Unilever Says Bye to ‘Normal’ Beauty

Body positivity - women friends posing together

By Nsi Amah

Photo Credit: Leo Patrizi

On March 9th, Unilever announced that they are now taking the word normal out of their vocabulary to describe beauty. The term normal beauty or normal skin has been used for so long, however, these terms left many consumers feeling excluded. Removing the word normal is great news since it can be interpreted in many ways, including negatively. This decision is part of the brand’s new positive beauty vision and strategy, setting out many commitments and actions for their beauty and personal care brands which include Dove, Lifebuoy, Axe, and Sunsilk, bringing a new era of beauty that is inclusive and sustainable for the planet.

Removing normal is one of the many steps Unilever will take to challenge narrow beauty ideals as they work to end discrimination and advocate for a more inclusive world of beauty. In global research, it has been concluded that using normal to describe hair and skin makes most people feel excluded. And that’s not the goal here. They are working towards the action that everyone deserves attention and care when it comes to the beauty industry.

Unilever conducted a 10,000-person study across nine countries and found that more than half of people in the beauty/personal care industry came to make people feel excluded. People want to see the industry focus more on making people feel better rather than focus on looks. More than 50% of people say they pay more attention to a company’s stance and values before buying products. It is clear from the study that they need to see if a company has good ethics, morals and are inclusive to everyone before they invest.

Along with removing the word normal, Unilever promised to not digitally alter a person’s body shape, size, skin color in its brand advertising. They will also increase the exposure of diverse groups who have not been represented enough in the industry. Unilever knows this is not enough to take a stand in discrimination and inclusion but removing the word will be a good start. It’s good to take steps versus no steps at all. Unilever will also do the work to include many diverse groups in their campaigns. If you want diverse groups to invest in the company, you must invest in them. Every day, consumers are becoming more aware and conscious of who they invest in; their dollar is with every thought.

Sunny Jain, President of Beauty & Personal Care, said: “With one 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. As part of this, we are committed to tackling harmful norms and stereotypes and shaping a broader, far more inclusive definition of beauty. 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. With more consumers than ever rewarding brands which take action on the social and environmental issues they care about, we believe that Positive Beauty will make us a stronger, and more successful business.”

With this in mind, Unilever knows the steps they need to take action through their brands to improve health and well-being to reach 1 billion people per year by 2030. They are helping to protect and regenerate 1.5 million hectares of land, forests, and oceans by 2030. Lastly, they are supporting a global ban on animal testing for cosmetics by 2023. These steps will help the planet be better off and a lot greener. At the end of the day, if the earth is happy, consumers are happy. We appreciate Unilever for taking these steps.


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