makers of Fair & Lovely, values this organisation. So take their comments about fairness creams seriously.

Source: Business Wire, December 2, 2002

Clinic All Clear, the leading anti-dandruff shampoo from Hindustan Lever Limited, presented the latest research …. The research conducted by Dr. Peter Bailey, Head of Unilever UK's Scalp R&D Team, was presented at the Annual Conference of the Indian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists and Leprologists (Delhi State branch).

2. Dr R K Pandhi, head, Department of Dermatology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, said that he "has never come across a medical study that substantiated such claims [of whitening]

Interested browsers can search 'truth of fairness creams' at rediff.com. Dr. Parul has written about some of the ingredients used in Fairness Creams and their limited / long term side effects.

The drawbacks are highlighted in this chapter. For elaborating my objections, only Fair & Lovely claims are used because it is a highly advertised / popular product. Secondly, it was the first product to be introduced in the market around 1978. My comments may be appropriate for other fairness creams as well


2. Lever says in the website that the effect is temporary.

The content below is from Fair & Lovely website as noted on 13th Jan 2012

2a] 'Is the fairness effect permanent? No. The effect is reversible. The skin will return to its original tone in a few weeks once you discontinue to use the product'...., 'the impact is transient'.

Transient means not lasting or permanent; temporary - Oxford / Chambers Dictionary


3. Suppression of facts / Misguidance

This drawbacks is not disclosed to the Public in their TV advertisements or on the product labels and cartons. When they suppress such crucial negative points, I think, they are duping / not acting in public interest.

 [In US, the Tobacco Companies were fined for withholding from the public the potential risk of Cancer due to smoking] The deficiency of the product's ability should be on the label. Refer point 4 below - Misleading claims under the Drugs and Cosmetics act.


4. Not a fairness enhancer

Lever's website
: ''Our technology is cosmetic in nature and is not intended for 'treatment' of a medical problem such as hyper-pigmentation. [Then why the claim of Ayurvedic?]

Our products deliver a perceivable skin lightening to the consumers and help address other skin issues' (such as sun related darkening, oily look, and rough appearance)

They should call the product Fair & Lovely Skin Lightener and not Fairness Cream

Skin lightening and Fairness are not synonyms. On TV, there is noise about fairness meter, application making the skin 2 tones lighter and user gaining confidence and what not. The 2 versions differ and are not supportive of one another.

There are some chemicals and solvents that can remove the body oil and make the skin 'light'. They cannot be called 'fairness enhancing' chemicals.


5. Fairness - Open Swindle across the World

P & G company suspended sales of its SK - II cosmetics line in China [Reuters report from Shanghai dated 25-9-2006: published by Business Standard, 26-9-2006]

Last Friday after the country's quality watchdog said it found traces of potentially harmful chemicals in the products. The SK-II product line includes skin whiteners, face creams and sun blocks. These products retail between 35 to 300 dollars and are on sales in 14 Countries.

Chinese media reported last week that counters selling Japan made products were forced to close after police broke up an angry crowd demanding refunds - imagine Indian buyers doing similar protests at some time in future.



Swapna in  Web Search

On 27th June, 2017

Query: Hairloss control and Hair Growth with supportive proofs:

Top Ten position for this site - about 3.7Million results:


Back to the main contents of this page

6. Ayurvedic claim is false / Blatant Lie

a. Lever admits that 'Our technology is cosmetic in nature'.

There is no mention of Ayurveda Therapy or expertise. Selling the product under Ayurvedic lable is  a deliberate act of misconduct.

b. Indian Civilisation is over 5000 years old. Ayurveda was the widely practised Medical Therapy for many Centuries. There were very great practitioners in India. There are many Universities and Researchers specialising in Ayurveda. They did not invent a Fairness formula

c. Fair & Lovely was perhaps a cosmetic formulation in 1980. It is mind boggling that an Anglo Dutch Company discovers the 'Ayurvedic formulation for fairness'! 

