CVS Vows To Stop Retouching Photos On All Its Beauty Marketing

On Monday, pharmaceutical giant CVS announced that by April 2019 it will ban the use of photo manipulation in images used to market its beauty products. Not only will the ban affect CVS’ own brand, but it will impact other companies’ marketing, too. By the end of 2020, if any of the brands CVS carries in-store or online insist on using altered images to market to CVS consumers, the store will label the photographs “modified.”

Helena Foulkes, president of CVS, made it clear that the change was part of CVS’ focus on better health. “We have a responsibility to think about the messages we send to the customers we reach each day,” Foulkes said in a statement. She continued:

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.

In today’s world, people know that digital alteration is a reality — but that doesn’t stop them from suffering lower self-esteem and a whole host of negative side effects when they’re constantly surrounded by doctored images. Fortunately, companies are responding, like when Target declined to use airbrushing on their 20017 swimwear campaign.

To see what kind of change CVS plans to make, you only need to take a look at a regular photo below, compared to a digitally altered one:

In addition to their own beauty products, CVS is also home to multiple big brands, including L’Oreal Paris, Maybelline New York, CoverGirl and Revlon. But Foulkes doesn’t foresee any issues arising with CVS’ suppliers due to its new airbrushing ban.

“We’ve reached out to many of our beauty brand partners, many of whom are already thinking about this important issue, to work together to ensure that the beauty aisle is a place that represents and celebrates the authenticity and diversity of the communities we serve,” Foulkes said in a statement. “We’ve been inspired by their willingness to partner with us to redefine industry standards around this important issue for the well-being of all of our customers.”

Here’s a huge round of applause for CVS, for leading the way in becoming more transparent and standing for authenticity — because no little girl should grow up looking up to unrealistic ideals.