The media has been promoting impossible beauty standards for years, and as anyone with access to the internet knows, the digital age only exacerbated the chronic issue. Countless photoshopped, edited, and retouched images bombard women every day — in movies, in tv shows, in advertisements — all of which make girls feel like their natural beauty isn't enough. But there's hope this norm will change, thanks to CVS Health's Beauty Unaltered campaign, a project dedicated to showing consumers what authentic beauty looks like.
The Beauty Unaltered initiative, first launched in spring 2018, focuses on the "Beauty Mark," a watermark featured on all CVS images to indicate if the image has been digitally altered or not. As the press release about the campaign explains, the company has made a "commitment to not materially alter the beauty imagery we create for our stores, marketing materials, websites, apps, or social media." CVS has asked their brand partners to get involved too, with the goal of having no digitally altered images in any CVS store by 2020. By February 2019, almost 70 percent of CVS pharmacies will have Beauty Mark images in their stores, and the company hosted a panel event at CVS's Times Square location to celebrate their progress, where Romper got the scoop on everything about the initiative.
Katie Couric led the panel discussion, which featured leaders in the beauty industry as well as model for the program Ayesha Curry. The talk explored Beauty Unaltered and what led the company to want to change the beauty industry, which Couric described as having "pervasive and insidious" problems. Norm de Greve, the company's Chief Marketing Officer, explained that the idea for the program came when the CVS Beauty team saw the impact of social media and YouTube on consumers, whom they better related to than unattainably beautiful models and Hollywood actors — whose images are so drastically retouched that the stars themselves don't even look like the images you see. By featuring unedited images in their stores, CVS Health hopes to promote a more realistic standard of beauty, which is much needed considering 80 percent of adult women are unhappy with their appearances according to a report from the Park Nicollet Melrose center.
Curry expressed her excitement to be part of the campaign during the discussion, commenting on how far from reality most of the images are that media users consume everyday: "It’s unbelievable how many tools there are for people to alter their beautiful selves," the cookbook author lamented, referring to facetuning apps and the like. The star admitted she was a bit nervous when she did the Beauty Mark photoshoot, as she was only four months postpartum from the birth of her son and wasn't feeling the best in her skin, but seeing the image two months later, she felt strong. "It’s kind of a moment of power. It makes me feel confident," she said with a wide smile.
Curry clearly looks gorgeous, and so do all of the other women featured in the stores. You can see these digitally unaltered images in CVS locations throughout the country, with shots of stars like Curry and Kerry Washington as well as models, and you can watch an informational video about Beauty Unaltered for more details. de Greve said the company's "goal is to have the industry change," and CVS hopes their efforts and those of their brand partners will encourage other beauty brands to move towards a more authentic aesthetic. Fingers crossed this is a step towards a world where more women feel confident in their own skin.