It’s no secret that images of women on social media and in traditional advertising often subscribe to unrealistic beauty standards that don’t actually exist. It’s sort-of infuriating, right? The number of tools–from Instagram filters to Photoshop–seem to be growing at rapid pace, though it hasn’t slowed down the resurgence of an era that celebrates the beauty in imperfections. In fact, we have none other than Kerry Washington and a handful of other famous beauties for leading the charge alongside CVS.
This time last year, the drugstore chain made a vow go against the grain with its Beauty Mark initiative. The goal? To be completely transparent with consumers about digitally-altered images in stores. Since then, the brand has announced that almost 70 percent of beauty images in CVS stores would CVS Beauty Mark-complaint, with visible marks that read “Digitally Altered” or “Beauty Unaltered.”
We give CVS major kudos for starting this love-yourself movement so girls and women of all ages don’t feel the pressure to conform to the Photoshopped images we see all around us. Even brands like Neutrogena and CoverGirl are jumping on board, showcasing celeb brand ambassadors like Kerry Washington and Ayesha Curry in un-altered images. We’re not surprised that Washington is coming alongside the Beauty Mark initiative as she’s no stranger to calling out failed Photoshop attempts, like the news-breaking Adweek cover a few years ago.
“Listen, you all know I’ve never been afraid to call out overly retouched, digitally altered images of myself. I am not a fan of putting pictures out in the world that contribute to our feelings of self doubt and inadequacy because they are unnatural images that have been altered by computers. And that is why I’m beyond proud to be one of the first unaltered images featured in-store,” wrote the actress under an Instagram post announcing the partnership.
“Now, let’s be honest, I did not wake up like that. The image you see is an image created with talented make up artists and great lighting. But what we didn’t do is make additional changes digitally. We proudly let the beauty products speak for themselves. This isn’t about shaming the beauty world! Not at all. It’s about representing and celebrating truth and authenticity. It’s about keeping it real. It’s about using @neutrogena products to help me put my best face forward and knowing that THAT is enough. That I am enough. And so are YOU.”
The drugstore chain hopes to have all images Beauty Mark-compliant by the end of 2020, including all marketing materials from outside brands. While there’s no clear harm in Photoshopping images, we stand by CVS’s decision to be transparent about such alterations. It’s refreshing for women to see other women naturally beautiful, just as they are.