Finally, real skin is in.
Advertisement

It only takes one stroll through Sephora (or a scroll through Instagram) to be inundated with a plethora of retouched images. For most beauty brands and retailers, natural skin is still very much taboo. Faces and bodies are smoothed, slimmed, and tweaked to look impossibly "flawless," conveying a false beauty ideal to women and men everywhere. 

Here's my two cents on the issue: scars, acne, freckles, and cellulite are completely normal and should be portrayed that way. There's nothing more refreshing than seeing a model who actually looks like...you. Since the majority of beauty and fashion brands don't do this often enough (ahem), we want to commend the few who strive to normalize authentic beauty by not retouching their models. Here's to hoping more brands follow suit.

1 CVS

If you were to step into a CVS store, you might notice a familiar symbol pervading the beauty aisle. As part of the CVS Beauty Unaltered campaign, CVS implements a special mark for any images that aren't altered—and promise to be 100 percent honest about the ones that are. The first brands to go au naturel in the stores' ads have been Revlon, Covergirl, and Neutrogena. By providing transparency to customers, the mass drugstore hopes to encourage realism in beauty marketing.

2 Dove

Dove's mantra, "Beauty is for everyone," really rings true in its marketing. The Dove Beauty Pledge consists of three vows: 1. The brand will always feature real women, never models (with diverse ages, sizes, and ethnicities in mind); 2. The brand portrays women as they are in real life (there is zero digital distortion of women and every image is approved by the women featured); 3. The brand funds the Dove Self-Esteem Project, a community of mentors, teachers, and educators that help young girls bolster confidence. 

3 Olay

In February 2020, Olay announced it is officially committed to "zero skin retouching" in all of its advertising materials, including content created by Olay's influencer partners. In a statement, the brand admits that women face outrageous, and often conflicting, expectations about their appearance from the beauty industry and society as a whole: "In the U.S., 40 percent of women surveyed by Mintel said they felt beauty advertisements impart an unrealistic expectation, making it unclear what was actually achievable." Olay's campaign to leave photos untouched will be led by actor Busy Philipps, model Denise Bidot, and comedian Lilly Singh. Going forward, the company's advertisements will be paired with an Olay Skin Promise logo, assuring customers that the photo is sans Photoshop. This rolling plan is expected to culminate across the entire brand by 2021.

4 SPKTRM Beauty

Founded in 2018 by Jasmine Glass, Annaliisa Benston, and Ehlie Luna, SPKTRM Beauty is the first beauty brand to ban model retouching entirely. Its mission: to throw all unrealistic beauty standards and limitations out the window. Upon its initial launch, the brand promised to never digitally alter the appearance of its models and present their products on a gender-inclusive cast of models in order to reveal how well the products work on everyone.

5 Fenty

We can all agree that Rihanna is a pioneer, but what deserves the most applause is probably the level of inclusivity she's delivered to the beauty landscape with her iconic Fenty Beauty brand. Although the company hasn't wiped out Photoshop from its social feed, it has started to release more untouched images when showcasing the Fenty Beauty collection, including one in which a model's facial scars were visible.