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Unilever to ban photo-editing and use of word "normal" in beauty ads

Gaelle Walker
09 March 2021

Unilever is to ban photo-editing of models and remove the word “normal” from its beauty product advertising as part of the launch of a new Positive Beauty strategy.

The move, from the Dove and Sure brand manufacturer, follows one of the largest global studies ever conducted by Unilever Beauty & Personal Care - which revealed that the beauty industry often made “people feel excluded.”

According to the study, two thirds of people in the UK said that the beauty and personal care industry made certain people feel excluded, while 43% said the beauty industry was “only for some."

A further 69% of UK people also said that the beauty industry was guilty of pressurising people into thinking that they needed to look a certain way - contributing to narrow beauty ideals.

In addition, 59% of UK people said that use of the word "normal" on beauty product packaging and in advertising had a negative impact - with less than a third of people describing their skin as “normal”, and even fewer describing their hair as “normal” .

Unilever president of beauty and personal care Sunny Jain 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.”

Unilever also vowed to end “any digital alteration to change a person’s body shape, size, proportion or skin colour, across all advertising material,” including influencers paid by the company to promote products.

The manufacturer also committed to increase the number of advertisements portraying people from diverse groups.

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