CVS Debuts In-Store Skin Care Center

a store inside of a building

CVS Pharmacy has debuted a Skin Care Center shop-within-a-shop at three pilot locations as the retailer continues to hone its beauty offerings, this time by bringing prestige beauty brands to mass retail.

Building on the success of CVS’ BeautyIRL experiential store format, which launched in 2018 in partnership with Glamsquad, CVS developed the Skin Care Center to help shoppers address individual skin care needs with tools, education and products typically only found from prestige beauty brands and retailers, in addition to popular mass skincare brands, according to a CVS news release. The dedicated experience includes:

  • Prestige brands such as Wander Beauty, Blume and Volition Beauty (all new to CVS). For Blume and Volition Beauty, CVS marks their first venture into mass beauty retail through direct partnerships.
  • Dermatologist-tested and recommended mass market brands like L’Oreal’s CeraVe, La Roche-Posay and Vichy.
  • On-site skin diagnostic tools to help shoppers assess specific needs — and identify customized skin solutions — through advanced LED technology from SkinScope and ModiFace’s Derm Skin analyzer.
  • CVS Beauty consultants, including licensed estheticians, all trained in diagnostics by L’Oreal experts to provide product and skincare guidance. 
  • Navigational and educational guidance including signage “stories” that highlight:
    • Education around “beauty from the inside out” supplements and vitamins,
    • Ingredient-based solutions for concerns like elasticity, acne scarring and puffiness,
    • Dermatologist-tested and recommended options,
    • Products specific to unique concerns for melanin-rich skin,
    • Step-by-step skin care routines (e.g., cleanse, prep, treat, moisturize, protect, mask and peel), and
    • Sun care for diverse needs, lifestyles, skin tones and personal preferences.
  • In-store testing experiences and custom sample offerings.
  • In-fixture purchasing via mobile POS technology.

“We're delighted to have been selected as one of the few brands pioneering CVS' new Skin Care Center retail concept,” said Patricia Santos, founder at Volition Beauty, in the release. “If there is one thing that we’ve learned about retail from the COVID pandemic, it's that consumers want to shop prestige beauty in convenient retail locations where they already shop. The CVS Skin Care Center offers Volition Beauty adjacencies with dermatologist tested and recommended brands that serve to reinforce the clinical performance of our formulas."

“With the success of our BeautyIRL store formats, we’re making a move to provide new health-focused, innovative offerings with our Skin Care Center, an elevated in-store experience designed to help customers navigate personal skin health solutions,” said Andrea Harrison, vice president of merchandising, beauty & personal care at CVS Health, in the release.

CVS is no stranger to innovating in the health and beauty space. Some other relevant and notable moves by the drugstore giant include:

  • The launch of SkinSAFE, an online skincare product database and mobile app developed by dermatologists from Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic to inform consumers of safer products, in 2020.
  • The CVS Beauty Mark initiative focused on transparency in beauty and deploying marketing materials that label if an image has been digitally altered or not. (CVS reached its 2018 goal of full transparency for beauty imagery produced by and for the retailer in the beauty aisles in 2021.) 
  • Launching the Tested to be Trusted program in 2019, requiring third-party testing of all vitamins and supplements sold in CVS stores and on
  • The removal of SPF less than 15 from shelves.
  • Completing the reformulation of nearly 600 store brand beauty and personal care products to remove parabens, phthalates and formaldehyde donors in 2019.

As part of its ongoing mission to deliver personalized and customized health and wellness solutions to its customers, CVS has also launched a pilot program with personalized digital brand experience technology company, Revieve, to offer skin diagnostic and make-up virtual try-on experiences.

This pilot will launch in all 600 CVS Beauty service stores, which employ a team of trained Beauty sales consultants who CVS says have knowledge and experience that “extends beyond trends into personal care, bridging the connection between beauty, health and wellness,” according to the release. The digital experience will replace the existing physical tester program.

The Skin Care Center format is now in select CVS locations in New York City as well as Woodland Hills and Walnut Creek, California.