[This gimmick / instant expertise in an unheard of branch of Ayurveda is possible if an agreement is reached with papers carrying Gandhi's photos / currency notes]

d. A Cosmetic formulation, with origin and side effects unknown, should not seek Ayurveda license. It is cheap Business Ethics

The 'Ayurveda Lable' on the container misguides the Public to a false sense of safety behind the product


7. Violation of Cosmetic Act?

4th Oct 2013: For 'misleading claims of Fair & Lovely', you may get over 25 Million results in Google. One site giving some information about violation is below.

Violation: refer www.dc.kerala.gov.in/docs/pdf/action/fairlove.pdf?

Statewide seizure of Fair & Lovely products for Misleading claims on the containers and outer cartons in violation of the provisions of [Drugs and Cosmetics] D&C Act 1940 and rules 1945 made there under. The enforcement officers of the Drugs Control Department have initiated prosecution action against Fair& Lovely Cosmetic products like Fair & Lovely Multivitamin, Under Eye Serum, Fair & Lovely (Ayurvedic Care), Fair & Lovely Multivitamin 50g by seizing/sealing the stock of these products from the leading dealers throughout the state.

But no action will be taken finally. That is what we note in India for the last 60 years
Another news: J & J: 4-11-2013: Times of India mentions about a defective implant sold by Johnson & Johnson. They have to pay huge compensation in US. About 250 plus Indians have also gone for that implant. Who will fight for them? Perhaps nobody.


8. Misleading the Public  I   Scientific Distortions

New Fair & Lovely Multivitamin cream is enriched with a revolutionary Biovita complex - a combination of Vitamin B3, B6, C and E. The Biovita term is misused to present a larger than life picture to the Public

Can the facial skin convert these 'biovitamins', say in 30 minutes, in a way beneficial for 'fairness'? There is no medical evidence.  [The argument Lever levelled against Colgate before the MRTPC]

9. Niacin - over claim /unproven claim

The Skin produces, Melanin, a black pigment, as a protection against Sunlight. The Vitamin B 3 / Niacin has the ability to disperse melanin in water. It means that Fair & Lovely is only cleaner cream for the accumulated melanin / blackness during the day.

Secondly Niacin / all B complex vitamins are soluble in water. So the moment, water is applied on the face, Niacin gets dissolved and with it, the transient effect of Fair & Lovely cream - impact, if any, limited from one wash to another.


Niacin has therapeutic use in dermatitis, dementia and diarrhea as per check at Mayo Clinic and Medicine plus sites on 15th Jan 2012. Niacin term is overblown to mislead the public. Its ability as fairness enhancer lacks medical proofs. It is not an Ayurvedic ingredient. So the product label is suspicious.

In 1998, Lever argued before MRTPC against Colgate that 'there is no published evidence of efficacy of Xylitol in the absence of Fluoride'.

Where is the published evidence for Niacin as fairness enhancer?  Lever does not provide that / None!

10. Twisting analytical tests

Shiva Analyticals (India) Ltd., Bangalore and Hall Analytical Laboratories Ltd., United Kingdom have only analysed the individual ingredients of Fair & Lovely. I do not think that Analytical Laboratories can check the combination or mixture of ingredients. Further they are not equipped to test the safety of a finished product.

These Analytical Laboratories have only certified that Fair & Lovely does not contain any harmful ingredient / chemical. It is not a test for the efficacy of the product. To present it otherwise / indicate something more or differently, is unwarranted


11. Water Paint

Titanium Dioxide it is the strongest white pigment - 6 times stronger than Zinc Oxide and over 15 times stronger than lime / white wash, as per my recollection of covering capacity. The commercial production of Titanium Dioxide started after 1915. So, its inclusion undermines the claim for 'Ayurvedic' label.

About 5% Titanium Dioxide is now in F & L Cream. Will not Titanium give whiteness? To give a common example, the white plastic bucket that we use at home may have about 5 to 7% Titanium. [Normally 25% master batch / white coloured polythene granules may be used. The white master batches have 20-25% pigmentation. 25% of 20% is equal to 5% pigmentation]   Hence, the whiteness is largely due to the pigment.

