CVS Health said it will no longer allow photo manipulation on imagery for their store brand makeup marketing, social media posts, and promotional displays. The statement from CVS says, “We 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.” CVS Pharmacy President Helena Foulkes announced the move in New York at the National Retail Federation’s convention.
A growing awareness of the harmful nature of touched-up images, especially among women, is most likely behind the move. In recent years, major alterations to photos of models in the beauty and fashion industries has sparked some major backlashes. Body-image issues have been found to contribute to eating disorders among young men and women. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, about 10 million men and 20 million women in the U.S. will have an eating disorder at some point in their lives. Nearly 80 percent of the chain’s customers are women.
CVS is currently the nation’s largest drugstore chain, with roughly 9,600 stores nationwide. The company is also one of the nation’s largest sellers of beauty products. The company carries beauty products from a wide range of suppliers, including Johnson & Johnson, L’Oreal, Maybelline, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, and CoverGirl owner Coty.
The company’s ban on image editing for its beauty marketing is scheduled to take full effect by April 2019. CVS says it will pressure its suppliers to do the same by 2020. Early indications suggest that makeup manufacturers may do so. The company has significant influence over makeup marketing. Beauty products account for $3.4 billion of the company’s business, generating 4.2 percent of retail sales in 2016.
Foulkes revealed that the company’s suppliers had an “inspiring” response to the company’s decision. Revlon North America President John Collier released a statement in support of the move, saying, “Revlon and all of the brands in our company’s portfolio support CVS’ mission to present positive and authentic images of women that reflect their individual characteristics and personal distinction.”
In recent months, the company’s makeup sales have been weak. The $3.4 billion reported from 2016 was a drop from the previous years. CVS has also struggled with declining sales of general merchandise in its stores for several years.