Long has the use of language in the marketing of beauty products directly impacted our perception of beauty. But consumer goods giant Unilever is taking a stand.
Unilever has decided to ax the word ‘normal’ from all their beauty and personal care brands in a global movement to make the beauty industry more inclusive.
In Australia, this will affect Dove, Tresseme, Sunsilk, and Simple brands across their ranges, where words like ‘normal’, ‘oily’, ‘dry’ etc. have been used to help consumers pick which product is best for them.
The problem, though, is that what is considered normal differs across individuals, and it’s alienating for those who don’t use products labelled ‘normal’ because it suggests they’re not.
Like what you see? Sign up to our bodyandsoul.com.au newsletter for more stories like this.
“We are committed to tackling harmful norms and stereotypes and shaping a broader, far more inclusive definition of beauty,” says Sunny Jain, president of Unilever beauty and personal care.
“We know that removing ‘normal’ from our products and packaging will not fix the problem alone, but it is an important step forward. 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.”
The change comes off the back of a survey conducted of 10,000 people across nine countries, where 70 percent said the word ‘normal’ on beauty product packaging had a negative effect on people.
This sentiment is shared by an even higher percentage, 80 percent, among 18–35-year-olds.
60 percent said they believed the beauty and personal care industry creates a singular ideal of who or what is ‘normal’ and that made them feel like they should look a certain way.
Unilever has also committed to ending all digital retouching of advertisements and portraying more people from diverse backgrounds and under-represented groups.