Unilever has announced it will eliminate the word ‘normal’ from all of its beauty and personal care brands’ packaging and advertising.

This decision, which concerns brands such as Dove, Lifebuoy, Axe and Sunsilk, is an important step “towards a more equitable and inclusive, as well as sustainable for the planet, vision of beauty, said the company.

Actually, a 10,000-person study, conducted across nine countries [1] found that seven in ten people agree that using the word ‘normal’ on product packaging and advertising has a negative impact. For younger people – those aged 18-35 – this rises to eight in ten.

More generally, the research, which was commissioned by Unilever, shows how much the beauty industry seems stuck in a narrow-minded vision of beauty:

- More than half of people (56%) think that the beauty and personal care industry can make people feel excluded.
- More than seven in ten say the beauty and personal care industry needs to broaden its definition of beauty.
- People want to see the beauty and personal care industry focusing more on making people feel better, than just looking better (74%).
- More than half of people (52%) say they now pay more attention to a company’s stance on societal issues before buying products.

We know that removing ‘normal’ from our products and packaging will not fix the problem alone, but it is an important step forward,” said Sunny Jain, President Beauty & Personal Care at Unilever.

In addition to removing the word ‘normal’, Unilever will not digitally alter a person’s body shape, size, proportion or skin colour in its brand advertising, and will increase the number of advertisements portraying people from diverse groups who are under-represented.

Last year, due to criticism related to the promotion of fair complexion as a benchmark of beauty, Unilever decided to change the name of its Fair & Lovely brand to Glow & Lovely.