CVS will let customers sample makeup products in drugstores nationwide

Shopping at CVS will now include a bigger focus on beauty.
CVS is expanding its interactive beauty departments across the country.
CVS is expanding its interactive beauty departments across the country.CVS

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/ Source: TODAY
By Chrissy Callahan

CVS is stepping up its beauty game!

After piloting interactive beauty departments in four of its stores last year, the popular drugstore is expanding its BeautyIRL experience to 45 new stores later this year.

Similar to Sephora and department store beauty counters, BeautyIRL departments offer quick beauty services (think blowouts, hair styling and makeup application) and an extensive array of products and brands from which to choose.

Something that also sets BeautyIRL shops apart? "Try before you buy" sampling stations called "hygiene bars." These swatching stations are set up with mirrors and disposable applicators, and more than 1,000 beauty products are available for testing. A CVS representative told TODAY Style that, to their knowledge, the store is the first mass drugstore chain to allow swatching on this scale.

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As part of the expanded program, BeautyIRL departments will now feature new social and indie beauty brands, like Weleda and Zum, rotating pop-ups and new express Glamsquad beauty services.

So, what's on the Glamsquad menu? CVS shoppers can score a $30 dry blowout or a $35 shampoo and blowout service, a $35 full makeup application, free lash application with purchase, dry styling/braids, kids services and tutorials, ear piercing and more.

These interactive beauty departments are one-stop shopping, basically.CVS

Maly Bernstein, vice president of beauty and personal care at CVS, told TODAY Style the drugstore was inspired to create BeautyIRL because they wanted a more interactive in-store shopping experience for customers.

"We wanted customers to be able to discover and play with popular, social beauty brands and trends and we wanted to democratize beauty, making salon-quality services and products accessible to everyone through our exclusive partnership with Glamsquad," Bernstein said.

You can get a quick beauty service while running your errands at CVS.CVS

Glamsquad CEO Amy Shecter told TODAY Style that a partnership with CVS seemed like a natural fit.

"In our discussions with CVS, we realized that we shared a similar vision around the future of how consumers engage with beauty services and products. We were looking for a partner that was innovative in the beauty space and had the ability to provide us with accelerated growth beyond our current market expansion strategy," she said.

Glamsquad will also exclusively launch GSQ by Glamsquad, a collection of salon-quality, affordable hair products, beauty tools and accessories at select CVS stores.

BeautyIRL departments will be available in the following locations by the end of 2019: New York, Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Nevada and New Hampshire. And Bernstein said she can't wait to see how customers enjoy them.

"We’re so excited to hear all the tremendous feedback from customers and key beauty influencers about how fun and relevant our experience is — we are so proud to have created a store experience that is truly unique in mass retail and appeals to everyone."