Unilever cuts ‘normal’ from beauty brand products

By Becky Bargh | Published: 9-Mar-2021

More than 200 skus with the word ‘normal’ have been removed from primarily skin and hair care brands owned by the conglomerate

Unilever, the owner of REN Skincare and Hourglass Cosmetics, has removed the word ‘normal’ from its beauty brands’ packaging and advertising campaigns.

From today, the UK-helmed business will remove the word from more than 200 products, mostly in the skin and hair care category, from across its Dove, Love Beauty & Planet, Vaseline and Shea Moisture brands.

‘Normal’ is expected to be swapped out for an explanation of what a product does; that a product will replenish moisture or help to meet specific needs.

The decision is part of the conglomgerate’s new Positive Beauty vision, which, in a study by Unilever, found using the word ‘normal’ on product packaging had negative connotations, according to 70% of respondents.

Meanwhile, almost 60% of people said that they believe the beauty and personal care industry can make people feel excluded, and more than half of the respondents agreed they are paying attention to a company’s stance on societal issues before buying its products.

“People increasingly expect companies and brands to take a stand on issues they care about most, with brands being perceived as purposeful also growing faster,” Unilever said in a statement shared with Cosmetics Business.

“Within the beauty and personal care industry specifically, we know our consumers are also looking for change.

“We want to communicate what a product does, not who it is for, without the manufactured description of ‘normal’.”

Long-term, Alan Jope’s beauty business hopes to end discrimination witihin the sector, and to be proactive in building a more inclusive sector.

To that end, Unilever has said it will not digitally alter a person’s body shape, size, proportion or skin colour across its brands’ advertising.

The announcement comes a year on from Unilever’s decision to change the name of its Fair & Lovely skin care brand, cutting words such as ‘fair/fairness’, ‘white/whitening’ and ‘light/lightening’.

The renamed brand now focuses on its products’ claims to make ‘skin glow’ with its vitamin-infused formulas.

“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 Jian, President of Unilever’s Beauty & Personal Care division.

“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 people and the planet.”

She added: “With more consumers than ever rewarding brand 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.”

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