Unilever drops word ‘normal’ from beauty products in push for inclusivity

 Consumer products giant Unilever said Tuesday it will drop the word "normal" from its beauty and personal care products in a push to create a "broader, far more inclusive definition of beauty."

The global company also committed to ending excessive photo editing of models featured in ads and on product packaging. This includes ending digital alterations that change a person’s body shape, size, proportions or skin color.

Unilever said it will increase the number of ads "portraying people from diverse, under-represented groups."

"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," said Sunny Jain, president of Unilever Beauty & Personal Care, in a statement. "As part of this, we are committed to tackling harmful norms and stereotypes and shaping a broader, far more inclusive definition of beauty."

FILE - Various personal care product brands owned by Unilever are shown in a file image. (Photo credit: FOX Television Stations)

Unilever is the parent company of more than 400 brands. Some of its beauty and personal care brands include Dove, Pond’s, Simple, St. Ives and Suave. The word "normal" is often used on shampoos, conditioners and face products.

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The company cited a survey of 10,000 respondents from across the world, including participants in the U.S. 

A majority (7 in 10) said that the word "normal" on beauty product packaging has a negative effect on people. The same figure increased to 8 in 10 among those aged 18 to 35. 

The same research found that more than half (56%) said the beauty and personal care industry can make people feel excluded, and 60% said the industry creates a singular ideal of who or what is "normal" — making them feel that they should look a certain way.  

More than 70% of respondents said the industry must broaden its 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," Jain added. 

In June 2020, Unilever said it would remove words such as "fair," "whitening" and "lightening" from its skincare products amid intense global debate about race sparked by the Black Lives Matter movement.

The company also changed the name of a product used for skin-lightening and sold in Asia from "Fair & Lovely" to "Glow & Lovely."

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This story was reported from Cincinnati.