CVS Just Made A Major Change To Its Beauty Aisles & You're Going To Love It

by Collette Reitz

Airbrushing and Photoshop are open secrets in the beauty industry by now. Countless actresses and models have posted enough side-by-side photos illustrating the differences between original and enhanced images that you likely already know that what you see in magazines isn't 100 percent real. That doesn't stop you from wondering why altered images would be the industry standard when it comes to selling beauty products to real people. It turns out that you're not the only one questioning the practice, and now the CVS Photoshop ban is making a significant upgrade in the beauty aisle.

The initiative known as "CVS Beauty Mark" was announced by the brand on Monday, Jan. 15. The aptly-named initiative refers to its new practice of marking images that have not been "materially altered" with a heart-shaped watermark, according to a CVS Pharmacy press release. For the purposes of the CVS Beauty Mark, "materially altered is defined as changing or enhancing a person's shape, size, proportion, skin or eye color, wrinkles, or any other individual characteristics." Good on you, CVS!

This is all part of CVS Pharmacy's effort to introduce "new standards for post-production alterations of beauty imagery." These "new standards" sound a lot like "keep it natural," and that is refreshingly awesome.

The images affected by this (very welcome) new philosophy of beauty advertising will include those that are created for the website, CVS Pharmacy stores, social media, and marketing materials. The change is taking effect in 2018 on some CVS Pharmacy-produced beauty images, and the chain's hope is that by 2020, every image in the beauty aisle will reflect the transparency of the CVS Beauty Mark. Considering CVS offers practically every mainstream beauty brand shoppers could ever want, the significance of this movement can't be underestimated.

Below is an example of a non-materially altered image; the right photo is designated as such with a heart-shaped CVS Beauty Mark, and a digitally-altered version of the image is on the left.

CVS Pharmacy

I'd buy whatever beauty product the CVS Beauty Mark image on the right is selling, TBH.

Helena Foulkes is the president of CVS Pharmacy, and she expressed the responsibility she feels for her customers. She said:

As a woman, mother and president of a retail business whose customers predominantly are women, I realize we have a responsibility to think about the messages we send to the customers we reach each day.

Furthermore, Foulkes seemed to understand the disconnect and possibly negative effects of current advertising methods. She shared:

The connection between the propagation of unrealistic body images and negative health effects, especially in girls and young women, has been established.

In order to right the ship, Foulkes continued on saying that CVS Pharmacy has a "purpose of helping people on their path to better health."

With the CVS Beauty Mark initiative, CVS Pharmacy is hoping to jumpstart a positive change when it comes to transparency in the beauty world. It is beginning with the CVS Beauty Mark to help customers understand and truly see the difference between "authentic and materially altered imagery." To make this reach as far as possible, CVS Pharmacy plans to work with its key brand partners, along with experts in the beauty industry, to "develop specific guidelines in an effort to ensure consistency and transparency."

Speaking to this, Foulkes shares that after speaking with some of the brand partners, she's realized that the goal is "to ensure that the beauty aisle is a place that represents and celebrates the authenticity and diversity of the communities we serve."

With the introduction of the CVS Beauty Mark, CVS Pharmacy is definitely on the right track to helping customers shop the beauty aisle while still remaining their authentic selves. Nothing pairs better with a buy-one-get-one deal like true self-confidence.