The new normal is…there is no normal

The new normal is… there is no normal

If you have a bottle of shampoo labelled as being for “normal” hair, it could soon become a relic of a bygone age.


Normal is a problematic word. What’s normal, and who decides what is? Because the inference, of course, is that if you are not normal, you are somehow deviant. Not usually a positive thing.

READ: World Consumer Rights Day: The Best of Consumerwatch

Remember the Tresemmé furore of last September?

Clicks carried an advert on its website for the made-by-Unilever shampoo, which labelled natural, black hair as, "dry, damaged and frizzy" and a white woman’s hair, "normal and fine”, leading to widespread boycotts of the store.

READ: The big Salt and Vinegar tease

That and similar backlashes around the world have sparked some change. 

More than 100 Unilever brands will replace “normal” with terms such as “grey hair” for shampoos or “moisture replenish” for skin creams by 2022.

This after Unilever commissioned a 10,000-person study across nine countries, including in South Africa.

READ: Nil by Mouth (except water)

Last week, Unilever - owner of the Dove, Lifebuoy Vaseline, and Sunsilk brands, tweeted: “We’re removing the word ‘normal’ from ads, products and packaging across our entire range of beauty and personal care brands, all over the world.”
The company said it will also stop digitally altering the body shapes and skin colour of their models.

Take a listen to what the respondents had to say….

Contact Wendy

Get in touch with Wendy via her website or her Facebook page. Please note that Wendy is not able to personally respond to every email she receives. If she is able to take up your case, she will contact you directly. Here are other avenues for you to consider.

Listen to more podcasts from Wendy Knowler in the Consumerwatch channel below: 

Main image courtesy of iStock

Show's Stories