Unilever Will Move to Exclude the Word ‘Normal’ from All Beauty Products

Mike Mozart via Flickr

What exactly does it mean when a brand uses the word “normal” on its products? Is there really such a thing as “normal“? We’re all different, and we shouldn’t necessarily be trying to strive to achieve some sort of marketing version of the word “normal.”

London-based beauty products giant Unilever conducted a poll in which about 10,000 people around the world participated. The poll sought to find out what people really thought about the word “normal” being used to promote beauty products. More than half the respondents thought that using the word “normal” would make some people feel excluded. Meanwhile, 70% of respondents thought using the word “normal” would actually have a negative impact on advertising.

Unilever currently uses the word “normal” on many of its hair care and skin care products, but that is about to change. The company, which is known for its Dove and TRESemmé branded products in the United States, has announced that it will no longer use the word “normal.” Instead, hair care products will be advertised with words like “grey hair,” and skin care products will be advertised with words like “moisture replenish.” These changes are expected to be complete by March 2022, one year from now.

Sunny Jain is Unilever’s president of beauty and personal care division. Jane explained to Reuters, “We know that removing ‘normal’ alone will not fix the problem, but we believe it is an important step towards a more inclusive definition of beauty.”
This isn’t the first time Unilever has modified its branding to avoid making people feel excluded or feel like something was wrong with their hair or skin just because it didn’t fit the company’s view of “normal.” For example, in India, in an attempt to avoid sounding like they were saying something was wrong with darker-colored skin, Unilever changed the name of a skin lightening product from “Fair & Lovely” to “Glow & Lovely.”

In 2018, Unilever stopped modifying the skin tone and body shape and size of the models for its Dove brand. Now, Unilever has announced that it will stop making these modifications across all of its brands.

Do you think removing the word “normal” will make Unilever’s hair and skin care products seem more inclusive? Do you think the word “normal” is offensive or makes some people feel excluded? Did you know that Unilever was altering the skin tone and body shape of the models for most of its brands?