CVS announced on Monday that they have decided to ban image editing in their own beauty marketing. This decision includes their store aisle displays and social media posts and will take full effect by April 2019. But they aren’t just stopping there. All other beauty suppliers that CVS carries must do the same by 2020 or they will have an icon with a “digitally modified” warning message placed on the marketing materials that don’t comply with the new standard.


CVS has about 9,600 stores nationwide which makes them one of the nation’s largest sellers of beauty products. It also gives them “significant influence over makeup marketing”1 among some of the largest brands (Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, L’Oreal, Maybelline and CoverGirl owner Coty). It will be interesting to see what the beauty suppliers choose to do.

CVS Pharmacy President Helena Foulkes, who made the official announcement at the National Retail Federation’s convention in New York (which you can read in its entirety here), said they made their decision because they know that unrealistic body images are “a significant driver of health issues.”2 A fact especially true for women (around 80% of CVS’s customers are women).


Foulkes said:

“We’re all consuming massive amounts of media every day, and we’re not necessarily looking at imagery that is real and true. To try to hold ourselves up to be like those women is impossible because even those women don’t look like how they appear in those photographs.”3 

And so, taking a cue from makeup brands using natural ingredients and imagery and a more authentic approach, CVS “…will not digitally alter or change a person’s shape, size, proportion, skin or eye color, or enhance or alter their lines or wrinkles or other individual characteristics.”
We applaud this effort, even if it has been slightly driven by falling makeup sales because it’s still a move in the right direction.

Sources and References

  1. USA Today, January 15, 2018.
  2. USA Today, January 15, 2018.
  3. USA Today, January 15, 2018.