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Unpacking the difference between brightening vs. lightening skincare

At Oleon Health and Beauty, we know that consumer priorities around beauty and personal care solutions will continue to shift and evolve. To stay relevant, brands should not be afraid to disrupt the status quo, relook at traditional beauty standards, and create a space that acknowledges our differences.

When it comes to new product development, we see this in action. Formulations and marketing campaigns focus on gender neutrality and body positivity and the development of highly functional and premium products at accessible price points.

Further driving change is a renewed focus on language and sensitivity around terminology to avoid prejudice and bias. This will allow the sector to be more inclusive, enabling open and honest discussions around negatively perceived product terminology.

Two terms under scrutiny are ‘lightening’ and ‘brightening.’ For most brands, the term ‘lightening’ can point to colorism, which is also referred to as skin tone discrimination in the trade.  

According to an article in VeryWell Mind, an online platform dedicated to mental health, colorism is the practice of favoring lighter skin over darker skin. The preference for lighter skin can be seen within any racial or ethnic background and is often used to judge or determine someone’s character and value to society.1

The beauty, cosmetic, and personal care industries are continually being challenged on this front and are now playing an important part in changing the narrative and addressing products and practices that suffocate, stigmatize, and diminish consumers of all race groups.

At Oleon Health and Beauty, we support and champion honest and illuminating conversations around these important topics and how they relate to product development in the future. We furthermore support rooting out archaic terminology, and old belief systems that could result in unhealthy skin care practices.

We believe that using the right ingredients and specialty chemicals in your product formulations can result in skincare solutions for a brighter glow, increasing radiance and vibrancy by maintaining hydration, eliminating the build-up of dead skin, repairing the skin barrier, and protecting the skin from environmental damage across all demographics.4

How Oleon Health and Beauty can assist

We believe in creating unique beauty and skincare solutions that can assist consumers in their skin-brightening journey to meet all safety, regulatory, and labeling requirements without bias and negative inference.

To let skin shine brighter and more radiant, our headline ingredient, Jolee® 7181 can assist, offering a heavy emollient boost with film-forming properties that can protect the skin from water loss. If you are looking to formulate products that can lock in hydration and impact a healthy skin barrier our Radionol 4710, a 100% vegetable-based product, is a smart choice – acting as a fantastic humectant and skin conditioning agent.

Last, but so important for healthy skin is sun protection. One of the biggest challenges during the formulation of sun care products is the expectation that the active ingredient remains on the skin, even after water exposure or perspiration. The good news is that creating a water-oil-water emulsion (WOW) with Jolee® 7777 will improve film forming properties and water resistance of your formulation compared to a regular oil-water (OW) emulsion!

At Oleon Health and Beauty, we know that it can be challenging to keep on top of all the latest trends and requirements. Partnering with an ingredient supplier that understands these requirements will bring you a step closer to achieving your company’s goals as an inclusive and modern brand.

For more information on how to develop brightening skincare products using our hydrating and humectant solutions, contact our Health and Beauty team today.



1. Reece RL. Genesis of U.S. Colorism and Skin Tone Stratification: Slavery, Freedom, and Mulatto-Black Occupational Inequality in the Late 19th Century. Rev Black Polit Econ. 2018;45(1):3-21. doi:10.1177/0034644618770761

2.Gilani, Sana (17 January 2017). "Did You Know? BBC has declared Pakistani 'whitening 1creams' POISONOUS". Daily Pakistan.

3. What Is "Skin Brightening," Exactly? (skincarebyalana.com)

4. What is the difference between brightening and lightening skincare products? | Vogue India

Green Chemistry is the heart of our company. We use bio-based materials to supply our customers with the most environment-friendly and safe products.

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