Many Western beauty and skin care products marketed to Asian customers use the terms “lightening” or “brightening” as euphemisms for whitening – a term that reflects long-standing views about what is considered beautiful. Photo: Shutterstock Many Western beauty and skin care products marketed to Asian customers use the terms “lightening” or “brightening” as euphemisms for whitening – a term that reflects long-standing views about what is considered beautiful. Photo: Shutterstock
Many Western beauty and skin care products marketed to Asian customers use the terms “lightening” or “brightening” as euphemisms for whitening – a term that reflects long-standing views about what is considered beautiful. Photo: Shutterstock

How Western beauty brands play to Asian desire for whiter skin, and the euphemisms they use to avoid appearing racist

  • In Western countries, conversations around race and discrimination based on skin colour have paved the way for more inclusive approaches to beauty
  • When beauty brands sell to Asian markets, their marketing may not outright say ‘whitening’, but that’s what they mean by ‘brightening’ or ‘lightening’

Topic |   Beauty
Many Western beauty and skin care products marketed to Asian customers use the terms “lightening” or “brightening” as euphemisms for whitening – a term that reflects long-standing views about what is considered beautiful. Photo: Shutterstock Many Western beauty and skin care products marketed to Asian customers use the terms “lightening” or “brightening” as euphemisms for whitening – a term that reflects long-standing views about what is considered beautiful. Photo: Shutterstock
Many Western beauty and skin care products marketed to Asian customers use the terms “lightening” or “brightening” as euphemisms for whitening – a term that reflects long-standing views about what is considered beautiful. Photo: Shutterstock
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