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CVS Cleans Up Beauty Aisle, Highlights Natural Products

The drugstore chain is eliminating parabens, pthalates and other controversial ingredients from its private-label beauty and personal-care lines.

NEW YORK — CVS is tightening the link between health and beauty in its stores with a slew of initiatives designed to market the drugstore chain as a wellness destination.

A new store here at 40th Street and Broadway, which will open this June, will be one of the first to aggregate these advances in one brick-and-mortar location.

Most prolifically, CVS is eliminating seven controversial ingredients — including parabens, phthalates and formaldehyde donors — from its private-label beauty and personal-care products.

The changes in formulation, which the brand announced at a press event here this week, will be seen in over 600 products by 2019, said Cia Tucci, vice president of merchandising for store brands at the retailer. All products going forward, noted Tucci, will be formulated without these ingredients as well. “We’re doing it all,” said Tucci. “A lot of brands are just doing no parabens or no phthalates, so this will be a good brand story for our customers to hear.”

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Tucci noted there will also be new language featured on the packaging calling out the reformulated products.

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The Beauty 360 line has been built out over the past year to include a robust host of trend-driven items, including 24-karat-gold-infused hydrogel sheet masks and a sonic cleansing brush that is available in a slew of bright colors. The brush, which is made by Conair, designed for face and body and retails for $49.99, has performed so well, said Tucci, that distribution for it is increasing this summer from 400 to 2,000 doors. “There’s not a brand in mass owning that space, so we can demonstrate strength there too,” said Tucci when asked about the line of sheet masks.

The primary area in which CVS is linking health and beauty is in skin care, where it is doubling down on natural products, products with sun protection and dermatologist-recommended products.

In June, the retailer is launching in 4,000 doors a joint program between its pharmacy and skin-care sections, in which products targeted at what CVS has found are the top chronic skin conditions, including eczema and acne, will be on display at the pharmacy checkout.

As another move in the wellness drive, CVS will roll out over 30 stockkeeping units containing SPF of over 30, and any products below SPF 15 will be eliminated, said Maly Bernstein, divisional merchandise manager for beauty at CVS. Over half the new sku’s will be from natural and organic lines such as Goddess Garden. CVS has also teamed with the American Cancer Society on an SPF campaign for summer.

Also by summer, over 2000 natural, organic and naturally inspired sku’s will be in 3,000 CVS doors. A new brand launching is Organic Doctor, a skin-care line that incorporates ingredients such as snail gel. “We’re excited about it because not only is it organic, the ingredients are trend-driven as well,” said Bernstein.

The advanced healthy skin program, which includes dermatologist-recommended brands such as Vichy and La Roche-Posay, is expanding to include Dr. Hauschka and Jouviance, and will be in 2,000 doors — more than double the original size of the program — by summer.