Beauty is and should be for everyone; however, the industry has long been exclusionary. Before Fenty Beauty entered the landscape roughly six years ago, shade ranges for people of color were relatively non existent. It’s now possible to find a wide range of shades for melanin-rich skin, but somewhere the industry still seriously lags behind is in offering products that are user-friendly for people with disabilities and mobility issues. There are, however, a small contingent of beauty brands providing accessible products that people with disabilities love for their easy-to-use designs.
Among them is the range of products from Julie Rice, a product developer and founder of Inner Beauty Cosmetics. When Rice suddenly and unexpectedly experienced nerve complications from an autoimmune condition last summer, she was left with partial paralysis in her right arm and hand, requiring her to apply products with one hand. As a beauty brand founder, this experience catalyzed Rice to redesign her entire brand to create more accessible packaging.
"Accessible packaging is created with universal design in mind, meaning it's intentionally constructed to be easily opened and accessible for everyone's use, including people who need support functionally and visually," says Rice. This could mean that beauty products are easy to open, can be used with one hand, or have braille or raised markers to differentiate one product from another.
For example, Inner Beauty Cosmetics’ Stay Calm Lip Balm and Coco Crème Lipstick both have a magnetic closure, making it easier to open with one hand, says Rice. "It also makes the cap easier to remove and re-assemble for those that may have difficulties with gripping," she adds. The same attention to detail is extended to other beauty products in the brand’s lineup like the Skin Tint Foundation—which has a pump applicator to dispense the product more easily.
Enriched with jojoba, coconut, and castor oil, this creamy and velvety lipstick is hydrating as it is pigmented. Plus, it’s packaged in a magnetic closure, making it easy to open with one hand.
Skin care marries foundation with Inner Beauty Cosmetics’ Skin Tint Foundation. This liquid foundation offers a soft finish and a splash of hydration with its jojoba oil and shea butter concoction. In terms of packaging, it “has a pump applicator to dispense the perfect amount of product, making it less complicated to use than traditional packaging,” says Rice. The tube also has a matte-grip cap that doesn’t require twisting to be removed.
Meloway Cosmetics is another beauty brand with accessible packaging worth putting on your radar. The Brooklyn-based vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics company is known for its cap-less lipsticks—which can be used with one handed for hassle-free application.
Even amongst mainstream brands, it’s becoming increasingly possible to find beauty products with accessible packaging, which is something both Ashley Couto, a disability advocate and writer with rheumatoid arthritis that makes fine motor skills like opening and closing beauty products difficult, and Cannon Hodge, director of social and influencer relations for Neura Health, look out for when buying beauty products.
Below, Hodge and Couto share some of their favorite beauty products with accessible packaging from brands like Rare Beauty, Benefit Cosmetics, and more.
Selenator or not, Rare Beauty delivers high-quality beauty products, and this radiant and long-lasting liquid blush is touted by people with disabilities as being dexterity-friendly. But Hodge, who has a rare and disabling type of migraine called MUMS (migraine with unilateral motor symptoms) that affects the way that she’s able to grip and use my right hand, loves it because it’s circle cap “is extremely easy to open,” she says.
This volumizing mascara from Benefit Cosmetics delivers va va voom lashes without weighing them down, but the packaging details are also not to miss. “I love the grip on this mascara; it’s so easy to open,” says Hodge.
This lightweight color corrector is like a jolt of coffee for tired eyes. Offering a buttery and creamy pigmentation, it covers up blemishes and brightens your under-eye area. Even more, Hodge says the product is easy to open and apply; you can use your fingers thanks to the formula’s silky carnauba wax. Free of sulfates, phthalates, and fragrances, this corrector is unlikely to irritate sensitive skin.
For easy-to-use contour, Hodge says you can’t go wrong with Westman Atelier. Packaged with a magnetic top, this creamy stick is extremely easy to apply with one hand and offers a natural satin-like finish that’ll sculpt cheekbones and your face’s natural features with just one swipe. Plus, it’s vegan and gluten- and cruelty-free.
“I find the packaging on this to be quite ergonomic and easy to open, so in addition to it being nice for my arthritic hands, it is also amazing,” Couto says. Formulated with squalane, bamboo marrow powder, and sage extract, the primer absorbs excess sweat, prevents the skin from withering, tightens up pores, and prolongs makeup for hours.
Eye shadow can be easy to wipe off, but not with Revlon’s Colorstay 24 Hour Primer. Infused with shea butter, the primer is non-drying and gives eyeshadow nightlife with its 24-hour wear. What’s more, “the cap is very easy to screw and unscrew,” says Couto.
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