Thursday, April 10, 2014

L’Oreal is a Hit. Suave is a Miss.

Based on the title of this post, you might think this a review of beauty products.  Trust me: I’m the last guy from whom you want to receive such information.  I care for what little hair I have left with dandruff shampoo and a ball cap.  My skin care products consist of bar soap, shaving balm and sunscreen.  I recommend reading Pretty in Pale if you’re truly interested in beauty care with a melanoma theme.  What I can share here are two drastically different ad campaigns regarding your skin.

L’Oreal Paris recently joined with the Melanoma Research Alliance in launching a new campaign called “It’s THAT Worth it.”  It’s all about raising melanoma awareness, and it does a great job reminding people to wear sunscreen, no matter the skin tone.  Lea Michele of Glee mentions that we’ve learned not to text while driving and not to smoke, and now it’s important to “never forget our sunscreen regardless of our age or skin type.”  Eva Longoria, Diane Keaton, Aimee Mullins and L’Oreal Paris Executive Danielle Macaluso (a melanoma survivor) all chime in with their advice and encourage us to log on to to participate in what they call the Thunderclap.

To participate, simply go to the aforementioned website and register your Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr account.  At 5:00PM on May 20, a simultaneous message (the Thunderclap) will be sent from all registered accounts to all friends, followers and contacts to remind them of sun safety and melanoma awareness.  For each person that registers (or purchases a L’Oreal Advanced Sun Care Product), L’Oreal Paris will donate one dollar to the Melanoma Research Alliance…up to $250,000.  I’ve registered my Facebook and Twitter accounts, so I know a few hundred people will receive my message!

Here’s the video:

And then there’s Suave.  They introduced their new Suave Professionals Visible Glow Self-Tanning Body Lotion with a “catchy” new index called the SFP Index…which stands for “So Freaking Pale.”  This index is a “not so serious scale” to see where one’s skin tone may fall…whether it be considered ghostly or glamorous.  The “not so serious” index has created a serious backlash.  Suave states at the beginning of the ad that being pale “can be a bit of a problem.”   

Here’s their video:

I personally think it’s best to embrace one’s own natural skin tone, whether it be snow white or deep dark….as long as it’s your own skin tone.  However, if one must make oneself appear darker or tanner, a self-tanner or spray tan is an acceptable alternative to tanning.  In that regard, I have no problem with the product being advertised.  What I have a problem with is that the image of paler people, especially girls, is being bashed.  My daughter is 11 years old, going on 21.  I try to instill self confidence in her every day as she enters these strange and cruel years.  I do NOT need some smarmy “not so serious” company striking down my little girl’s self-image because her daddy happened to encourage her to wear sunscreen all her life in order to protect her skin.

Despite my hesitation to do so, I read the comments after this video in YouTube.  Here’s a sample:

“I find this commercial extremely offensive.  I love my FAIR skin and get told on a daily basis by complete strangers how beautiful it is. Just imagine if this were a bleaching product telling women, “For some, dark skin can be a bit of a problem.”  Now that would be considered racist and unacceptable.  Girls shouldn’t have to change themselves.”

“This is deplorable.  As a melanoma survivor (at age 19) and the mother of two beautiful, healthy fair-complected girls, I am sickened and offended by this ad.  You need to look up the “Go with Your Own Glow” campaign and take some pointers from the Skin Cancer Foundation.”

There have been tweets opposing this ad from the Melanoma ResearchFoundation, The David Cornfield Melanoma Foundation, and countless people from the melanoma community. 

Two companies with very different messages.  Certainly L’Oreal Paris sells their own version of self-tanners, but they’ve taken the higher road with this campaign so close to Skin Cancer and Melanoma Awareness Month.  The motto on their website reads, “Protect your skin.  Protect you beauty.  Protect your life.”  Suave seems very proud of their index… “So Freaking Pale.”  The comparison between these statements alone speaks volumes.

Shame on you, Suave.  Thank you L’Oreal Paris.


  1. Standing ovation! Thanks for writing the blog post I was thinking but couldn't get finished!

  2. Great job. I'm one of the Melanoma community who have tweeted Suave about my disgust towards their campaign. Plae is beautiful

  3. That is an outright insult and discrimination on one's skin type. SFP,huh? They must have felt freaking proud when they finally come up with this messed up million dollar idea! What insane mind would have thought of that tagline? I'll definitely share this video to all of my friends. They just doomed their company by their "Super Freaking Phrase".