CVS Says It Will Stop Retouching Photos Used to Sell Beauty Products
They're hoping to make beauty aisles more authentic and diverse.
Drugstore behemoth CVS is taking a huge step toward increasing the authenticity of images used to market their beauty products. Starting in April, the company is committing to strict no-Photoshop guidelines for any of their original beauty imagery in stores and on its website, marketing materials, emails, and social media accounts. In fact, all CVS-owned images for their store-brand products will contain a "beauty mark" watermark to show exactly which images are unretouched. (Related: CVS Will No Longer Sell Sun Products Lower Than SPF 15)
"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 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."
What's more, CVS isn't just implementing the initiative with its own marketing. (P.S. CVS also announced it will stop filling some prescriptions for opioid painkillers.) The brand will also be reaching out to partner beauty companies, encouraging them to produce more unretouched content to ensure that the beauty aisle becomes a place that represents authenticity and diversity. Those photos that don't meet the new realistic-beauty guidelines will not have the "beauty mark," making it clear to consumers that they have been retouched in some way.
The conversation about body image and retouched photos is far from "new" news-and CVS isn't the first to try to make a difference on that front. Lingerie brand Aerie has been a huge advocate for unretouched advertising and spearheaded #AerieReal, an advertising movement that shows gorgeous women exactly as they are. Models, celebs, and fitness influencers including Chrissy Teigen, Iskra Lawrence, Ashley Graham, Demi Lovato, and Anna Victoria (to name only a few) have been using social media to share authentic pictures of themselves, making a point about the unattainable need for perfectionism among society. Researchers have even looked into whether adding a disclaimer to photoshopped ads would prevent negative impacts on body image-something we're no strangers to at Shape (fitness stock photos are failing us all, and we've changed the way we talk about women's bodies). This is all part of the many reasons we started the #LoveMyShape movement.
But these things take time. Even though CVS isn't the first to rock the retouching boat, the fact that a massive brand is stepping up to push the much-needed change forward is definitely a step in the right direction.