Unilever edit wording on various products as it promotes inclusivity

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Unilever will drop the word “normal” from its beauty products and ban excessive editing of models’ photos in a push for inclusivity.

Dove’s owner said the editing ban would apply to “body shape, size, proportion and skin colour” and “normal” would be removed from 200 products.

Its boss said it wanted to create a “more inclusive definition of beauty”.

The firm has previously faced allegations that it promoted stereotypes around dark skin tones.

The London-based firm, which also owns the Simple and Sure beauty brands, is set to make the changes over the next year. The ban on editing will include photos taken of models as well as social media influencers.

On the change to its marketing strategy, the firm’s president of beauty and personal care products, Sunny Jain, said: “We know that removing ‘normal’ from our products and packaging will not fix the problem alone, but it is an important step forward.”

The word “normal” is typically used on shampoos, conditioners and face products, such as for “normal or oily skin”.

But Roshida Khanom of market research firm Mintel said: “‘Normal’ is such a loaded term because it indicates that there is an ‘abnormal’ and it doesn’t actually describe anything, so it’s about time that the term is dropped.”

“Young people in particular are shifting the conversation – the traditional notions of beauty no longer hold up for Generation Z, who see beauty as accepting and owning your imperfections,” she said.

Instead of the word “normal”, Unilever will use different descriptors for customers looking for particular qualities in their beauty products. Shampoo for “normal to dry” hair, for example, will soon be labelled for “dry and damaged” hair.

Unilever said on Tuesday it would also take a number of other steps in an attempt to promote “a new era of beauty that’s inclusive, equitable and sustainable”.

It committed to increase the number of adverts portraying people from under-represented groups and use more natural and biodegradable ingredients across its range of products.