CVS Takes A Stand Against Airbrushing

Photo by Studio Firma

CVS, the nation's largest drugstore franchise, announced yesterday it will limit the use of airbrushing in ads for its beauty products. By 2020, the retailer that ended sales of tobacco in 2014 and last year took steps toward curbing access to addictive opioids, will put an end to "materially" retouching models, which can include changing or enhancing a person’s shape, size, proportion, skin or eye color, or wrinkles.

The announcement comes as a groundswell of support for feminist movements #MeToo and Time's Up builds to a crescendo. "The connection between the propagation of unrealistic body images and negative health effects, especially in girls and young women, has been established," said Helen Foulkes, President of CVS Pharmacy and Executive Vice President, CVS Health, in a press release. "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."

The drugstore chain will add a seal, which they're calling a Beauty Mark, to images that have not been substantially retouched, and will label those that have been altered with a "digitally modified" disclaimer. 9,700 stores-large and a major supplier of products by Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, L'Oreal and Maybelline, CVS's move toward transparency sets a new industry standard. Foulkes said, "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."

For the four million women shopping daily at CVS, beauty is about to look a little more real.

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