London-based beauty firm Unilever will no longer use “normal” as a descriptor in its hair and skin products.
Unilever owns several popular beauty brands, including Dove, Love Beauty and Planet, Axe and Clear haircare. The company announced that over 200 products will no longer use the word “normal” in order to create a more “inclusive definition of beauty.” Additionally, Unilever is banning the use of “excessive editing” in the model photos featured on its products.
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“Six in ten people say the beauty industry creates a singular ideal of who or what is ‘normal,” and that makes them feel they should look a certain way,” Unilever tweeted.
The word “normal” is typically used on shampoos, conditioners and face products as a descriptor for customers looking for certain product types. For example, conditioners for “normal to dry hair” will now be labeled as for “dry and damaged hair.”
The firm’s president of beauty and personal care products, Sunny Jain, said in a statement: “We know that removing ‘normal’ from our products and packaging will not fix the problem alone, but it is an important step forward.”
Speaking to the BBC, market researcher Roshida Khanom agreed that “normal” is a “loaded term” because it implies that anything else is “abnormal.” Khanom also brought up Gen Z — the largest and most influential demographic for beauty products — as a group that is rejecting the “traditional notions of beauty.”
Social media seemed divided over whether this was a step forward or an unnecessary move.
“Makes sense in a worldwide cosmetics/personal products market — there will be very few cases where there is a universal ‘normal’ so it seems an entirely logical move, although no doubt it won’t be seen that way by some,” one Twitter user wrote.
“They must not want my business, because I’m normal,” another added. “NORMAL.”
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