Dove Soap will drop the word ‘normal’ from beauty products

March 10, 2021

Unilever–which produces and markets Dove, Lifebuoy, Axe, and Sunsilk—has announced that it will eliminate the word ‘normal’ from all of its beauty and personal care brands’ packaging and advertising, as part of the launch of the London-based company’s new Positive Beauty vision and strategy.

In a press release, Unileaver said, “The decision to remove ‘normal’ is one of many steps that we are taking to challenge narrow beauty ideals, as we work towards helping to end discrimination and advocating for a more inclusive vision of beauty. It comes as global research into people’s experiences of the beauty industry reveals that using ‘normal’ to describe hair or skin makes most people feel excluded.

The research team conducted a 10,000-person study, which was commissioned by Unilever, and was conducted across nine countries. Among the findings are the following:

  • More than half of respondents (56%) think that the beauty and personal care industry can make people feel excluded;
  • People want to see the beauty and personal care industry focusing more on making people feel better, rather han just looking better (74%);
  • More than half of respondents (52%) say they now pay more attention to a company’s stance on societal issues before buying products; and
  • Seven in ten people agree that using the word ‘normal’ on product packaging and advertising has a negative impact. For younger people—those aged 18-35—this rises to eight in ten.

Sunny Jain, president, 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.”

He added. “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.”

In addition to removing the word “normal,” Unilever will not digitally alter a person’s body shape, size, proportion or skin color in its brand advertising, and will increase the number of advertisements portraying people from diverse groups who are under-represented.

Research contact: @unileverusa

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