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CVS raises transparency in beauty marketing

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CVS Beauty Mark to indicate beauty imagery not materially altered

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health is bringing more transparency to beauty care marketing with the introduction of the CVS Beauty Mark, a watermark highlighting imagery that hasn’t been materially altered.

Plans call for the CVS Beauty Mark to begin appearing on CVS Pharmacy-produced beauty images — including for stores, websites, social media and marketing materials — this year. The company said it aims to have all images in CVS Pharmacy beauty sections under the new transparency policy by the end of 2020.

CVS noted that the move creates new standards for post-production alterations of beauty imagery.

“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 connection between the propagation of unrealistic body images and negative health effects, especially in girls and young women, has been established,” CVS Pharmacy president Helena Foulkes said in a statement. “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.”

For the CVS Beauty Mark initiative, “materially altered” is defined as changing or enhancing a person’s shape, size, proportion, skin or eye color, wrinkles or any other individual characteristics, according to CVS. The company said it plans to work with key brand partners and industry experts to devise guidelines to ensure consistency and transparency.

“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,” explained Foulkes, who’s also executive vice president at CVS Health. “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.”

CVS said the new policy with beauty imagery reflects earlier in-store initiatives focused on customers’ health. These include ending the sale of tobacco products, delivering healthier food options in CVS Pharmacy stores, and the planned removal certain chemicals from all store-brand beauty and personal care items by 2019.

“Girls Inc. applauds CVS Pharmacy’s leadership commitment to showcase and celebrate beauty in all of its forms. As the national nonprofit dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold, Girls Inc. is honored to be a partner in CVS Pharmacy’s movement to counter limiting stereotypes too often faced by girls and women,” stated Judy Vredenburgh, president and chief executive officer of Girls Inc. “Allowing diversity and natural beauty to shine will have an immensely positive impact on girls and women everywhere.”


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