CVS Promises to Stop Using Photoshopped Images in Its Beauty Aisle

The company is committed to using more realistic beauty imagery.

CVS Beauty Ad before and after Photoshop
Photo: CVS

When you walk down the beauty aisle at the drugstore, you’ll find Photoshopped images of woman everywhere—on the store displays, on product packaging, on ads. To break from the unrealistic standards set by most of the beauty industry, CVS announced yesterday that, starting in April 2018, it will stop altering the beauty imagery it creates for its stores, marketing materials, websites, apps, and social media. And by the end of 2020, the retailer vows to have complete transparency in its beauty section.

To help support the initiative, CVS is introducing the CVS Beauty Mark, a watermark that will appear on all images that have not been altered. The retailer will also be working with its partners to make sure that all images that have been altered in post-production will be labeled as such. While CVS can’t guarantee that all of its partners will stop Photoshopping their images, they can use labels to let consumers know that what they’re seeing is an unrealistic, and perhaps unattainable, representation.

In the company’s press release, the retailer cited some statistics that influenced the decision, including that two out of three woman agree that the media has set an unrealistic standard of beauty. CVS also noted that 80 percent of woman feel worse about themselves after seeing a beauty ad. “We want our beauty aisle to be a place where our customers can always come to feel good,” the company said in the press release. And changing the imagery in this aisle is one important step toward achieving this goal.

“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,” said Helena Foulkes, president of CVS Pharmacy and the executive vice president of CVS Health, in a statement. “The connection between the propagation of unrealistic body images and negative health effects, especially in girls and young women, has been established. As a purpose-led company, we strive to do our best to assure all of the messages we are sending to our customers reflect our purpose of helping people on their path to better health.”

With this decision, CVS is joining a small group of other brands, such as Aerie and ModCloth, that have made similar commitments to more realistic photography and not using Photoshop on their models.

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