3 reasons why CVS is great for skincare

From free samples to vending machines, here are a few reasons why I think CVS is the best major retail pharmacy chain for skincare enthusiasts.

CVS is my favorite major retail pharmacy chain. The company gained my respect when it made the bold choice to stop selling cigarettes in 2014. Since then, I’ve seen it continue to do some pretty innovative things. Here are my top three reasons why CVS is the best store for skincare enthusiasts.

1. Free samples included with online orders

The last time I placed a large order of skincare products from CVS.com, I was pleased to see that they included a few samples of skincare products. Sephora lets you pick samples sometimes, too, when you buy enough to qualify for them. But for some reason, it felt like more of a treat coming from CVS (maybe because of the element of surprise).

Here are the samples I received in my CVS package, along with a nice note thanking me for buying from CVS.com:

cvs beauty review

2. CVS makes Korean beauty more widely accessible

The brand also collaborated with Peach and Lily to make Korean beauty mainstream, and that’s how I discovered one of my current-day skincare favorites: Frudia Citrus Brightening Cream. For some reason, this product is always sold out on the Frudia website, but it’s still in stock on CVS.com (plus, the site also frequently runs sitewide promotions that can go up to 30 percent off).

3. Innovation

CVS is also not afraid to take risks, as shown by its bold cigarette ban. It started experimenting with vending machines—I saw one the last time I was waiting to board my flight at LaGuardia Airport. It was stocked with a nice range of beauty products and other essentials, including such wares as Aveeno Moisturizing Lotion, Neutrogena face wash, Not Your Mother’s dry shampoo, and even this Tangle Teezer detangling hairbrush. It even stocked grooming tools like hair straighteners, eyelash curlers, and hairdryers. One product was “out of stock,” as you can see below. I wonder how often they refill these things.

cvs skincare review vending machine at laguardia airport

This is a step above the normal stuff you would see on sale at the newspaper kiosk of the airport terminal. It was like an oasis in the desert that is LaGuardia airport: bright and shiny medium-high-endish products lined up all neatly, ready to be tucked into your carry-on bag.

CVS also invests in R&D. Although its CVS PM Moisturizing Lotion isn’t quite as good as the real thing (CeraVe PM), it does make some pretty cool original skincare products. It launched an in-house Skin+Pharmacy skincare line that seems to make pretty good products, including these glycolic peel pads.

In conclusion, CVS rocks

If you can’t tell, I really like CVS. I love the way they have invested big time in a really nice selection of skincare products. I love that they experiment with new mediums for sharing those products, from vending machines to free samples. I also love that you can order from CVS through Ebates and get even more cash back on top of whatever site-wide promotion happens to be going on at CVS.com at the time.

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