Unilever to challenge ‘narrow’ beauty ideals through packaging change

Image: Unilever

UNILEVER has launched a new initiative which it says will ‘champion’ a new era of beauty which is equitable and inclusive.

The move will see the company remove the word ‘normal’ from all of its beauty and personal care brands’ packaging to challenge ‘narrow’ beauty ideals, end discrimination and deliver what it says will be a superior product experience.

It follows a global research study into people’s experiences of the beauty industry, which found that using the term ‘normal’ to describe hair or skin makes most people feel excluded.

The 10,000 person study, which was commissioned by Unilever, was conducted across nine countries. The key findings were:

  • More than half of people (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, than just looking better (74%).
  • More than half of people (52%) say they now pay more attention to a company’s stance on societal issues before buying products.
  • 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 of beauty & personal care at Unilever, 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.

“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 said it will not digitally alter a person’s body shape, size, proportion or skin colour in its brand advertising, and will increase the number of advertisements portraying people from diverse groups who are under-represented.