CVS and Walgreens Join Walmart in Unlocking "Multicultural" Beauty Products in Their Stores

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Last week, after being called out several times in recent years for what many perceived as a racially discriminatory policy, Walmart announced that it would no longer lock up "multicultural" hair products. And while it's way overdue, it didn't take long for other major retailers that have been doing this at some of their locations to follow suit. Two of the nation's largest drugstore chains, Walgreens and CVS, have announced that, in stores where they have been locked in cases and inaccessible without an employee's assistance, they will put products traditionally marketed to people of color on open shelves like the rest of the products in their beauty aisles.

Shortly after news broke of Walmart's announcement Walgreens told the Associated Press in a statement last Thursday, "We are currently ensuring multicultural hair care and beauty products are not stored behind locked cases at any of our stores." ishonest reached out to Walgreens and received the same statement.

The following day, Business Insider reported that CVS shared a statement with them reading, "We have a firm nondiscrimination policy that applies to all aspects of our business and our product protection measures have never been based on the race or ethnicity of our customers. After reviewing the security measures we have in place for many different products and categories, we are taking steps in our stores to ensure that no hair, beauty, or personal-care products for communities of color are kept in locked displays or shelving units."

A video shared by Walmart shopper Lauren Epps just prior to Walmart's policy change summarizes why this shift is so needed at any and all stores that lock up products intended for certain shoppers. "White privilege also extends to hair- care products," Epps says, showing the layout of the hair-care aisle. "Over here, if I want Suave or Tresemmé or Pantene, it's out. But apparently, the multicultural hair care is all locked behind the glass 'cause I bet you think we’re just gonna run up in here and steal it. That's so ridiculous."

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