Maker of Dove soap will drop word ‘normal’ from its beauty products

The company that owns Dove soap and other beauty products announced that it would no longer use the word “normal” on its products or in any of its advertising.

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Unilever, a London-based company that owns Dove, Vaseline, Axe and Sunsilk, said in a news release on Tuesday that it will drop the word after a study revealed that it made most people feel excluded, The New York Times reported.

The company also promised to increase the number of ads featuring underrepresented people, the newspaper reported.

“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,” Unilever said in its release. “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 company said it commissioned a 10,000-person study across nine countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.

Unilever said its study found that 56% of participants, who ranged in age from 18 to 35 years old, thought that the beauty industry could make people feel excluded, the Times reported.

The changes were “completely necessary” after Black Lives Matter demonstrations last year, Ateh Jewel, a beauty journalist and an advisory board member of the British Beauty Council, told the Times.

“Saying the word ‘normal’ has been used to set you apart,” Jewel told the newspaper. “I am normal. My dark skin is normal. My juicy West African curvy body is normal. Everything about me is normal.”

Unilever also plans to build a more inclusive selection of products, educational initiatives to improve health and well-being and push for a global ban on animal testing for cosmetics by 2023, USA Today reported.

“With 1 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,” Sunny Jain, Unilever’s president of beauty and personal care, said in a statement. “As part of this, we are committed to tackling harmful norms and stereotypes and shaping a broader, far more inclusive definition of beauty.