Unilever to remove the word 'normal' from beauty packaging

Consumer goods company is championing new era of beauty that’s inclusive, equitable and sustainable
Shutterstock/Michael D Edwards

As part of its new Positive Beauty vision and strategy, Unilever will remove the word “normal” from its global beauty and personal care brands’ packaging and advertising. The move is one of several commitments the multinational consumer goods company is making to champion a new era of beauty that’s inclusive, equitable and sustainable for the planet.

“With 1 billion people using our beauty and personal care products every day, and even more seeing our advertising, our brands have the power to make a real difference to people’s lives,” said Sunny Jain, president of Unilever Beauty & Personal Care. “As part of this, we are committed to tackling harmful norms and stereotypes and shaping a broader, far more inclusive definition of beauty.”

The decision to remove "normal" is one of many steps Unilever is taking to challenge narrow beauty ideals. It comes as new research into people’s experiences with the beauty industry reveals that using “normal” to describe hair or skin makes most people feel excluded.

In the new survey of 10,000 people across nine countries (United States, Brazil, United Kingdom, Nigeria, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, India, Indonesia and China), seven in 10 said the word “normal” on beauty product packaging had a negative effect on people. This figure rises to eight in 10 among people 18 to 35.

Other survey findings included:

  • More than seven in 10 said the beauty and personal care industry must broaden its definition of beauty.

  • Six in 10 said the industry creates a singular ideal of who or what is “normal,” and that made them feel they should look a certain way.

  • 74% said they wanted to see the beauty and personal care industry focusing more on making people feel better rather than just look better.

Participants also indicated they wanted to see a more inclusive range of people reflected by beauty and personal care brands, including people of various body types, people from different age groups, people from different ethnicities and those from the LGBTQIA+ community.

“We know that removing ‘normal’ from our products and packaging will not fix the problem alone, but it is an important step forward,” said Jain. “It’s just one of a number of actions we are taking as part of our Positive Beauty vision, which aims not only to do less harm, but more good for both people and the planet."

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