The formulation is like a water washable white paint that school kids use - a transient effect product, reinforced with white pigment.

12. Impact unsupported by Market Reality

The impact is temporary is admitted by the Company. Refer point 2 above.

If an Indian woman has used it for a year or more on the face, what should be the result? She would have had a White / European face and a normal wheatish / brown body. Simple Common Sense, is it not?  No Newspaper, TV has reported so far about such a comic looking person.

Even BBC, CNN, Nature, the Science Journal and Vogue would have splashed the news across the World. Hindustan Lever would have got the Noble Prize for this novel break through. No such thing has happened so far in the last 35 plus years. It means only one thing. Fair & Lovely is still an Unproven  product

14-1-2012. Virat Kohli is the model. Fair and Lovely is the Maximum 2 x whitener was perhaps the TV advertisement on Sony. When fairness itself is questionable, whitener is a reckless hyperbolic nonsense. Virat Kohli is now a famous, established cricketer. He can be seen on TV. Has his colour changed / turned fair? No

13. Cheap immoral traps - one more example

Aditya TV Channel [Tamil Comedy channel], Saturday, 25th May 2013: 2034 hours

Lever's Advertisement for Fairness Cream / the model states that Fair & Lovely is superior to the Cream priced at Rs 300: and if anybody can prove it otherwise, there is a bet / prize of Rs 5 Crores

The other product which is challenged is not named. So, how can anybody prove that the other product is superior or inferior?


Lever cannot prove that. They have one of best equipped Laboratory in India. They have financial and marketing power as 10000 Crores company. Despite these, they are not able to say that their F&L is superior to Competitor's product X.

It is obvious that they have no intention of paying anyone even Thousand Rupees leave alone 5 Crores. It is cheap, deceptive way to entice new buyers and nothing more.

The maker of the Rs 300 cream cannot challenge / would delay challenging because it would give undue publicity to Lever initially and also raise a doubt amongst the public if the battle prolongs even outside of the court. And the litigation may prolong for a few years - refer unfair practices page. This is not the first time that Lever has indulged in meaningless challenges. Some years back they tried to take on with Garnier's No Mark cream without naming it. Garnier is the brand of L'oreal. Lever withdrew the advertisement promptly when L'oreal made its objections clear in a way that Lever could grasp - I noticed only one advertisement in Times of India and that was the end


14. Promoting Racism?

Discrimination on the basis of Skin Colour is against the Constitution of India. They are fooling the ladies with a transient benefit. Ms Brinda Karat of CPM raised objections against some advertisements of HUL. Likewise, Shri Ravi Shanker Prasad of BJP took some action against some advertisements. 8 to 10 years have passed since then.


Has Lever corrected? No! Has Media reacted? No!
If there be any error or oversight so far, kindly let me know. It can be corrected


Some effective steps

If I were the President of India or Chief Justice of India, I would forthwith consider jailing the Executive Chairman of Hindustan Unilever and also canceling the manufacturing licenses and sales of their inferior toilet bars and Fair & Lovely.

They would be asked to release on TV and in Print Media, twice the number of truthful advertisements for every 'wrong / suppressed / factually incorrect or misleading advertisements released in 2011. The affected Public will be asked to file a Class action against them for punitive damages.

'This injury caused to the public in general can hardly be compensated in terms of money, as the feeling of being duped cannot be evaluated in monetary terms'. This sentence is from a Supreme Court Ruling used by MRTPC against Hindustan Lever, when they made a false claim for Pepsodent [refer unfair practices]


What is the safeguard for the Public? You have one power. No Company has the might to fight bad publicity. Use it.

Proof? Anna made the Government to listen.


Errors and Omissions exempted.  If there be any unwanted oversights, mistake in content or suggestions for improvements,  kindly let me know
swapna hair Enricher/ saver, Cocolite, Silvershine, Autoshine and  Metashine are our brand names
Personal website of R. Ranganathan M.Sc., [ MBA - IIMA]    Main / original content: around 2000: last minor modification:  May 5, 2017